Matt Waite Invited to Inaugural Al Jazeera Event

Matt Waite Invited to Inaugural Al Jazeera Event

Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 6:00pm
Matt Waite
Matt Waite

Matt Waite, Professor of Practice at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, is one of 90 individuals chosen to participate in a media innovation hackathon sponsored by Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar. Waite was one of 1,000 applicants and learned of his acceptance in late October.

“I’m honored to be chosen among a truly diverse group of technologists, artists and journalists who care about informing people,” Waite said. “It’s a rare opportunity to collaborate with a global community of journalism thinkers.” 

Canvas is being kicked off with an inaugural hackathon Nov. 29 – Dec. 1. Al Jazeera, who is hosting the hackathon, has selected designers, developers, journalists, media professionals, technologists, inventors and others to compete for $50,000 in prizes and awards. 

The organizers are creating a space to explore and invent solutions to challenges that advance humanity while also pushing forward media and open source technologies. At the hackathon, participants can collaborate with some of the most innovative minds in media and journalism to imagine the future of news and information.  

To apply, Waite completed an application laying out his qualifications and ideas regarding the intersection of technology and journalism. He hopes to learn from people interested in how areas like information architecture and data science can enhance human-driven storytelling. 

This year, the inaugural Canvas hackathon is all about “Media in Context.” The 12 challenge topics include: Giving Voice to the Voiceless with Data; What’s in the Papers Today, Hal?; Putting Things Back in Context; Mapping and Understanding; Media on the Move; Looking at the Numbers; Smarter Headlines; Archive Archaeology; Think Outside the Comment Box; Discovering History and Culture; Fully Immersed in Media and Do You Trust Your Media.

In July of this year, Al Jazeera launched an Innovation and Research Group. According to their website, their purpose is committed to exploring and creating concepts, products, and ideas at the intersection of media, technology and popular culture. 

Inspired by Al Jazeera’s heritage of innovation, the group plans to build a network of innovators in technology and media culture, set to grow through a series of conferences, local events, publications and community building platforms, including the hackathon.

Professor Waite is the founder of the college’s Drone Journalism Lab and conducts Maker’s Hours. From 2007-2011, he was a programmer and journalist for the St. Petersburg Times where he was a part of a team that developed the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.