Travellers’ Tales

Re-imagining Travel Journalism

While quarantine has had most of us pretty home-bound, there’s no reason we can’t look ahead to the future. Travel journalism has always played a role in helping people learn about places to visit and prepare their journeys, but does it really “work” as well for the audience as it could? In this project, we’ll consider what people really need from travel journalism and how it could be made more useful for its audience.

Faculty and Staff Leads

Joe Germuska

Chief Nerd

Joe runs Knight Lab’s technology, professional staff and student fellows. Before joining us, Joe was on the Chicago Tribune News Apps team. Also, he hosts a weekly radio show on WNUR-FM – Conference of the Birds.

Project Details

2020 Fall

Important Questions
  • What are the conventions of travel journalism as it it typically practiced?
  • What are the needs of the audience of that journalism?
  • What are the different kinds of audiences? Travellers, but also armchair adventurers, and… who else?
  • How well do the conventions serve those needs?
  • What new forms, processes, or applications could work better for the audience?
  • How might those forms be constructed so as to continue to support travel journalists and publications, instead of taking them out of the loop?
Sample Milestones
  • Weeks 1-2 Research travel journalism, as well as apps and less “journalistic” websites. Develop an understanding of what audiences need. Plan user interviews.
  • Weeks 3-4 Generate ideas for new story formats, applications, or other innovations.
  • Weeks 5-10 Refine ideas, prototype solutions, test them on users, iterate...

This project is adaptable based on the backgrounds and skills of the team which is assembled. Generally, by the end of the quarter, the team will create concept pitches for 1-3 concepts for innovation in travel journalism, substantiated by research and testing with prospective users. At a minimum, the pitches will describe the needs unearthed during research and features of the proposed concept which meet those needs. Artifacts might include user journey maps, storyboards, rough interface designs, or partially functioning prototypes.