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GEN Editors Lab

Cxense/Reuters Hackdays

*Cxense Developer assisting BBC developer who will eventually win the Hackdays


Introducti on
The Gl obal Edi tors Network is a community dedicated to media innovation
supported by 20,000+ media innovators. More than 2,500 of those media innovators
participate in GENs yearly programmes and GENs annual conference called the GEN
Summit. GEN represents the leading media of the world (see GEN communi ty for
more) and organises events bringing together the best newsroom and opinion leaders
of the industry. Cxense (pronounced see-sense) is a global software company founded
by a team of software and Internet media leaders who share a passion for delivering
innovative and intuitive solutions that help companies understand their audience and
build great online user experiences. When GEN discussed with Cxense how they were
achieving innovation through one of GENs programmes called the Editors Lab, along
with Cxenses involvement in providing expertise and opening access to their analytics
and content tools, it became clear that the value of integrating Cxense into the event
would have a great impact on the quality of the Hackdays for the participants while
giving Cxense the opportunity to engage with the participating teams, but also through
to expose their expertise through our live-coverage of the event for our entire network.

The GEN Edi tors Lab Programme
The Edi tors Lab Hackdays is one of GENs key programmes in bringing innovation
to the newsroom. It is a worldwide series of Hackdays hosted by the worlds leading
news organisations such as The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pas to name a few.
The Editors Lab brings together developers, journalists and designers from the Global
Editors Network representing the best newsrooms from the city where it is being held.
During two days, teams build news prototypes around a theme linked to the latest
trends in media innovation. After two intense working days, teams present their
projects in front of a jury who gives his verdict little after the presentations. The climax
of the season is the crowning of the overall Editors Lab Final Winner, which gathers
each national Editors Lab Winner at the GEN Summi t.


The GEN Edi tors Lab Cxense/Reuters Hackdays
t h
May, 2014
The Teams
Seven news organizations entered teams consisting of a journalist, a developer and a
designer in this two-day competition. Teams included: BBC, Financial Times, Reuters,
McClatchy, Florida Times Union, KSL (Deseret Digital Media) and Montclair.
The Host
Friends and partners of the Global Editors Network, Reuters, provided a unique setting
for the teams. On the 33rd floor of 5,Times Square Building, teams were given an
excellent location and space for inspiration.

The Jury
Anthony de Rosa, Editor in Chief for Circa
Rob Wescott, Cxenses SVP of Business Development, North America
Evangeline de Bourgoing, Programme Manager at Global Editors Network

The Theme
Teams innovated around the theme Improvi ng Loyal ty. Some of the challenges
raised by this theme included:
How to boost the 'stickiness' of your website?
How to build a community of frequent users and encourage them to stay longer on the
How to optimize loyalty using Big Data analytics and real-time tools?


The Cxense Touch

*Cxense Masterclass
Cxense opened access to its analytics and content tools during the two-day event. The
tools are part of Cxenses Extraordinary Insight Engine (EIE). By crunching big data via
sophisticated algorithms, EIE provides the publishers with deep-insight analytics,
patterns and relationships that boost revenue and audience growth. These two tools
are used by the largest publishers all around the world and was a great add-on to the
creation of the teams prototypes during the Hackdays.


Cxense Anal yti cs: Cxense combines real-time web stats, historical data and other
data sources into a single web analytics package. This data approach is the key to
unlocking extraordinary insights. All you do is add a simple and small code snippet to
your webpages. Cxenses Extraordinary Insight Engine creates anonymized profiles
that enable specific user sessions with automatically optimized content and ads.

Cxense Content: Your personalized content strategy will be matched with the
interests and objectives of your audience groups. Cxense is able to do this via their
Extraordinary Insight Engine (EIE), which collects and analyses context, user data,
behaviour, trends, external data, demographical data, historical data and many other
data sources.
On the first day of the event, Cxense conducted a Masterclass to help participants
getting started on the companys technology and share their approach to innovation. A
team of developers and experts were on site to give advice to each team on how to
make use of all the functionalities of the tool and adjust the settings of it. Rob Wescott,
Cxenses SVP of Business Development, North America, was part of the jury that
awarded the winner.
The Chal l enges
Some of the teams were customers of others Analytics providers and thus there were
challenges to operate the Cxense script on their websites. Therefore, in order to use
Cxenses tools and benefit from the power of the data available, in the days prior to the
event, they replicated their websites and operated the script on the replicated version.
Below you will find insight on how three selected different teams approached the
theme with the help of Cxense.


*BBC Team after winning
The BBC team, with their app Takeaway, won the Hackdays and were invited to
compete in the Hackdays Final at the GEN Summit 2015.
The winning team was composed of Nathalie Malinarich, Editor mobile & new formats,
Dima Jarkas, Senior UX designer and Sam French, Web developer.
According to the team, Takeaway is a mobile-first product aimed at growing
engagement among regular and casual users. For regulars, it is a page tailored to the
time of day and known interests. For the casual user, suggestions are based on entry
point and choices made by similar users. It can be consumed offline or as email. It
provides a new, relevant and contextual offer, while meeting our public service
obligations. On the technical side, The prototype is built in Ruby because its
lightweight. The demo replicates our site and dynamically inserts a Takeaway module
that is contextual. The data for the widget is from Cxense. See their presentation:


