#newsHACK 1 - 2013, London


On Thursday & Friday 17th & 18th October 2013 BBC News Labs and BBC Connected Studios held the 2013 #newsHACK - a Hackathon event in Shoreditch Town Hall, London.

~150 people, from:-

  • BBC
  • The Times
  • Financial Times
  • Independent
  • LondonLive
  • The Guardian
  • The Mirror
  • SKY News
  • Mozilla
  • Dennis Publishing
  • Lancaster University
  • University College London
  • Sheffield University
  • Swansea University
  • Newcastle University
  • Dundee University

#newsHACK 2013 Schedule


  • 09:30 Registration opens and we’ve got breakfast on for those who’d like some
  • 09:45 The day will start with quick intro presentation from the BBC #newsHACK team
  • 10:00 Tech talks
  • 12:00 Let the hacking begin!
  • 13:00 Lunch – We’ll look after you all day with refreshments and lunch to keep you energised
  • 15:00-17:15 Audience Feedback sessions
  • 18:00 Team progress report
  • 20:00 Dinner and games tournament


  • 08:00 Registration reopens for participants Day 2
  • 10:00 Register your hack and sign up for a pitching slot
  • 11:00 How to pitch session with Linda Cockburn
  • 12:00 Hacking stops!
  • 12:00 Lunch – We’ll look after you all day with refreshments and lunch
  • 13:00 Pitch sessions – all teams will have 2 mins to present their hacks to the judging panel and other teams
  • 15:00 The judges make their decisions
  • 16:00 Prizegiving
  • 16:30 Close

What is a Hacker?

NB Hacking != Cracking.

A Hacker is a passionate, skilled and creative technologist who thrives on building innovative solutions to real world problems.


Our esteemed Judges

  • Robin Pembrooke Head of BBC Future Media News & Weather
  • Nic Newman Independent Strategist, Trainer, and Product Tank Lead
  • Anthony Sullivan Head of Product, Guardian
  • Jon DiPaolo Executive Producer for SKY ONLINE
  • Chistina Scott Chief Information Officer, Financial Times
  • Peter Rippon Editor of Online Archive, BBC

Judging Criteria

The judges will be scoring hacks against the following five criteria.

  1. Working prototype: Is it a working application or slideware? [yes/no]
  2. Relevance: How well does the hack address one of our challenges? [1-5]
  3. Value: Does the hack solve a real user problem? How much value does it provide? [1-5]
  4. Innovation: How original? How ambitious? [1-5]
  5. UX: Does it provide a good user experience? [1-5]

The Challenges

The entry categories are the following, though the judges will amend depending on the calibre of the entries. New categories may be added.

  1. Best Live & Breaking News Experience
  2. Best Visual News experience that scales
  3. Best use of Linked Data in Journalism tools
  4. Surprise Us!

The Hacks

Click here for the full list of entries.

The Winners

  1. Best in Show Award Presented by Robin Pembrooke (Head of News & Weather Products, BBC) Awarded to: The Perspectivator (Financial Times).

  2. Best Live & Breaking News Experience Presented by Nic Newman (Independent Strategist, Trainer, and Product Tank Lead) Awarded to: “Connected Storylines” by The Grads (BBC)

  3. Best University Hack Presented by Christina Scott (CIO, FT) Awarded to: “News Drop” by Culture Labs (Newcastle University).

  4. Best Visual News Experience that Scales Presented by Jon Paolo (Head of Editorial at SKY NEWS ONLINE) Awarded to: “Storyline” by The LatLongs (BBC Location Services)

  5. Best Hack that’s likely to never be launched Presented by Peter Rippon (Editor of the BBC Online Archive) Awarded to: “Rubix News” by “3 mins 16 secs” (The Mirror).

  6. Hack that surprised us most Presented by Anthony Sullivan (Head of Product, The Guardian) Awarded to: “Talk News” by SKY News team (SKY).

  7. Best Journalism Tool Presented by Jon Paolo Awarded to: “Westminster Watchdog” by The Times (Times Digital)