Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Russian language news startup Helpdesk offers service journalism for times of war
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 8, 2016, 12:31 p.m.
Mobile & Apps
LINK: www.bbc.co.uk  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   February 8, 2016

Swipe to skip, swipe to like, swipe to share: these are the familiar smartphone motions that the BBC and a Kenyan startup called Ongair are using in a mobile-focused website called BBC Drop that’s available for testing today. The project came out of a hackathon held by the BBC World Service and BBC Connected Studio (its digital R&D arm) that invited African tech experts to generate ideas for reaching young, digital-savvy African audiences. It was designed last year in Nairobi and user-tested in several other countries in Africa. Users can try out and rate the pilot for the next three months.

The pilot is for Androids (which makes sense given Android’s dominance in the African market), and relevant BBC content is filtered for users this way:

BBC Drop asks the user for a few favorite topics, or social media preferences, and then continues to learn what they like and dislike from what they swipe on screen. There is also the option of an even more personal news feed which incorporates the user’s own social feeds. The end result is users getting to see content specifically tailored to them, and the stuff they are not interested in being filtered out.

Content from all across the BBC feeds into the new Drop site.

The project is one of the BBC’s many recent efforts to reach audiences in Africa. BBC Connected Studio is currently seeking ideas from teams in Nigeria for improving and broadening the reach of BBC content there (the deadline for submissions is next week).

Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Russian language news startup Helpdesk offers service journalism for times of war
Founder Ilya Krasilshchik doesn’t know the average age or gender or location of the people seeking help through Helpdesk’s chat — he just knows many are terrified.
A bakery, a brewery, and a local news site: There’s a new type of collective growing in Spokane, Washington
“Are we moving fast enough for the length of runway we have to lift off? Or do we need to, you know, keep paving and quickly build more runway? That’s the real question.”
Way back in 1989, USA Today launched an online sports service. I found it at Goodwill
USA Today Sports Center is a time capsule from a period in which a newspaper could convince people to pay five bucks an hour to log onto their service during the big game.