Media Party Miami brings speakers from all over Latin America

Greetings, hacks and hackers! It’s just one week til Connect Austin, and in the meantime, Miami is staging a mediathon, Karachi is learning Instagram, and London is nabbing data guru Simon Rogers for its monthly meetup.

We’re still looking for input on the new Hacks/Hackers website, so please pass the RFI along to any coders, designers or other Internet makers you may know. We’re still accepting proposals through April 11.

The week ahead:

  • The Pakistan chapter is teaching journalists to use Instagram in Karachi
  • Miami and IRE are holding their regular weekly open labs
  • Paris is discussing producing new media elements like Snapchat and video 360
  • London is featuring a few all-star speakers, including Simon Rogers, Google’s data editor
  • Miami is partnering with Chicas Poderosas to hold a “mediathon”
  • Austin is holding its first Connect event, featuring Ash Maurya the creator of the Lean Canvas and author of Running Lean, as well as session leaders from the Daily Dot, IBM Watson, Vox Media, and The Texas Tribune.

We’re excited to bring the Connect series to Austin next week, just in time for the International Symposium on Online Journalism. Spots are still open, so register before invites run out! And, as always, follow along at #HHConnect.

Chapter spotlight:

Miami kicked off its own Media Party last weekend, featuring media representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela and the U.S.

Co-organizer Mariana Santos said H/H Miami is still experimenting with the event, which was inspired by the wildly successful HHBA Media Party in Buenos Aires.

“With over 5,000 members, the Hacks/Hackers group in Buenos Aires is much older and more established, and we can’t just transplant the same event from Argentina to Miami without doing more work to inform the community first. We will put more work into promoting the opportunities so people know what they can expect from an event like this.

After the event, we talked about how to reach more people in Miami for next year’s event. We concluded that breaking up the event into smaller events throughout the year would give us more promotion of the event.”

Worth a read:

Job openings:

Miami plans its first Media Party; Brisbane relaunches

Happy Friday, hacks and hackers! I thought about putting an April Fool’s joke in here, but don’t worry. I wouldn’t do that to you.

Before we see what the chapters are up to, I want to bring your attention to the Website Action Group’s Request for Interest for developing and designing a brand new website for www.hackshackers.com.

Interested parties should read the RFI and submit their proposals to info@hackshackers.com by April 11, 2016. Questions and comments regarding the RFP can be addressed to the Website Action Committee via GitHub.


The week ahead:

And last but not least, the Hacks/Hackers global open call will take place next Tuesday, April 5, at 1600 UTC. There are options for joining online, dialing in from outside the U.S., and simply following along on the notepad. Tune in!

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Chapter spotlight:

Brisbane, Australia, held a showcase last week featuring work by not just a graphics designer, but also its own members. Co-organizer Simon Elvery said committing to a monthly meetup schedule has helped the chapter re-launch this year.

”It’s really helpful to have shared responsibility for organising them and also that one organiser is an academic at one of Brisbane’s biggest journalism schools (Daniel Angus) while the other (me) works for the News Digital division of the national broadcaster (the ABC).”

Worth a read:

  • The NYT is joining the podcast bandwagon with a new team to create several news and opinion podcasts by 2017 (Nieman Lab)
  • Sarah Jeong explains how Microsoft could have prevented their Twitter bot from spiraling into abhorrent racism (Vice)
  • Digital news is thriving more in Finland and the UK than other European countries (Nieman Lab)
  • That media startup by Jill Abramson – the one that was going to pay writers $100,000 – will probably never materialize (Poynter)

Job openings:

Registration opens for Connect Austin; Ethiopia celebrates Open Data Day

Greetings, hacks and hackers! We’ve got some news on the latest Connect milestone:

Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Canvas, will be the featured speaker. We want to get the word out to all media entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs) in the area, especially since a lot of people will already be in town for the ISOJ conference. Please help us spread the word!

The week ahead:

Chapter spotlight:

Hacks/Hackers Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, collaborated with Hacks/Hackers Africa, in Johannesburg, to celebrate Open Data Day 2016.

The theme was raising awareness of open data among grassroot communities in Ethiopia. It was one of Addis Ababa’s first events,, and featured help from data liberation advocates like Code4Ethiopia and Open Knowledge International.

Worth a read:

Job openings:

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Hacks/Hackers returns from NICAR, Boston takes the plate for a baseball hackathon

Happy Friday, hacks and hackers, and I hope those among you who went to NICAR last week are catching up admirably.

