Audience Engagement Digital Innovation
3 mins read

A tool to INJECT creativity in journalism

INJECT is a free digital tool that can help stimulate journalists’ creativity by providing them with a variety of perspectives on a specified topic. Journalists can use it as an idea generator, a suggestion machine, or an inspiration tool that can help them find innovative ways to tell their story.

Journalists, today, have less time, and fewer resources, to create ideas and write stories. What INJECT will do is to make journalists as creative as they are at the moment, but more quickly and efficiently. The INJECT tools will do this by implementing strategies that will enable them to undertake some of the work of experienced journalists more quickly, to permit and support journalists to spend more time on creative thinking and story development.

Neil Maiden, INJECT’s Project Leader and Professor of Digital Creativity at Cass Business School, London

It is available as a free web application, as well as an add-on to Google Chrome Extension, Google Docs, Word Press, and Adobe InCopy. Once installed, journalists can launch the INJECT pop-up bar with a click. It has a search box on top where they can enter keywords based on the story they would like to explore creatively. Alternatively, they can highlight text in their text editor and let INJECT read it, and extract topic terms.

The tool uses natural language processing to analyze the words and phrases on the page. It offers suggestions based on how the topic can be tackled, browsing an archive of almost 10 million news articles, and 40,000 digital cartoons, from 350 news sources, in 5 different languages, including English, German, Norwegian, Dutch, and French.

Digital perspectives generator

Users can explore news-related content in INJECT with 4 different search strategies that individually offer a different set of results: These are:

  1. Backing and Evidence – This presents content that contains quantitative evidence such as numbers and measures relevant to the search terms.
  2. Individuals – This presents different people that appear to be connected to the specified topic terms.
  3. Causal – This collects longer, explainer-style news articles that report the background and causes of news connected with the area of interest.
  4. Quirky – Here users can check out cartoons that present their topic from different perspectives.

The search results are presented as news cards and offer a variety of features to trigger new ideas. The tool also has a feature called “Creative sparks” that appear when a user hovers over the results with a cursor. These are suggestions for creative takes based on the topic and specific search results.

Related concepts appear under each new card in colored boxes. One can also see a brief explanation of the concepts by clicking on them. They include people, places, organizations and things connected to the content of the article. The concepts are color-coded with each color representing an entity like person, place, organization, or thing.

INJECT also offers trending topics on Twitter from specified locations.

Here’s a quick look at the tool in action.

Shortcut to creativity?

INJECT can also be customized according to a newsroom’s needs. For example, a newsroom can add its own archives, or search through specific sources that its journalists use regularly.

It’s great for getting ideas that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, or only after searching or thinking for a really long time. It’s a shortcut, in a way.

Jasmijn Post, Journalist at Brussels based media outlet, Bruzz

Of course, INJECT is not something that will make journalists creative, it is designed to support their creativity. It can throw up ideas that one may not have thought of otherwise but which could make stories interesting, or add a fresh perspective.

And it is quick. Perhaps journalists using INJECT would have come to similar ideas given time, but INJECT can help them do that in minutes. Which makes it worthy of being added to our list of tools that journalists and publishers can use to make their work lives more efficient and maybe, interesting.