*McClatchys Team
McClatchys project, Engage, won the audiences choice award, selected by all
participating innovators. The focus was on rewarding loyal readers with a better user
experience with fewer ads. In an interview given to Reuters Inside Agency, McClatchy
team member, Erik Frederick describes the prototype: The challenge was to use the
Cxense analytics tool and build a feature that made our news website stickier and
more engaging. We developed a way to measure true engagement and reward it by
improving the user experience namely, by reducing ad content. We wrote the rules
of engagement, which would be explained to users in general terms but not
specifically revealed (so readers couldnt cheat). We would award points for things like
sharing a story, eliciting referrals to our site through a share and making comments
that inspired reaction from others. We did not award points for a page view, or for a
comment that got no reaction, or for time spent on site in other words, things that
can be faked and dont indicate true interaction. A registered users engagement
score would be displayed at the top of the page seeing their score rise (and
occasionally fall). When they reached certain benchmarks, theyd see fewer ads, and
more news content higher on the page. More-engaged users would get fewer but more
finely targeted ads, based on their reading habits. See their presentation:


*KSL Team

KSL (Deseret Digital Media) had very productive Hackdays and even achieved to get
their project implemented on their real website on the last day of the event. In their
words: Users reach an end to logical flow when they view a car ad. We believe that
showing them relevant content at the bottom of an ad will increase the stickiness of the
site. Partnering with Cxense we will be the first among major car sites to try this. That
is how they describe how they came up with their project idea: We noticed using the
Cxense analytics that some ads had a high bounce rate. We implemented a
recommendation widget that leverages Cxense, and a JavaScript slider. This was
developed in our website development environment and pushed to the live site. They
now plan to test different versions of the widget to find the best design to engage the
user. We also plan to explore deploying the widget in other products on See
their presentation:


Lessons learned

The Hackdays highlighted different approaches to content personalization and the use
of analytics for this purpose. Most news organizations use analytics to deliver
customized content based on previous reading habits. They conceive features to offer
personalized content that is tailored to the interests of the readers and keep them
engaged onsite for longer. But McClatchy took a very different approach to the
problem of user engagement. They used the Cxense analytics tool to reduce ad
content instead of personalizing their editorial content. The team considered that their
website would be stickier if they offered non-customized content. This approach could
be justified by the fact that non-customized news allow the readers to have a more
comprehensive view of news. It also preserves the sense of discovery and helps
counter the filter bubble that closes the readers off from new ideas, subjects and

In contrast, the BBC team reflected on the way to best personalize content. They
wanted to give their readers a customized user experience without betraying the BBCs
mission to engage the UK citizens with impartial and accurate news and information.
They decided that the three articles appearing at the top of the newsfeed would be the
same for every reader. They would cover the three most important pieces of news of
the day that would be curated by BBC News editors. The rest of the content appearing
in the newsfeed would be customized. This process allows the reader to get
information that is relevant to its interest without missing the most important news.

These two above examples highlight two altering visions of content personalization and
demonstrate the versatility of the Cxense tools to execute these strategies.



Post the Hackdays, the Global Editors Network sent a survey to all the participants.
Here is a short selection of the most interesting answers:

How woul d you descri be your experi ence as whol e?
It was well organised and very enjoyable.

Enlightening and enjoyable

- Corporate has taken some interest in our pitch so the prospect of pushing some
innovation within our organization was perhaps the most rewarding aspect of my

What was t he most usef ul part of t he event f or you? Why?
- Working with Cxense software engineers.
Time to brainstorm solutions to current problems

- Networking with the other News companies. It is always interesting to see how
other companies are similar and how we could learn things from them.

What di d you l earn duri ng these Hackdays?
- I learnt about Cxense (as I had not heard of them before), met a lot of new people
(as I only knew my colleagues). I also learnt more about Ruby (which I'm quite new to)
and JavaScript.
- I always looked at analytic data as a way to help companies but there are a
multitude of ways in which it can be used to benefit end users. I look at analytics
slightly differently now.
I learned more about the mechanics of Cxense technology and how it can be
used to improve loyalty.


Industry Reaction To The Hackdays

Art i cl es i n Engl i sh:

Hackday Insights: How to make your website stickier and more engaging? Reuters
Inside Agency:

Top News Organizations Go Head-to-Head Using Innovative Big Data Tools, Reuters
Inside Agency (This article was reposted multiple times by other news organizations)

BBC Wins Digital Publishing Competition Using Cxense Big Data Tools, Association of
Online Publishers:

Sticky data tools win Hackdays for BBC, Gxpress:

Art i cl es i n Norwegi an:

BBC vant ackedag, Dagens Nringsliv:
Hacker for Norge p Times Square, Dagens Nringsliv:


Lets Innovate Together

Follow Cxense on Twitter @cxense
Follow GEN on Twitter @GENinnovate

See more pictures from the GEN Cxense/Reuters Event GENs flicker account.

To contact Cxense and l earn more about t hei r product s:
Lauren Pedersen, VP Global Marketing & Communications,
+47 90663094

Camilla Moen, Marketing Director
+47 47929141

More about Cxense:

To sponsor, host or parti ci pate i n GEN Hackdays:
Colm Curneen, Deputy Director & Head of Business Development

Evangeline de Bourgoing, Programmes Manager

More about the Global Editors Network: