Where academic research and industry experimentation converge: The Media Innovation Hub explained

The recently launched Media Innovation Hub aims to “create a community, an ecosystem for innovation in news media,” according to the Hub’s project Director Stephen Fozard. He says the WAN-IFRA initiative is designed to propel experimentation in the media industry by connecting publishers to academia through research and technology.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | November 12, 2014

The Media Innovation Hub is an international alliance of innovation practitioners in the field of news media and academia. It aims to boost the media innovation ecosystem, to facilitate collective innovation, and to promote collaboration among news organisations, technology providers, and research centres.

It started with two main projects –the Global Alliance for Research and Innovation and the Media Innovation Map. One of its objectives is to foster long-term growth in the news media business by unlocking the potential of innovation provided by the growing ecosystem of emerging technology providers and innovation centres worldwide.

Industry and academia need to negotiate the short-term and long-term interests of developing technologies and turning a profit. “It is because those two worlds don’t have the same vision, there is a clear difference between the short-term vision of industry and long-term vision of research. The idea was to create a global alliance of universities interested in collaborating with the industry, that WAN-IFRA represents, and vice versa” Fozard said.

The other project is the Media Innovation Map, the online business platform, which aims to enhance collaborations and deliver short-term business results. The interactive online platform, which is currently in beta test phase – is designed as a marketplace for industry and academia to connect, share information and create business opportunities. “It is something between a database and a social network,” Fozard said.

The underlying objective is to put research centres, universities, start-ups and media outlets in contact with one another so new technologies and initiatives can be researched. If media outlets can think long-term, then innovation can (theoretically) be converted into profit. It gives media companies the opportunity to adapt to rapidly changing industry realities. It aims to be fully operational by mid 2015.

Fozard wants the Hub to “encourage innovation, to create an ecosystem, to get people to exchange information, contacts and best practices.” So, if a media company wants to explore iBEACON technology and what opportunities this has to offer to the media industry, for example, then it would be able to see which university in which country is conducting research and then get in contact with them via the Hub network.

The Alliance aims to connect two worlds, the industry and academia, which do not usually interact. “We noticed that universities were working on some excellent research programs in the field that we should be working on but the newspaper industry isn’t giving enough time or importance to that kind of research” Fozard said.

New connections

The Hub has already started connecting people at the Media Innovation Hub booth during the WAN-IFRA Expo in Amsterdam last month. “We brought seven university projects from our partner universities and the idea was for these Masters or PhD students to [show] their quite innovative projects in the field of news media to the industry,” Fozard said.

“For example, one of the Stibo Accelerator projects was about how Google Glass was going to change the way you consume news. The students who are doing their thesis on this brought Google Glasses with them so people could try to see how they work,” he said.

Media Innovation Hub partners include

Getting involved  

WAN-IFRA and World Editors Forum members can access the Hub as part of their membership benefits, while universities or research centers can become partners through the Global Alliance for Research and Innovation.

For more information contact Stephen Fozard:

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