Knight Lab visits ODDI, discusses innovative projects BBG entities could benefit from

The Knight Lab's Miranda Mulligan and Ryan Graff at the VOA building. (Sorry Ryan about the red eye that was un-correctable. I tried.)

VOA & ODDI staff learn about the projects the Knight Lab has created and is working on in the future.

This past week Executive Director Miranda Mulligan and Communication Manager Ryan Graff from the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern University stopped by the Office of Digital & Design Innovation office and met with a cornucopia of BBG staff to share each other’s projects.

The Knight News Innovation Lab is an amazing partnership at Northwestern between the computer science and journalism schools working to build products and tools for journalism.

Three of the interesting free products that BBG entities might find very useful include:


An open source, embeddable, responsively coded (read as: mobile and tablet friendly), timeline creation tool that supports all sorts of multimedia, social media elements, maps, Wikipedia content and more. It was created by the genius, Zach Wise, formerly of the NY Times multimedia team, now at the Medill School of Journalism. Timeline can be fed simply by Google Docs, a JSON feed–and soon, Storify.  In addition, and especially valuable to BBG entities, it supports 33 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Russian among others, with more language support coming. BBG entities could use this to create timelines on the fly, as well as long term historical figure, issue or event tracking to provide new context and life to content.

Learn more:

Local Circle

A WordPress plugin that aggregates related stories and serves up cross-promotional opportunities from partners for your content. BBG properties could implement something like this and help drive traffic to related topics or even other entities covering similar issues in other countries. Mulligan said that initial tests with media partners in Chicago offered a 12-18 percent boost in traffic after implementing this feature.

Learn more:


A tool to track and analyze tweets from sources.

Learn more:

Soundcite (currently in closed beta)

Soundcite is an amazing tool for deep linking to audio clips in-line with story copy. (It’s still being developed but I received a demo and was really impressed.) Once released, it’ll be an amazing way to serve up quick and easy clips of audio from programs, interviews, even music, in the middle of story content.

Learn more:

Unicorn Camp (currently being organized)

A workshop focused on training the rare skills of both design and development for journalism. BBG staff could exponentially grow their skillset attending a workshops like this.

Learn more:

That’s not all, there’s dozens of projects the Knight Lab has worked on, including several others in the hopper:

You can follow the Knight LabMulligan and Graff on Twitter for more updates on their new products, tools and initiatives.

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