Category Two: Crowd – The ultimate campaign platform

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Taking a campaign online can help further your cause in many ways. It can draw more attention to your goals and put you in touch with like-minded people around the world.

The Times and Sunday Times have both run successful campaigns that made best use of digital resources. The Times launched its Cities Fit For Cycling campaign after reporter Mary Bowers was critically injured when colliding with a lorry.

The social media aspect of the campaign tapped into existing cycling networks, bloggers and Twitter users, and adopted the hashtag #cyclesafe. There was a deliberate reason that a branded hashtag wasn’t chosen, and that was to make sure it had a life of its own, that it joined a wider conversation and started being used with other pieces of relevant content that weren’t from the Times.

If you’re thinking of taking on this category at Build The News (sign up here if you haven’t already), you need to think about:

  • How can you make it easy for users to understand and participate in a campaign?
  • All platforms – how to ensure people can sign up for a campaign on their preferred device
  • What elements do those organising the campaign need to consider? How do you include enough flexibility without confusing the message?

List of good campaign examples and platforms

Category One: Stretch – Making longform immersive

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Many people point to the success of the New York Times’ Snow Fall as the catalyst for longform reading growing in popularity on the web.

Their work showed what could be done with traditional longform journalism when combined with animation, video and parallax scrolling. Conversely, sites like Pocket, Readability and Instapaper all seek to bring you great things to read by stripping away any distractions to let the reader focus on the text alone.

At The Times and The Sunday Times, we’ve experimented with this form, with pieces on Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, and we’re currently in the process of building a suite of tools to help us create a new type of article presentation for our longform journalism.

If you’re thinking of taking on this category at Build The News (sign up here if you haven’t already), you need to think about:

  • What elements you should include alongside text
  • How to make sure that those elements add to, not distract from, the text
  • How to make it readable on the largest amount of devices (desktop, tablet, mobile)
  • The finer details – fonts, image sizing, column width

I’ve pulled together a couple of resources below that may give you some ideas and inspiration if you’re thinking of entering in this category.

10 examples of good longform journalism presentation

Interview with Joe Sexton, who led the team that produced Snow Fall 

Announcing Build The News – a two day coding event

We’re really excited to announce an event held by The Times, Sunday Times and the Sun for student journalists and programmers – Build The News.

Build The News will be a chance for web developers to team up with student journalists to compete with others in order to produce the best digital journalism project.

It’ll be on the last weekend of February next year, in East London, and we’re looking for teams of 3 to 5 from universities around the UK. Each team should contain at least one web developer who is proficient in using HTML, CSS and Javascript, or server-side frameworks such as Python, PHP, Java etc.

The aim is to see how student journalists and developers can work together to create innovative forms of storytelling, with a choice of topic and prizes awarded for the best in each category.

Throughout the two day event, teams will benefit from the expertise of Times, Sunday Times and Sun staff, as well as companies (to be announced) with interesting APIs and tool kits to give feedback and assistance with your projects.

To learn more about the event and book your ticket, take a look at the event page here.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to tweet us at @TimesDevelops or me at @JosephStash