What is the EditorsLab?, EditorsLab in Lisbon

In the words of Evangeline de Bourgoing (the program manager), the goal of EditorsLab is to build innovative prototypes, to encourage innovation in the newsroom, and to encourage collaboration between the journalist, the designer and the developers, that are not as used to work together.

  • The Global Editors Network is a cross-platform community of 1000 editors-in-chief and media innovators committed to sustainable, high-quality journalism. The Network aims to empower newsrooms through activities designed to inspire, connect, and share.
  • The Portuguese Publishers Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1961 with 200 members. The members publish more than 900 publications, catering for national, regional, and specialized audiences. The Association promotes the press as a business activity, and also defends the freedom of the press.

Project criteria

Projects are to be developed during the two days of the event, although some time is taken by presentations. The winning project moves to the next level of the same friendly competition in Barcelona. Projects are judged for the following:

Editorial quality
How innovative is the project, and how useful to its user will it be.
Design and user experience
How user-friendly is the interface, and how creative is the design.
What level of technical expertise does it demonstrate, and how functional is the prototype.
What is the potential scale of the idea, and viability. Is it logistically and technically feasible. Is it possible, basically? Can it really be implemented?

Things to avoid

Evangeline de Bourgoing Concepts and mock-ups may be enough to win. Based on past experience, Evangeline recommended teams to avoid the following:

Glittery gadget
It is a prototype that works well, the design is ready, but at the end you are like… is this really going to be useful to its user? Is this solving a real problem? People are going to play with it for three minutes and then forget about it. We want prototypes than can be useful in the long term for your audience.
Impossible fancy
It’s something that is a great idea, a great project, but you are a very small organization, you have like three developers in your news organization (or one), and you know that to develop this prototype you will need like 10 developers for one year, and you know it’s not going to be feasible. Because we want your prototype to become real, to really be implemented in your newsroom. So, just be realistic, and think about the future.

Theme at Lisbon

The theme of the friendly competition at Lisbon was how to build a community with a Portuguese-speaking audience. Portuguese-speakers make up one of the largest online language groups, yet this community is fragmented. While the Portuguese are producing great content, the conversations are limited to local news sources and audiences. So, how can Portuguese media engage a larger community? How can we interest and create innovative things that can interest Brazil, for example?

Let's embrace the mess.
— Laure Nouraout, Social Media Manager at Global Editors Network

First pitch

At 17h00 of the first day, teams had to overcome the first challenge. Each team had a single minute to talk, and state:

  • What is the headline for the project?
  • What specific problem does it solve?
  • How will the team tackle the problem?

Second pitch

At 17h00 of the second day, teams had five minutes to pitch their project. Evangeline provided the following generic guidelines for the pitch:

  1. Hook your audience with a shocking start, a provocative question, an insight.
  2. Explain your project in one sentence.
  3. Define what is the problem that you tackle.
  4. Add some drama and suspense.
  5. Explain who will be the target audience.
  6. Run through the user experience.
  7. Show what will be the benefits of your product for your audience.
  8. The strapline (slogan) is crucial.
  9. Some technical details but not for too long!
  10. Take time to rehearse and chronometer yourself.


The jury in Lisbon was the following:

  • João Palmeiro, President, APImpresa.
  • Gonçalo Brito, Digital Communication Consultant and Professor at CENJOR.
  • Maria João Vasconcelos, Professor from Escola Superior de Comunicação Social.
  • Luís Filipe Rendercet Cardoso, Professor from Universidade Lusíada.
  • Evangéline de Bourgoing, Programme Manager, Global Editors Network.

Schedule for Thursday, February 26th

9:00 a.m. : Welcome

  • Welcoming of participants by the Global Editors Network
  • Presentation of the GEN Editors Lab programme rules

9:45 a.m. : Speed Geeking

  • The participating teams have 3 minutes to present to each other the most innovative project released by their newsrooms in the last months.

10:30 a.m. : Google Workshop given by Luis Collado, Head of Google News and Books for Spain and Portugal.

11:15 a.m. : The participants start hacking

1:30 p.m. : Lunch

3:00 p.m. : Workshop given by Ricardo Lafuente, Designer and Data Architect at Journalism++

5:00 p.m. : Mini pitch session

  • The teams will have 1 minute to:
    • Announce the title of their projects
    • Explain what is the problem they want to solve with their project
    • Explain how they are going to solve it

6:00 p.m. : Presentation by Conexão Lusófona (did not happen)

7:15 p.m. : Dinner

Schedule for Friday, February 27th

9:00 a.m. : Workshop about 'How to pitch?'

9:30 a.m. : Presentation by Pedro Lomba, Adjunct Secretary of State for the Adjunct and Regional Development Minister

1:00 p.m. : Lunch

4:30 p.m. : Project Submission Deadline

5:00 p.m. : Pitch session

6:30 p.m. : Editors Lab Awards Ceremony


This article is part of EditorsLab in Lisbon: