Futures Lab Update #120: Collaborative Photo Apps; Automated Sports Stories

    by Reuben Stern
    September 4, 2015
    Photo collaboration apps are particularly useful for teams of reporters working together. Screenshot courtesy of RJI.

    This week we explore apps for organizing photos from multiple smartphone users, and we see how the Associated Press is using automation to expand its college sports coverage.

    "Most of the apps have a social network-type feel; they all allow users to caption, like and comment on photos. Each app has built-in mobile notifications that alert contributors when photos have been added, commented on or liked." -- Daniel Shapiro, Futures Lab

    PART 1: Photo album apps

    Several different apps can help you compile and share photos taken by multiple smartphone users — particularly useful for teams of reporters working together. We give an overview and dive into the features of five options: Crossroad, Bundle, Cluster, Carousel and Moments.
    Reporting by Daniel Shapiro.


    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    A quick rundown of the apps:

    • Crossroad — Photos can be uploaded in the background, enabling use of the phone for other things in the meantime. Albums can be downloaded to a phone or a shared as a URL. Plans are in the works to enable video uploads as well.
    • Bundle — Photos can be backed up to third party storage services Google Drive and Dropbox. The iOS version can automatically select the best photos out of a batch.
    • Cluster — Users can take photos within the app or upload photos, videos and notes to an album, which can then be downloaded.
    • Carousel — Photos saved into an archive are automatically uploaded to a linked Dropbox account. The app also includes a timeline for sifting through photos based on when they were taken.
    • Moments — Created by Facebook, the app can use facial recognition technology to suggest album groupings based on who’s in the pictures and when they were taken. Sharing is possible only via Facebook or exporting to a third-party storage service.

    PART 2: Automated sports stories

    The Associated Press is using an automated system called Wordsmith to generate text stories from college sporting events. We find out from News Automation Editor Justin Myers how the technology expands what the news organization can cover.
    Reporting by Berkeley Lovelace.


    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Additional information:

    The stories are being produced in partnership with the NCAA, which is providing the data, and a company called Automated Insights, which created the Wordsmith technology.

    The Associated Press has been using automation for sports data for several years including delivery of sports agate, according to a company release. Automation has also been used to rank NFL players for AP’s Pro Football Digital News Experience including “automated text descriptions of player performances each week, which were provided by Automated Insights.”

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    FuturesLabWebBanner-mediashiftThe Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad appto watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: apps automation bundle carousel cluster crossroad moments photo collaboration photography smartphone

    Comments are closed.

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

    About MediaShift »
    Contact us »
    Sponsor MediaShift »
    MediaShift Newsletters »

    Follow us on Social Media