Take a hack/hacker to work day

Thanks to all of you who posted ideas for future events at the meetup site. I’d like to bring the conversation over here because meetup doesn’t allow commenting on ideas beyond simply “liking” them.

So far, this suggestion has received the most interest:

Forget “hack day” – Hackers need to learn to be Hacks – Shadow Hacks for a day!

One of the ongoing tensions in this space is that it seems that the tools that Hackers are developing only solve a subset of problems that face journalism today. Many of the Hackers on last week’s panel didn’t quite seem to understand some of the concerns that Hacks have – I heard some very unsatisfactory answers to many of issues that the Hacks raised. The last thing we need is a “hack day” – seems like a lazy response to last week’s meeting. Let’s instead have “Hackers” spend a day shadowing the “Hacks” – doing some learning away from the laptop, and trying a little harder to understand how journalistic content is created. A little personal experience research goes a long way!

That idea came in apparent response to a call for a Hack Day with prizes — which we are definitely looking at doing in the near future.

Can't we all get along? We need to look forward and both sides need each other to create quality, engaging media.
Hacks/Hackers aims to create a space where everyone can learn from each other. So yes, I think Hackers could shadow Hacks and vice-versa.

I hope we can all appreciate the hard work that everyone does and not point fingers of blame for the sometimes painful transition that we are now living through. Everyone saw the Internet revolution coming, but some chose to stick their heads in the sand.

Can’t we all get along? We need to look forward and both sides need each other to create quality, engaging journalism. We need to get past the pain and seize the opportunities.

Please feel free to suggest other ideas for events below, or reach out to me directly.

  • eugmandel

    Love this idea – I want to see how journalists work. Take me with you to work :).

  • http://mattbaume.com/ mattymatt

    This is a great idea! But like a lot of my freelancer colleagues, I don't actually do my reporting work at an office; all of my newsgathering and writing is done on location or at home or wherever I happen to be. I'm not sure how best to include people whose workflow doesn't involve a fixed place of work.

  • burtherman

    Sure, I'd think shadowing a reporter out on the job would actually be better for others to truly understand how journalists work. I always thought that was the best part of the job of being a journalist, not being bound to a desk.

  • http://twitter.com/SaheliDatta Saheli Datta

    It would be interesting to see how journalists liked having someone all up in their business just as they ( we) are often all up in other people's. 😉 But it should work exactly like following someone around for a profile. I'm not sure how we could organize this for a lot of hackers at once (maybe send in a few with video skills and have them profile a few local working journalists of different genres/beats and then share their observations with the group?) and what the unit of observation should be–a day would only work for some daily paper and broadcast reporters; a “story” would probably be a more useful quantity of observation. Probably need to make sure that all the sources and the publisher was okay, and wait until after publication/airing to share the results with others.

    *I'm* actually now interested in doing the same trick but with ad salespeople, publishers, circulation directors, advertising agencies, etc.. Seems like both the hacks and the hackers might profit from a little ethnography in those departments.

  • Arjun Venkatraman

    I’ve been going to work (all over central india) with the hacks for the last few months…apart from the fact that we can all barely stand each other any more (:)), it’s been a supreme learning experience. I have learnt that I need to KEEP THINGS SIMPLE…or they fail!

  • Jonny by the Bay, OK!

    Too bad you all are frauds.

    Too bad the Fred’s have pushed the real, tallented hackers out of St. Louis.

    Just saying…..


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