SPH Digital supports hackathon focused on technologies to aid news delivery

SINGAPORE - More than 90 journalists, entrepreneurs and software developers will meet here this weekend for a hackathon to explore new digital ways to attract audiences for news companies.

The Digital Media Asia Hack (DMA.Hack), to be held from Friday to Sunday, is part of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers' (WAN-IFRA) global series of conferences on media.

The digital arm of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will co-sponsor the hackathon, which will see local and international participants develop apps based on the theme, Search and Content Discovery.

Unlike traditional hackathons, where participants were solely software developers, teams consist of three to five members with at least one member coming from a non-technical field such as business development.

Ms Tan Su-Lin, Deputy Head of SPH Digital, noted: "Such a hackathon serves not only as an accelerator for technological innovation within the news industry, but also helps us harvest innovative solutions at the end of the competition."

SPH Digital will also make application programming interfaces (APIs) available to the teams, allowing participants to retrieve real-time breaking news contents published on The Straits Times website.

The hackathon will be launched on Friday at the National Design Centre in Middle Road, where participants will be briefed on the digital news landscape. Teams will be left to work on their apps at the Microsoft Auditorium over the weekend.

Mr Gilles Demptos, Director of WAN-IFRA and the organiser of DMA.Hack, said in a statement on Thursday: "Legacy media companies are constantly disrupted by the fast-paced transformation of the digital economy. In order to remain competitive with pure digital players, news organisations must become part of the innovation ecosystem formed by technology providers, start-ups and research centres."