The week ahead:

  • Boston is holding a Baseball Hack Day, their fifth annual hackathon for baseball-related projects
  • Brisbane s holding a showcase for projects by its own members, as well as special guest Lydia Byrne, a graphic illustrator
  • Montreal is hosting an informational talk on the dark web, the deep web, and internet security for journalists
  • Hacks/Hacker IRE is holding its regular weekly lab

Chapter spotlight:

The Philadelphia chapter had some members at NICAR last week, and invited them back to share some of the tips and tricks they’d picked up. Olivia Hall from PMN, Rachelle Faroul from the Rutgers Coding Bootcamp and other shared some of the presentations they found most helpful, including how to make “snackable and shareable” dataviz projects.

Worth a read:

  • NPR announced it would no longer promote its podcasts on air (Nieman Lab)
  • Marty Baron, real-life star of the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight, says theloss of public trust is journalism’s greatest challenge right now (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers)
  • Dropbox, which is, according to this Wired writer, “a sweeping network of machines whose evolution epitomizes the forces that have transformed the heart of the Internet over the past decade,” has shifted away from storing files in Amazon’s cloud and onto its own servers (Wired)
  • The Coral Project released an open-source tool for making comments more manageable (Nieman Lab)
  • The American Press Institute released a report on how more old-fashioned newsrooms can start using data (API)

Job openings:

Call to action:
Let’s share the best tools we’ve got in our toolkits. It can be an app, a website, or even just a technique that’s netted you some success. Tweet at us at #hackshackers and we’ll share!

Hacks and Hackers turn out in force at NICAR

Happy NICAR to the lucky hacks and hackers here in Denver, and happy Friday to everyone else! If you’re not at the conference but would still like to grab the tipsheets and tutorials, I’d suggest Melody Kramer’s tips for finding the most popular tweets circulating on the #NICAR16 hashtag.

The week ahead:

  • Philadelphia is bringing delicious NICAR knowledge to a hometown session
  • Boston is hosting a workshop on making livestreams with Deepstream.tv
  • Toronto is keeping the conversation bubbling at its monthly Pub Night
  • IRE’s weekly lab is open in Columbia, Missouri
  • Miami is also holding an OpenHack for anyone at MIT

A huge round of applause for Pete MacRobert, co-organizer of H/H London, who created a calendar for ALL the Hacks/Hackers events around the world. Go here to add it to your calendar.

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Chapter spotlight:

The Hacks/Hackers chapter in Colorado hosted a welcoming party for those in Denver. Abigail Edge, who recently rebooted the chapter, said she wanted to use NICAR to introduce people to Hacks/Hackers and other journalists in a fun environment.

“With regards to the sponsors, Tableau actually reached out to me. I’d also posted at the end of (an earlier) meetup event that I was looking for sponsors, and Knight Lab got in touch and said that they would like to sponsor. So two weeks before the event, we actually didn’t have a sponsor, but we were still going to do it anyway. And then within the last two weeks, Knight Lab and Tableau both came forward and offered to sponsor some drinks. It’s nice to see so many people enjoying one of my favorite breweries in Denver, just having a really good night and getting to know each other.” 

Worth a read:

  • The Dallas Morning News is finding that committing to being a fully web-first publication might mean starting from square one (Poynter)
  • FiveThirtyEight uncovered a devious world of plagiarism, programming, web scraping and crossword puzzles (FiveThirtyEight)
  • The Columbia Journalism Review took a look at the slow transition of control from publishers to Facebook in the dramatically headlined“Facebook is Eating the World” (CJR)
  • A New York Times article reached tens of thousands of people before the NYT denounced it as a fake. First Draft News shared some tips for spotting news hoaxes (First Draft News)

Job postings:

Call to action:

For those of us not at NICAR, what is the best tutorial or tipsheet you’ve ever come across? It can be a Python walkthrough, or an Excel video, or even just an essay on good reporting tips. Send it to us at #hackshackers and we’ll spread the knowledge.

If you’re not already subscribed to this newsletter, sign up here!

Announcing Connect Miami; H/H prepares for NICAR in Denver

Hope all you hacks and hackers are ready for NICAR! (Or at least ready to follow it on Twitter.) Hacks/Hackers Colorado is hosting a happy hour for everyone in Denver, with drinks sponsored by the Knight Lab and Tableau. (Sadly, the beers cannot be shared on Twitter.)

The intrepid website committee is asking for opinions on their plans for a new and improved website. Please comment on the Google doc! This is for anybody who needs or wants a Hacks/Hackers website, no design or web experience needed.

