Tag Archives: Hacks/Hackers

Hacks/Hackers Bogota Develops New Digital Map: Mi Bogotá Verde

Participants of the first Hacks/Hackers Bogotá hackathon gather for a group photo.

Mi Bogotá Verde, a new, crowdsourced digital map that will track solid waste disposal and other garbage concerns is just a few weeks away from going online in Bogotá.

Hacks/Hackers Bogotá developed this map during its first hackathon Aug. 11.

We got together with the idea of putting together a general environmental map, but as is often the case with a hackathon, what comes in is not necessarily what comes out.

However, we stayed on topic, and ended up with a digital map that will seek citizen input to monitor garbage problems in this city of more than 8 million people.

A screenshot of the map in development.

What is going to make this map stand out is our thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach to the solid waste problem, even in this first phase.

We are kicking off with just three main categories — good practices for dealing with solid waste, bad practices and verified reports. With time, the map will expand to include other urban environmental concerns.

In other words, rather than treating this as a crisis map around solid waste concerns, we will also show where and when something is done right. And we are using the open-source Ushahidi mapping platform to achieve this goal.

The slogan for the map, “Entre todos lo lograremos” also applies to the 20 plus people who showed up for the hackathon. We think it’s a terrific start for a chapter that just came into being in April 2012.

The mapping project was decided upon by a vote at the second Hacks/Hackers Bogotá meeting in late May. A volunteer organizing committee met periodically in June and July to get things going and keep the momentum up.

And when we all got together, the momentum was definitely there, first through our brainstorming and then with our get-down-to-it attitude from all who were there — a mix of journalists, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and engineers.

Brainstorming a strategic planThe group works up outreach strategy and more shares thoughts.

We divided into three groups to get our work done — communications, strategy and technology.
“I love the topic,” said Diana Salazar, who works in strategic digital communications. “And I think this interdisciplinary approach is important to generate optimum results.”

We had lots of help. HubBOG, which fosters co-working and entrepreneurship, opened up one of their workspaces. There was participant spillover from the members and organizers of Bogodev, a meetup group of Web and mobile developers and Bogotech, an organization of entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts.

Technology TeamLuis Hernando Aguilar, standing, explains a point to other members of the technology team at the Hacks/Hackers Bogota hackathon.

The International Center for Journalists, through its Knight International Journalism Fellow in Colombia, Hacks/Hackers co-organizer, Ronnie Lovler provided snacks. Co-organizer Renata Cabrales, social media editor at El Tiempo, got us some great pre-hackathon coverage.

As an added bonus, we were able to be part of the hemispheric initiative, #hacklatam, that connected us and another Bogota group with Miami, Buenos Aires and Santiago in a first effort at virtual regional collaboration.

But even though our first hackathon is over, the work goes on through our Google group. Other chapter members who could not attend the hackathon are contacting us to get involved.

With the commitment of hackathon participants and the growing interest of other chapter members who want to get on board, we expect Mi Bogota Verde, to be up and running before the end of the month. For now, you can also follow us on Twitter at #BogmapaAmbiental.

10 Days Left Until Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011

10 Days Left Until Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011

Public Journalism Club and Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia, the organizers of Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan contest which will take place on 17-18 December 2011, have received over 50 applications from teams willing to take part in the competition. 50 teams submitted projects that aim at solving the issues of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.

Projects will be hacking issues related to health, transportation, education, environment, problems of disabled people living in the city and tourism. Hachathon [YAN] Yerevan 2011 is dedicated to solving the problems that Yerevan and city’s inhabitants deal with.

The result of this Hachathon is most likely to be the creation of a number of prototypes for ready-made projects that can be implemented not only by municipal government but also by the structures and circles focused on the city issues, as well as through active engagement of people.

Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011 contest will start on 17 December and will last 24 hours. During the round-the-clock contest, the teams will have to develop and publicly present their programs, applications, mobile solutions and web sites or their prototypes/demo versions to the panel of judges.


  • Best project. Best project will receive a prize from Yerevan Town Hall.
  • Three best projects developed on the basis of Microsoft technology will receive cash prizes from Microsoft Innovation Center (1 million Armenian Drams= 2600 USD, 500, 000 Armenian Drams =1300 USD and 300,000 Armenian Drams = 755 USD respectively, which is about).
  • Three best mobile solutions will receive cash prizes (500,000 Armenian Drams = 1300 USD each) from Enterprise Incubator Foundation in Armenia.
  • Best social project will receive a cash prize of 350,000 Armenian Drams = 900 USD from Cronimet Charity Foundation. Best Media and Society project will receive an implementation grant from Alternative Resources in Media Programme.

Apart from the abovementioned prizes, the participating teams will also receive runner-up prizes and certificates from GNC Alfa Company, Public Journalism Club and Hacks/Hackers.

