Lightning talks and a healthy dose of start-up projects launch Hacks/Hackers Berlin


Germany’s capital Berlin saw the launch of its first Hacks/Hackers chapter last night at co.up in Kreuzberg. Around 40 coders, journalists, engineers, entrepreneurs and curious individuals attended to witness five lightning talks before breaking out into informal discussion groups.

Among the speakers, who presented for a maximum of five minutes, was Knight-Mozilla Fellow Cole Gillespie and Thomas Zoechler of Zeit Online. They talked about everything from drone journalism — the latest fascination among cutting-edge journalists — to open sourcing the newsroom, and set the tone for a wide range of discussions that covered mobile news apps, content management, data visualization, breaking news verification and online journalist portals.

Marcus von Jordan came all the way from Munich to pitch Torial, a very promising online journalistic workflow and network tool. Torsten Mueller from MundusMedia spoke about his project, which uses social web correspondents to source and verify news online. Fin from Vienna, and co-organiser of Collid.es, took the article to a new level with his Luminous Flux concept while brave latecomers Stefan Broda and Özkan Ak talked about their stealth, SoLoMo point-of-sale startup.

All in all, a great spectrum of projects and ideas, and not all of them about news. This may be unusual a Hackers/Hackers group, but attendees responded well to interjections from chemists, investors, engineers — professionals outside the immediate field of journalism. This too is how Berlin works at this particular point on its trajectory towards becoming a start-up capital.

Lessons learnt? For next time, we’d like to see more journalists, more insights into how newsrooms are evolving, and more new territories staked out in which technologists can work alongside reporters and editors to build functioning, sustainable news enterprises. We’ll also shake-up the format to keep things interesting next time. The main thing is that there will be a next time! Watch this space or follow us on Twitter at @HacksHackersBER.

This report was written by the evening’s moderator and facilitator, Adam Thomas.

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