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The Washington Post expands investment in emerging storytelling technology with new Lede Lab

The Washington Post today announces the Lede Lab, a team dedicated to exploring the use of emerging technologies, such as 5G and spatial computing, in the development of innovative storytelling techniques, strategic products and creative partnerships that help The Post serve its growing global audience.

The six-person team, led by Director of Strategic Initiatives Elite Truong, will spearhead partnerships with tech, academic and artistic collaborators to define how journalists can reach and engage new audiences with inventive storytelling. The team will also leverage cutting-edge capabilities to enhance the way Post journalism is reported, published and distributed. In just the last few months, the team published an immersive timeline using 149 videos reconstructing the first seven days of protests in Minneapolis following George Floyd’s death, debuted AI-powered audio updates for 2020 election results on Post podcasts, and experimented with a drawing robot to illustrate live the electoral map as results came in on and after election day.

“The Post has long been a pioneer in innovative storytelling, and the Lede Lab’s work will continue pushing journalism forward with new approaches that reimagine how a story can be told and what the reader experience looks like,” said Truong. “The Lab will also lend its expertise to the industry, regularly sharing lessons and insights and taking an active role in key research initiatives that explore how technology can strengthen journalism.”

The Lede Lab builds on The Post’s rich history of experimentation, which includes developing Heliograf, an automated storytelling engine deployed during the 2016 Olympics and election, using a 3D printer to capture the electoral vote count on election night 2016, and producing the award-winning virtual reality short film ’12 Seconds of Gunfire.’

In addition to Truong, the Lede Lab includes Seth Blanchard, principal software engineer; Lo Bénichou, creative technologist; Shikha Subramaniam, UX designer; Matt Kiefer, data contractor; and a deputy editor who has not yet been appointed.