The panel of judges will have the right to dismiss the announcement of winners in several categories in case there are no projects complying with the terms and standards of the contest.

The deadline for submission of applications was 15 November 2011.

The organizers of the event have held over a dozen meetings with students, representatives of IT industry and public sector in universities presenting the Hackathon and helping interested applicants to form teams.

On November 30 and December 1, Karl Davies-Barrett, DPE technical Lead for CEE and Multi-Country, delivered workshop sessions designed specifically for the participants of Hackathon [YAN] Yerevan 2011 competition. Workshop sessions provided the teams with relevant knowledge on methodology of Microsoft cloud solutions software development as well as current trends and peculiarities of software development for Windows phones.

Purpose of Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan2011: To create an opportunity for creative and innovative people to collaboratively build programs aimed at resolving Yerevan’s issues; to build collaborative atmosphere for both programmers and other specialists for implementing innovative ideas and initiating social reforms; to encourage collaboration between representatives of the IT sector and other fields aimed at the implementation of projects and ideas serving the public interest. The contest is supported by Yerevan Town Hall, Microsoft, Counterpart International Representative Office in Armenia, Enterprise Incubator Foundation, leading telecommunications and information technology companies, media organizations. Media sponsors of Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011 are PanarmenianNet Online News Publication and Arka News Agency.

Contact us if you want to learn more about Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011 at info@pjc.am.

Introducing Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires. Latin America, here we come!

You can also read this post in Spanish. (We’ve gone bilingual!)

The first meeting of Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, Argentina will be on April 28, 2011 at 6.30 p.m. at AreaTres Workplace, Humboldt 2036 Buenos Aires.

The meeting will serve as an introduction to Hacks/Hackers, whose mission is to bring together journalists and technologists. It was originally founded in late 2009 by Burt Herman of Storify (and formerly the Associated Press), Rich Gordon of Northwestern, Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times. We will exchange information on digital tools for journalists and study the vision of developers and their contributions in their ability to handle large volumes of data.

In addition, our group plans to look at ambitious examples of digital journalism from The New York Times, ProPublica, The Guardian, among others. It will also discuss the tools available for journalists and programmers to work together, such as Storify, AudioBoo, Stroome, Google tools. We will also be showing some local examples, and give exclusive access to innovative services in digital communications. We will also be announcing new meetups during the year and will be calling companies and organizations that wish to join us.

In the few days since we’ve launched the Meetup group, we have had tons of comments and coverage on social networks, digital media and national newspapers. We’re proud of the quality of journalists and developers registered (already around 110!). Among them are media publishers and national newspapers editors, developers, hacktivists and communication responsible of social organizations interested in the subject.

The Hacks/Hackers BA is organized by Mariano Blejman (Página/12 Digital Culture Editor), Martin Sarsale (Sumavisos CTO), Cesar Miquel (Easytech CEO) and Guillermo Movia (Mozilla Argentina)
We say thanks! to AreaTres for supporting the initiative.

Twitter: @HacksHackersBA
Meetup: http://meetupba.hackshackers.com
Email: ba[at]hackshackers[dot]com

Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires en marcha

This post is also available in English (we’ve gone bilingual!)

Llega el primer encuentro de Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, Argentina, entre periodistas y programadores, el próximo 28 de abril. Aquí, hablaremos sobre los objetivos de la organización fundada por Burt Herman de Storify, Rich Gordon de Northwestern y Aron Pilhofer de The New York Times. Intercambiaremos información sobre herramientas digitales para periodistas y estudiaremos la visión de los programadores y sus aportes en su capacidad para manejar grandes volúmenes de datos.

Analizaremos grandes ejemplos del periodismo digital (The New York Times, ProPublica, The Guardian) y las herramientas disponibles para que periodistas y programadores puedan trabajar juntos (Storify, Audioboo, Stroome, herramientas de Google). También contaremos las primeras experiencias locales, y daremos accesos exclusivos a servicios novedosos en materia de comunicación digital. También anunciaremos nuevos encuentros durante el año y convocamos a empresas y organizaciones que quieran sumarse a la idea.

Estamos muy contentos por la veloz repercusión de la idea. En pocos días hemos tenido comentarios y coberturas en redes sociales y medios digitales y gráficos, y estamos orgullosos por la calidad de los periodistas y programadores registrados (que ya rondan los 110). Entre ellos se cuentan editores y responsables de medios nacionales, programadores y hacktivistas, además de responsables de comunicación de organizaciones sociales interesadas en la temática.

