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DTVM Students Produce Winning Idea At NTU Challenge

DTVM students came up with an idea for an app that allows student journalists to be updated with the latest buzz and have fun at the same time

They were the youngest out of the seven competing teams and the only all-student group. Yet the team of four Year 2 students from the Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media (DTVM) emerged runners up in the inaugural News App Challenge 2013. It was organised by the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on 9 March 2013. Participants were made up of professionals such as journalists, writers, lawyers, writers, programmers and engineers.

Judges, organisers and Team SP in front of
Newsplex Asia

Team SP member Shahidah Adriana Tahir admitted, “Initially I was intimidated after seeing the slip of paper that had all the other contestants' designations. It was scary to go against professionals from the industry. But after the competition, I am very glad with what my team had come up with, so I am very happy to be awarded runners-up.” Besides Shahidah, Team SP was made up of Natasya Amalina Ismail, Lou Mei Jun and Ong Wai Meng.

After a series of talks on apps, users’ demands and journalism, all participants were given less than two hours to come up with an idea for a news app. Teams had eight minutes to present their ideas to the jury, in what’s called an ‘idea-thon’. Team SP presented an idea that came most natural to them - an app for a student journalist below the age of 25. They called it ‘SNIFF’ and besides the usual features such as latest news feed and short synopses, ‘SNIFF’ also allows you to ‘trade’ points with other users such that you can exchange news articles that you’ve read. Natasya said “We used Design Thinking to come up with an unmet need. We asked ourselves what would someone like us need and we came up with ideas which led to a prototype.”

The judges were impressed at the students’ presentation and how well it fit their target audience. ‘SNIFF’ was awarded the second prize. Shahidah said “We didn't really prepare anything before the event. Being journalism students studying new media, we were already quite familiar with the app platform. We’ve had similar activities, like creating an app, in class before. All we had to do was to directly apply what we learnt in class into a real-world situation, so that felt good and it wasn't very difficult actually.”

Team SP presenting what ‘SNIFF’ is all about

As runners up, Team SP won a trip to the Google Office in Singapore. The top team approached Team SP to ask if they too could join in the visit. Since there really was no rule that said they can’t, Team SP readily agreed to ‘share’ the trip and in return, the top team agreed to share the prize money of $1,000. So both teams got cash as well as the trip to Google!