torsdag 26 december 2013

Most popular Future of News

A fortnight ago, the 10 project groups in my course Future of Media presented their results in front of an audience of 150-200 persons. The largest contingent in the audience were younger students in the Media Technology Engineering Programme. They had been strongly encouraged to listen to these presentations and (in order to gain bonus points in another course), were to hand in a short, half-page long text, where they name their two favourite groups and shortly justify their choice.

For some reason, only around 80 students handed in these short texts (in time) and I have had a brief look at them. The easiest thing to do is to analyse these texts quantitatively: which groups were the audience's choice?

The winner is heads and shoulders above the other groups and almost 50% of the audience voted for "You've got bias". Do note that since each student in the audience casted their "votes" on two groups, these percentage numbers will add up to 200% instead of 100%.

Two other groups were also very popular and each garnered votes from around 35% of the audience, "Gossip" and "Future of Ads", followed by "Newsify" with 25% of the audience's votes. Two other groups each got 17.5% of the audience's votes, "Matroshka - responsive news" and "Gismo". While every single group got votes, only around 25% of the audience voted for the four least popular groups. The results of the popular (audience) vote was thus:

1st place - You've got bias
2nd place - Gossip and Future of Ads
4th place - Newsify
5th place - Matroshka - responsive news and Gismo
7th place - Deafining news - Surdi screen, Crowdopolis, The morticians - Death of reading and Screenworld - The rise of the second screen.

While the actual presentations were not recorded, all supporting materials (movies, powerpoint pictures, final reports) are available online, so do go ahead and read/watch whatever piques your interest. The quality of the movies are in general really good and some movies are great.

I can not dismiss the notion that groups that presented earlier in the day were poised to get more votes that groups that presented later. The whole thing took three hours - with a break in the middle - and it's obviously an advantage to go first (or among the first) rather than among the last. Of the four least popular groups, three presented after the break. It is therefore all the more impressive that the very last group to present (Future of Ads) was also among the very most popular. Perhaps they would have been voted the most popular group if they we had started off the day with their presentation?

Furthermore, if the quality of the presentations were evenly distributed, then around 25% of the audience "should" have given both their votes to groups that presented before the break and another 25% "should" have given both their votes to groups that presented after the break. These numbers instead turned out be 36% and 11% respectively and I haste to add that to me, the groups presenting after the break were just as strong as the groups presenting before the break (which is also reflected in the grades).

While most students in the audience stuck to the task at hand - selecting two groups and specifying why these two groups were their favourite groups, a few students had some general comments (all of them positive!) about the course and the final presentation itself:

"I think that listening to the various projects that have been undertaken in this course has so far been the most inspiring activity since I started at KTH earlier this autumn. I have had a rather blurry idea of what a media technology engineer can work with, but it became a little more clear now and I really look forward to take the course myself five years from now."

"I want to start by saying that the Future of Media course seems very exciting and useful for future jobs where we should be able to communicate our ideas. As I understand it, you choose pretty freely what to do in the course, although the overarching theme has already been chosen. This means you can apply much of the knowledge that has been gained in the education if you want to. Overall, I thought most of the ideas were interesting and the presentations were ok and/or well executed."

"I think the Future of Media presentations were very good and interesting, there were many groups that had good ideas that I was inspired by. It will be fun to see if variations of these proposals will actually be on the market a few years from now. I very much look forward to reading this course since it provides an opportunity to be creative and innovative while solving a problem. For me, it's exactly why I chose this education and the course feels very relevant to the degree."

"I found the entire presentation really exciting and entertaining, both because the projects were interesting but also because some groups really had fun presentations with more or less successful results [?]. The jury's feedback was also very good and many times fit with what I felt myself. It's fun that people from the business community came to listen too."

"I think both [of my favourite] groups have done a great job in such a short time. To be able to produce these visions and hone them as well as they did really represents a job well done. I have to say that the presentations (including those by the other groups) were very entertaining and humorous, and they really got the audience to sit up and listen."

A dissenting rebel (of sorts) disliked the very trends that many of groups had latched on to:

"I thought that the scenarios for the future of news 10-20 years from now that the different groups presented described developments that I myself would rather not see, with individualised news and continued large amounts of advertisements."

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