University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism Hack-A-Thon

From October 21 to 23,  the University of Georgia hosted a journalism hack-a-thon produced by Mediashift. The purpose of the hack-a-thon was to create a startup around fact checking and verifying online media. The startup had to be focused in four areas either photos, videos, data, or social media. The hack-a-thon brought together students from different colleges and different majors ranging from journalism, business, and computer science. The students were divided into teams and each team was assigned a mentor that would guide us into creating our media company.



In my team, I was assigned to create a company around verifying online videos. The process started off with each of us introducing ourselves and assessing our capabilities. Then we brainstormed ways on how to center a business around verifying online video for news organizations. After hours of deliberation, we all settled on the idea of providing a toolkit of information about social issues specified to each state and one major video explaining the social issue nationwide.We will also feature online videos from citizen journalists and verify them using existing technology such as google video search to make sure the person who posts the video on our website is the original creator. We decided to call our company Torch because our company would illuminate the truth, and our primary target audience would be editors for college newspapers.

After coming up with the business idea, our team separated into individual tasks. It was my responsibility to craft the business plan including identifying out target customer. This stage required the most time and research as I had to collaborate with my team on how to precisely define our target market. Because when starting a business you need to have an idea on who will be the first person that’s willing to buy it. I also had to research how other journalism startup happened either by raising money from investors or earning money from grants.

Hack-a-thon photo

The hack-a-thon was an experience unlike any other. It was basically fitting a semester’s worth of knowledge into two days. Not only did I learn more about what it means to start a company from the brainstorming phase to presenting it in front of judges. Perhaps, the greatest skill I learned in those two days is how to work within a team. Listening and communication skills are vital tools in the workforce.  I was fortunate enough to be in a diverse team that came from different backgrounds and possesses different skill sets.

You can find an article about the event on the MediaShift website:

You can also find a collection of the work my group and I completed during the hack-a-thon event: