Research institutions from Hamburg and Bremen are currently developing a new and exciting news app, which is based on the Tinder concept: swipe left to read and right to abandon a story. The app will launch in 2019 and is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Hamburg, 9 October 2017 – The Hans-Bredow-Institut is cooperating with the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI)
and the Institute for Information Management Bremen (ifib)
to develop a news and information app in the following two years.
Stage one of the project focusses on potential users, who also serve as co-creators, based in Bremen and analyses their needs. Subsequently, the app will be designed based on these findings. "This is a relatively new approach; not only for research but also for media companies: user perspectives will be considered from the very beginning and taken into account when developing the app," Dr. Wiebke Loosen
explains. This is also the reason for using the Tinder concept: users are asked to classify news by swiping left for interesting stories, and right for news that are of no interest to them. The app will then generate a news feed based on their preferences.
Filter bubbles stand no chance!
The app avoids filter bubbles by making use of an algorithm that prevents a unilateral news feed. "Local information that is relevant for the user's immediate community cannot be filtered and is shown to everyone concerned," says Julius Reimer
, who works as a junior researcher at Hans-Bredow-Institut.
Sustainsable research and development
The project involves far more than just the app itself. The process will be monitored, analysed and documented by a research team of ten to enable other researchers, developers and interested parties to learn from their experience. Furthermore, this serves as the foundation for the complex and elaborate co-creation process, which ensures the algorithms of the application adhere to the needs of journalists and users alike.
During the production of the app, developers will pay special attention to the inclusion of a wide range of peer groups to ensure a broad and sustainable use of the app in both urban and rural contexts. A beta version will be available before the end of the two-year project period. The entire process will be scientifically researched and evaluated in the form of project reports.
Further scientific details on the project
The mobile way of life, immobile social relationships and heterogenity of media use present challenges for scientific methods. Because of this, the project combines empirical media and communication research with co-creative software development. The application is aimed at adolescents and young adults between the age of 16 and 36. The app will first be available in Bremen and its surrounding districts Osterholz und Verden and developed in cooperation with local media and digital enterprises, city and municipal administrations, district councils and active political parties. Even groups such as sports clubs, neighbourhood initiatives, art associations, religious communities and local social movements will be included in the process.
The research perspective of the Hans-Bredow-Institut focusses on media transformation and related structural changes of public communication. With its cross-medial, interdisciplinary and independent research, it combines basic research and transfer research, and thus, generates knowledge on issues relevant for politics, commerce and civil society.
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