Enables a journalist to query data directly within a story, allowing creation of dynamic and personalized narratives
Smarticle arose from the realization that personalization has touched just about everything in the digital world except articles.
In April of 2014, Matt Terenzio received a grant from the Knight Prototype Fund to build Fission, a structured journalism repository.
The goal of the grant was to build a prototype application to test the use of small, structured information units in narrative storytelling.
On June 7, at the Hacking Journalism event at MIT Media Lab, along with Greg Galant and Nicole Dominguez from Sawhorse Media, the idea of a Smarticle was born. At the time it was called Datacle, later changed to Smarticle to avoid confusion with another project called Datacle. The Hacking Journalism event at MIT Media Lab. Matt Terenzio is in the lower left.
The concept was to enable journalists to create personalized articles by inserting data into an article template. It was a perfect fit for the Fission backend, but Fission was still embryonic and the time constraints of the weekend hackathon did not allow enough time.
By September, as the Fission code became relatively stable, it became possible to build the Smarticle front-end.
The goal remained the same as the original Datacle concept. Personalized articles that were:
- Data Driven
- CMS agnostic
- Creatable by non-developers
The first two are checked off. We hope we are pretty close on the last, especially since many of the users will be data-savvy journalists.
And so, introducing Smarticle, the personalized article.
Fission primarily uses:
- Node.js - + a bunch of modules like Express and especially Mongoose
- MongoDB - great way to store these types of objects
The Smarticle frontend uses:
- Laravel - technically not necessary but allowed for quickly getting these web pages together since I'm familiar with it
- handlebars - powers the Smarticle templating
- jQuery - duh
- Twitter Bootstrap - because I can't design :)