May 14 2014 Posted: 09:34 IST

Insight’s Digital Humanities and Journalism Group Compete with Sky News, the Financial Times, Storyful and the BBC to win ‘Connecting the News’ category prize at BBC #newsHACK II

Insight’s Digital Humanities and Journalism group at NUI Galway were the winners of the Connecting the News category prize at the BBC #newsHACK in Dublin on 1 and 2 May. The team developed ‘Hash2News’, a Chrome Extension, which enables users to find the news stories behind Twitter hashtags at the click of a button. The group competed alongside teams from other academic institutes as well as news organisations such as Sky News, the Financial Times, Storyful and the BBC.

The #newsHACK is an initiative of the BBC NewsLabs, an innovation programme for the whole of BBC News, and organised by BBC Connected Studio and the Global Editors Network (sponsored by Google), and aims to foster digital innovation in news. The 2014 theme was ‘The Future of News Curation’ and was held in Dublin and Glasgow earlier this month.

Inspired by the belief that a hack should identify and solve a particular problem, the Digital Humanities and Journalism (HuJo) group at Insight decided to use their expertise with handling Twitter streams and entity extraction to find the news articles most relevant for any given hashtag. They plan to finalise their ‘Hash2News’ extension and make it freely available online in the near future.

Social media, especially Twitter, presents a large stream of discussion to users, often informed by external news events. The result is that users often feel like they are ‘out of the loop’, and want to find out what is behind ongoing social media discussions. By providing a direct link from Twitter content to relevant news articles, HuJo’s Chrome Extension enables Twitter users to find ‘the news behind the noise’, the news articles relevant to social media conversations.

Dr. Bahareh R. Heravi, Insight’s HuJo Group Leader said, “We are very happy to have been selected as a winning team at the BBC #newsHACK. The team had to compete with large and prestigious news organisations, and come up with a unique and useful product within a day and a half. This required a high degree of intellectual work, as well as great team work. Being a winning team among such strong groups of participants was a great accomplishment, particularly for a young research team such as HuJo.”

The judges saw the utility of ‘Hash2News’ and awarded the group the prize for Connecting the News, which requires the team to “pique audience interests, to tap into social media habits, and support consumption across devices.” Other category winners were BBC Location Service (Explaining the News), The Independent (Tools for Journalists), Sky News (Theming the News), University of the West of Scotland (NewsCrack award) and BBC archives (Visually Inspired). The Best in Show winners were The Financial Times (Glasgow) and The Times/Sunday Times (Dublin).

Hash2News team members were Ravindra Harige, Dara McHugh, Prashant Khare, Pablo Torres, and team leader, Dr. Bahareh Heravi.

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is a joint initiative between researchers at NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, DCU, and other partner institutions. It will bring together a critical mass of more than 200 researchers from Ireland's leading Information Communications and Technology (ICT) centres to develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas.

For further information on HuJo-Insight’s work at the BBC #newsHACK II visit http://hujo.deri.ie/hujo-newshack-ii/

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