The Global Editors Network (GEN) and Rappler, with support from Google, held the Philippines Editors Lab, a two-day hackathon in Manila. Over 7-8 July 2016, coinciding with the onset of typhoon season, teams from across the country gathered to develop innovative news prototypes to improve crisis reporting in the Philippines.

The team from D5 Studio won with their project “Under Pressure” and is invited to compete at the Editors Lab Final in Vienna on 21-23 June 2017.

It’s difficult for journalists to prepare for all the quick and tough decisions they will have to make while covering breaking news like disasters, which is why D5 Studio created the prototype “Under Pressure”, earning them the first winning title of the fifth season of the Editors Lab hackathon series.

Journalist and member of the winning team, Candice Montenegro explained how they tackled this issue: “It’s very important that your reporters — your front-liners — are well-equipped when they go out and do crisis reporting whether it be a typhoon or an earthquake — or even a stampede or a hostage crisis, which we’ve seen in recent years,” she said, “We feel that the most important skills, the editorial judgement, deciding what to do next, those are things you need to prepare for. We thought, why not a training simulation where they will more or less have a feel of what it’s going to be like and that way, they can refine their skills.”

Nine teams — each equipped with editorial, design and programming skills — converged at Rappler headquarters in Manila for the event, part of GEN’s worldwide Editors Lab hackathon series. The teams included print, broadcast, online and student media, an impressive gathering for the first Editors Lab in the Philippines. A full list of teams and more information is available at the Philippines Editors Lab page.

The jury, consisting of Alexander Pama (Former Undersecretary of the NDRRMC),Catherine Candano (Google), Clarissa David (University of the Philippines), Jane Octia(former Yahoo! News), JC Medina (News Deeply) and Sarah Toporoff (GEN), also awarded special mentions to teams from the host organisation Rappler for their project “Fight and Foresight“, a data visualisation of potential risks and damages that aims to get citizens to react faster to crisis warnings, and Inquirer MegaMobile for “IM Here“, an emergency kit for journalists with various online and offline features for them to deliver helpful, verified, and immediate information to their newsrooms. The Public Choice Award went to overall winners D5 Studio.

Jury member Catherine Candano from Google was impressed by the winners’ back-to-basics approach, creating a tool that “enables the journalists to do better in times of crises.” In disaster-prone regions such as the Philippines, the jury found that Under Pressure “enables people with the right tools and the right mindset and the right discipline around the reporting.” Catherine points out that this is also a tool that can be applied beyond the journalist: “It could be for anyone who’s in such crisis environments because you could modularise their experiences and decision paths to help understand the mindset of how to operate in those scenarios.”

Former Undersecretary Pama agreed that the strength of Under Pressure lies in its scalability. He said that all the prototypes created during the hackathon have the possibility to “open up new frontiers in the use of social media particularly in bridging the ‘traditional’ news coverage of disasters” and that they “will be correlated with our common efforts on disaster risk reduction to achieve common goal of bringing the barest minimum of casualties and reducing loss of damages.”

The winning team from D5 Studio will compete against other Editors Lab winners from season five during the Editors Lab Final — the “World Cup of Newsroom Innovation”. This will take place as part of the renowned GEN Summit in Vienna on 21-23 June 2017.


Project: Under Pressure
Team: D5 Studio

“Under Pressure” is a simulation training website for new journalists, which will test their reportage and decision-making skills in the face of a crisis situation. The website will provide scenarios based on actual natural disasters and emergencies that the media reported on in the past. In each scenario, a journalist taking the programme will be asked to complete a series of tasks, after which they will be given videos and modules to help supplement the training. The intent is to prepare journalists with the right mindset in a crisis situation, before they are deployed for coverage or if they find themselves in such a situation. This programme will be developed in collaboration with major news organisations in the country, government agencies, non-profit media groups, the private and commercial sectors and other groups involved in disaster aid and response. The next phase of the project is a development of a virtual reality component, which will enhance the immersive experience of the training programme. [Learn more…]


The winning team from D5 Studio from left to right: Red Redrico (designer), Candice Montenegro (journalist) and RJ Si (developer).

Special Mention

  • To Rappler for “Fight and Foresight“, a data visualisation of potential risks and damages that aims to get citizens to react faster to crisis warnings.
  • To Inquirer MegaMobile (the mobile team from the Philippine Daily Inquirer) for “IM Here“, an emergency kit for journalists with various online and offline features for them to deliver helpful, verified, and immediate information to their newsrooms.

All projects from the Philippines Editors Lab can be found here.

Participating Teams

Amaranth (VSU student publication)
D5 Studio
Inquirer MegaMobile
Sun.Star Cebu
Sun.Star SuperBalita
Visayas State University (Web team)




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