El Hacks/Hackers BA es organizado por Mariano Blejman (Editor Cultura Digital Página/12), Martín Sarsale (CTO de Sumavisos), Cesar Miquel (CEO Easytech) y Guillermo Movia (Mozilla Argentina)
Agradecemos a AreaTres por apoyar la iniciativa.
Twitter: @HacksHackersBA
Meetup: http://meetupba.hackshackers.com
Email: ba[at]hackshackers[punto]com

Atlanta’s Hacks/Hackers first event with a Knight NewsChallenge Panel

On Monday November 22, the Atlanta chapter of Hacks/Hackers hosted its inaugural meetup at RíRá Irish Pub in Midtown. Approximately 50 people attended the event , with hacks and hackers from media companies like Turner/CNN, Cox Media Group and the AJC; academics and students from institutions like the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University and Georgia Tech; entrepreneurs, consultants, small-biz media companies, and many others (including a librarian!)


Seattle Hacks/Hackers kicks off with Korean tacos

News and tech nerds gathered at Havana Social Club Thursday night to kickoff the Seattle chapter of Hacks/Hackers and nosh on Hawaiian-Korean eats from Marination Mobile (thanks to Patch.com).

The coming out party brought a nice mix of hacks (The Seattle Times, Seattle magazine, MSNBC, InvestigateWest, Capitol Hill Seattle blog and more) and hackers (including Adobe, Microsoft, Intersect, BigDoor and other local start ups) from around the Puget Sound area. Guests sipped on signature cocktails (The Hack, a shot of whiskey and a beer; the Hacker, a cocktail of Maker’s Mark, fresh lemon and honey), and shared ideas for future events. A few highlights:

-A demo evening to educate hacks/hackers on content-related products
-Organize a hackathon with a cohesive focus
-Host an Ignite or PechaKucha-style evening for ideas sharing
-Host a Hacks 101 and Hackers 101 evening to educate journos and techies on the basics of both professions

Keep in touch with us via our new Meetup page as we finalize our winter and spring calendar. You can also follow us on Twitter or e-mail the Seattle chapter co-organizers Sharon Chan and Karen Johnson at hackshackersSEA@gmail.com to learn more.

Sharon Chan, Seattle Times tech reporter hangin’ with hackers

From left: Stephanie Clary; Tiffany Campbell, Seattletimes.com enterprise producer; Karen Johnson, Seattle magazine online managing editor; James Gardner; Seattle hacker

Guests noshed on Hawaiian-Korean fare from Marination Mobile

Prepping kalbi, tofu and spicy pork tacos for Hacks/Hackers Seattle

A big thanks to our partners, AAJA, SPJ, ONA and Intersect for their help promoting the kickoff party. Oh, and, for the heck of it, here’s some chatter about Hacks/Hackers Seattle pulled from Storify.

Return from Poynter’s Programming Seminar, Thanks to Hacks/Hackers

The following is a guest post by Corey Takahashi, who attended a Poynter seminar for journalists and programming through a scholarship provided with Hacks/Hackers.

The key lesson I learned at Poynter’s first seminar on programming and journalism is how much overlap there already is between these two worlds, and the extent to which old-school reporting is at the heart of some of the industry’s most successful and innovative news apps and online features. PolitiFact’s Matt Waite told attendees that the “Truth-O-Meter,” a Web-based gauge of truth-telling by politicians, gets some of the most rigorous fact-checking at the St. Petersburg Times, precisely because the feature is designed to bluntly call out dissembling in a more direct way than a newspaper article.

Waite and Aron Pilhofer, editor of Interactive News Technologies at The New York Times, both stressed that media apps and Web features need journalistic analysis, context and even a “story” concept as their foundation. If you don’t have those elements before building a news app or providing an audience with data, you run the risk of presenting information in a way that’s overwhelming and confusing at best, misleading and potentially misconstrued at worst. I had a sense of this before the seminar, but it made a world of difference to see how leaders in the journo-programming scene actually pull their projects off.

What took me slightly by surprise was just how much journalism and programming are converging on the narrative end of the spectrum, too. I got to chat with fellow participant Jeremy Gilbert, an assistant professor at Northwestern University, who helped oversee the launch of the automated, sports-story-writing system, Stats Monkey.

Gilbert didn’t soft pedal the implications of the project. He said there are some (human) writers who should be worried about computers cranking out narrative copy, a la Stats Monkey. But he added that such systems could give other journalists more time to move up the value chain of journalism, to more original and analytical reporting. “This kind of ‘it-happened-here’ journalism–sure, we can automate that,” Gilbert told me. “But this much higher level of journalism, all of a sudden you’re free to do much more of that.”

I began to see his point once I recalled an argument I’ve heard from reporter-turned-TV-producer (and frequent media critic) David Simon. Simon has said that the only element that really elevates journalism into being “an adult game” is not the who, what, when, where, and how–but the why. The why is what’s difficult, and the why is what’s meaningful. Gilbert was making a similar point, and the programming ideas, conversations, and examples that resonated most with me at Poynter were the ones finding exciting new ways to answer that indispensable “why.”