4 lessons from a newsroom hack day

Today we had a newsroom hack (half) day at Metro.co.uk – 3 devs, 2 writers, 1 social media person and 1 pictures person.

We published 4 topical articles including a Scotland quiz, a Scotland interactive flowchart, a “click to reveal” about celebrity teeth, and a 9/11 “picture slider”.

What did we learn?

1. Having all the necessary skills sitting around one table is awesome. Having them working together towards a shared goal is even more awesome.

It’s not so different from how we usually work in the news room, but the hack day took it to the next level.

2. We re-purposed an old quiz about Scotland. Re-purposing was frowned upon. We were accused of cheating. But, as @elgrom pointed out, it worked (it got almost 3k shares within 8 hours) so we should do more of it!

3. Another “cheat” was posting our articles on Metro’s Facebook page, it drives massive traffic. The trouble is, we can only post about a dozen articles a day (out of a 100+ articles).

Adam, our social media guy, helped us design for social from the outset. He made the quiz headline and results more personalised, which is good for sharing. He knew how our quiz would fit in with the other content scheduled for Metro’s Facebook page.

What if all of our 12 daily Facebook articles where produced this way?

4. Producing a finished article is a lot of bloody work. Respect to all you content folks !

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