Driving Innovation in Global News

We build the best solutions to the biggest digital challenges faced by US International Media.

Our Mission & Strategy

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ODDI works with technology to improve US international news media. We look for the best solutions to the biggest problems in creating, distributing and improving news and information within the BBG. Our job is to understand the audience from a technology standpoint, and provide journalists with the tools they need to reach their critical audiences.

Our Priorities

We look for priority problems in US international media. We focus on opportunities that engage audiences in the improvement of our journalism.

  • Providing mobile products for both connected and low-bandwidth communities.
  • Building and extending tools for enhancing next generation storytelling.
  • Building new models for digital syndication and affiliation
  • Using data-driven decision making to find new and unexplored opportunities.

Our Solutions

We create solutions to benefit at least a million people. These five criteria determine which solutions will produce lasting change within our newsrooms:

  • Real impact on improving the news, engaging our users or building our audience.
  • Return on investment directs our resources to solutions with low cost per impact.
  • Building open source to share our resources with our community of journalism innovators.
  • An Agile, iterative approach builds value with every revision.
  • Building for easy newsroom replication and adoption.

Our Work

  • Mobile News Apps
    We've created and manage the mobile news applications for all entities on Android, Apple IOS and Symbian mobile and tablet devices that balance emerging market needs with innovative tech features including: up to 44 languages supported, proxy integration to get around circumvention, customization navigation, breaking news push notifications and multimedia UGC submission tools.

    The apps are praised by audiences with 4-5 star average scores, ranks in the top 20 news apps for most of Africa, Asia and the Middle East and awarded finalists for the 2014 GSMA Global Mobile Awards for “Best Mobile Publishing Product or Service” and Appy Award finalist for "Best Multicultural App."

    » Learn more about our Mobile News Apps

  • VOA World Cup Site
    Aimed at the young, mobile-enabled African demographic, this responsive site told the story of the World Cup in real time through game scores, lineups and live play-by-play commentary, as well as shareable animations, illustrations, and video. We had an extensive marketing plan to promote the site, and monitored metrics regularly—pivoting our efforts as needed.

    Facebook's popularity in Africa made it a huge priority. Facebook provided a place for us to promote posts, interact with users, test out new content types and get instant feedback. In the end, Facebook was our biggest referral site, with 35% of the overall referral visits.

    » Go to the VOA World Cup Site

  • Radio Sawa Mobile Apps
    The Radio Sawa Android and Apple mobile apps offer a touch-native, mobile-first experience for engaging with youth audiences in the MENA region, soliciting their voices and opinions, and broadcast it back to the community, as well as serve a little topical news in an innovative social and mobile-first format.

    The app was built to technologically get around censorship and FM broadcast control of oppressive governments in the MENA region and it does that, giving voice to the voiceless, and youth audiences the opportunity to engage in music, entertainment, news, and social content on a new digital platform.

    » Learn more about the Radio Sawa Apps

  • Direct
    The new and improved Direct is designed to reach the broadcast affiliates and digital partners of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Affiliates and digital partners can download content from all five BBG broadcasters - Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and the Office of Cuban Broadcasting. Users can build customized content feeds in one or more language; find satellite information and broadcast schedules; and embed free live audio streams in a customized mobile-optimized audio player on their own sites.

    » Go to Direct

  • KettleCorn
    KettleCorn is a customized storytelling platform for USIM journalists built on Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker and the Popcorn.js framework.

    KettleCorn brings together members of ODDI’s storytelling, user experience, technical and ops teams to develop new ways of creating the future of multi-language interactive journalism. Working with Mozilla Foundation to enhance their accessible Popcorn Maker ensures an easy-to-use tool for busy and low-tech journalists to take advantage of HTML5 video.

    » Go to KettleCorn

  • Social Media Dashboard
    The BBG Social Media Dashboard helps BBG staff study our entities' social media platforms, identify winning strategies, and pinpoint areas for improvement. The Dashboard brings data from many sources into one location, so strategiests can see trends at a glance. The audience for this tool is very specific, so user testing and continued discussion with stakeholders were key to ensure the Dashboard met their expectations, fulfilled their needs, and was easy to use.

  • Remembering Tiananmen iBook
    On June 4th, the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Radio Free Asia (RFA) released an iBook account of the 1989 protests in both Mandarin and English. The iBook is aimed at an audience that was not even born when these events happened, and because of censorship, may not have any idea that the turmoil of 1989 ever took place.

    Remembering Tiananmen gathers audio eyewitness accounts, historic “RFA exclusive” photography and video, and archive news photography. It pairs these previously published items with specially commissioned text, custom maps, and diagrams.

  • Our Block Community Radio
    Our Block aims to grow an international community of digital affiliates, independent audio storytellers and local voices that builds stronger communities through the exchange of news, information and shared cultural experiences.

    It combines free, open source radio automation software with web APIs from SoundCloud, DropBox, Social Networks and the BBG’s own digital audio distribution services to create unique streaming audio experiences that allow audiences to participate in a social listening experience that promotes community engagement and action.

Our Team

"Researching and iterating on your product are essential to your ultimate success."

—Randy Abramson, Director of Audio & Video

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

—Danish Ahmed, QA

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." by Albert Einstein

—Mo Alam, Mobile QA

"New devices create new challenges."

—Steve Fuchs, Design/UX Lead

"Luck is a conglomeration of preparation, persistence, and the pursuit of chances."

—Yousof Kokcha, Tech

"I’m proud to be a part of the one and only media agency in the world to launch an app in 43 languages."

—Borana Kostro, Mobile

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." by Robert Byrne

—Kassim Lovett, Mobile Developer

"It always seems impossible until it's done." by Nelson Mandela

—Adam Martin, Director of Innovation

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." by Hunter S. Thompson

—Jason McClure, Tech

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?" by Hillel the Elder, famous Jewish scholar

—Al Neustadter, Tech

"Do not judge me by my successes, Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again." by Nelson Mandela

—Herb Parker, Tech

"We don’t need an accurate document, we need a shared vision."

—Ashok Ramachandran, Project Management

"We have to start broadening our minds."

—David Shalamberidze, Mobile Developer

"Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only MAKE." by John Cage

—Son Tran, Project Management

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

—Brian Williamson, Design/UX

"If our work promotes open, civil discourse protected by the rule of just laws by providing tools and services for our broadcasters and journalists, then WOW, what a great job!"

—Doug Zabransky, Audio & Video