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Hack the Local

The Hack the Local team
The Hack the Local team

In June 2016, 27 journalists, community journalists, software developers and students came together to create data-driven solutions to news challenges.

Armed with information on the datasets available to them, thanks to input from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Open Data Lead, attendees identified possible challenge themes.

Groups of five to seven participants ultimately coalesced around four themes:

  • environment
  • politics/elections
  • sources of open data
  • editorial processes and platforms.

With journalists and community members providing ideas and insight, and coders bringing these ideas to life, the teams spent a weekend developing resources to address the identified challenges:

  • Map Your Trash, focusing on the local environment by mapping geolocated tweets on litter, inspired by FixMyStreet.
  • Democr-app, which explored the issue of redrawing electoral wards by providing best and worst case scenarios on a constituency-by-constituency basis using openly available data.
  • HODOR (Hyperlocal Open Data Open Resource), which brought together helpful sources of open data and published blog posts on open data journalism, along with specific investigations on data sets such as Bristol planning applications.
  • Paper Plane, a concept for a news website which promotes transparency by recording and publishing all user-generated content using a ratings system.

Team members captured the success of the event in a short film.

Hack the Local has formed the starting point for a series of conversations between the University and the ONS, Welsh Government and ODI-Cardiff - the Open Data Institute. Plans for further collaborations and student placements are in discussion.

A Hack the Local Slack channel has been set up to allow the project teams to continue working together, and particpants have also joined the Open Data Wales Slack channel. At least one new journalist-developer partnership has been formed as a result, with the partners now working on a data-driven feature on councillor attendance.

The event was organised in partnership between Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism and Computational Journalism MSc. The project team consisted of Hannah Scarbrough, Emma Meese, Glyn Mottershead, Dr Martin Chorley and Cheryl Crook.

For more information please contact:

Emma Meese

Emma Meese

Director of Community Journalism

Welsh speaking
+44 (0)29 208 70101