Reynolds Journalism Institute holds annual tech showcase

Teams from the RJI Student Competition presented their projects, including winner NewSnooze.
Associate Professor Ebony Reed, Director of Innovation and the RJI Futures Lab, speaks to the teams during the showcase on April 23, 2019. Courtesy of Facebook via @mujschool

CORRECTION: A previous version stated that Wendy Lee has been working at the Los Angeles Times since 2005, when she has been working as a journalist since 2005. The Maneater regrets this error.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute held its annual Tech Showcase on April 23.

Wendy Lee, digital media reporter for the Los Angeles Times, opened as the keynote speaker. Lee focused on the aspects of her identity as an Asian female reporter and how that can positively influence coverage by her newspaper.

“I am encouraging you to embrace what makes you different, and to never underestimate what you can accomplish,” Lee said during her presentation.

Lee, who began working as a journalist in 2005, has seen many technological changes in the journalism industry. She noted how technology like the iPhone has upped both workload and journalists’ capabilities.

“There is an important balance that reporters have to have because smartphones are always with us,” Lee said.

Lee also noted how technology affected the process of reporting a story.

“Because the internet is so immediate, there is so much competition covering an Apple press conference, so you have to be quick to post when the announcements are made during the press conference,” Lee said. “And yet you have to come up with something different that will be something our print readers will want to read for the very next day.”

Lee’s talk was followed by multiple presentations including the three Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Competition teams.

Team Wiper showcased its smart home program SoNews. The program will allow smart home users to share and tweet the news they hear.

Team Six Flags, the winner of the student competition, presented a smart alarm clock called NewSnooze that can help in daily routines. The team’s technology aims at improving people’s morning routines.

The team includes local news in its smart alarm clock, differentiating it from other smart speakers like Google Home.

“The Amazon [Echo] and Google Home already have news on them, but no local news,” Yinting Yu, junior and member of team Six Flags, said. “This is a blank space for the smart devices.”

Team Spectra ended the event showcasing its news gathering app that translates articles from around the world and allows individuals to view news topics from multiple global perspectives due to the lack of a language barrier.

The showcase comes a day after the harder day of judging as a part of the Reynolds Journalism Institute student competition.

“The showcase is not the really intense one,” Yu said. “The really intense one was the day before. It is when we meet the six judges and all our mentors are in the back.”

Edited by Laura Evans | levans@themaneater.com

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