The week ahead:

  • Miami is holding its first annual Hack-for-Good, a weekend hackathon that draws nonprofits and tech developers together
  • Halifax is sharing some Excel tricks for getting the most out of your data
  • Colorado is hosting a happy hour in honor of the NICAR conference. Come on by and say hi!

Chapter spotlight:

Hacks/Hackers IRE, located at IRE’s headquarters at the University of Missouri, has taken a few different forms over the years. Since last summer, James Gordon has been running it as a weekly open lab for students or anyone else interested in coming in to work on a journalism or tech project.

“We’re constantly playing around with the format. I initially tried to have a specific discussion topic planned ahead of time, but there are a lot of students who show up specifically because they are having trouble with an assignment or setting up their environment on their machine. For that reason, we now occasionally have an “open lab” with no planned discussion. Just a space for people get and give help.

We also have a Slack going for attendants, which I have found to be great for keeping the conversation going in between meetups. Members will share articles and resources they have found useful and also get and receive help.”

The Connect series has been picking up momentum, with New York hosting the third event in two months, 120 entrepreneurs-to-be at CUNY last weekend. On that note, another big announcement:

Austin or Brussels are still coming up in April, so subscribe for updates on the Connect site and keep an eye on the Twitter hashtag.

Worth a read:

  • ProPublica released Hell and High Water, a news app showing how unprepared Houston is for when (not if) it gets hit by the next big hurricane. They also published a detailed nerd box on how they made the app (ProPublica)
  • The Nation published a thoughtful story on how the digital revolution is pushing valuable, veteran reporters out of the industry (The Nation)
  • The newly created Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab published an essay outlining five broad areas it plans to explore, and asks for suggestions (Medium)
  • A lot of people shared this list of 10 low-cost tools for newsgathering and verification, showing that any newsroom (or newsperson) can do these things on practically any budget (First Draft News)

Job openings:

Call to action:

The website committee is revving up and getting ready to redo the website, so chime in with your thoughts or how you use the site already. Let us know at #hackshackers or on the Google doc! If you’ve got a Github account, you can get in touch with the committee on their repo.

If you’re not already subscribed to this newsletter, sign up here.

Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires turns 5; new opportunities abound for other groups

Happy Leap Day weekend, hacks and hackers. (Is that a thing?)

The largest Hacks/Hackers group (over 5,000 and counting!) had what looks like an epic pool party last week, and other local groups are putting their members in touch with some pretty great opportunities.

The week ahead:

  • Hacks/Hackers IRE is holding its regular lab in Columbia, Missouri
  • Sydney is holding an informational event about Editors Lab, a sort of hacking pageant from countries across the world
  • Miami is holding its regular OpenHack night with other hacking and coding groups in town
  • Denmark is rebooting with its first event of 2016, topic to be determined
  • Johannesburg is informing local hacks and hackers about opportunities with impactAFRICA
  • Halifax is holding an event on Thursday, details to be announced

Chapter spotlight:

Buenos Aires celebrated its 5th birthday last week, with a pool party and some quintessential Argentine barbeque. Mariano Blejman shared some tips on keeping the world’s largest H/H chapter alive and well for five years straight:

  • Keep it fresh! New people, new ideas, new projects always
  • Be useful: Communities grow if they are useful and solve real problems
  • Think of something that’s coming next
  • Meet always in cool places
  • Make parties: We couldn’t get stronger if it weren’t for the Media Party
  • Return people’s investments with happiness
  • Celebrate your birthday in a swimming pool

Remember to keep an eye out for updates on Connect events in Austin and Brussels. Registration hasn’t opened yet, and more details are being announced.

Worth a read:

  • Not many people use Reddit, but 80% of Redditors say they get their news there (Pew Research Center)
  • Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) initiative, designed to optimize content for mobile, is offering publishers new opportunities for mobile distribution (Nieman Lab)
  • SND released its shortlist of five outlets for the SND national design awards, to be given out at the national workshop in April (SND)
  • H/H’s own Phillip Smith wrote about how the implosion of “big media” in Canada is opening new paths for startups (Medium)

Job openings:

Call to action:

We’re going to be expanding our efforts to make sure an organizer from every single group is included in the Organizers google group, so please pass this newsletter along. If you know an organizer (or just someone who’s involved with H/H) who isn’t on the email list or newsletter, please put them in touch! As always, we can be reached at @hackshackers.

Announcing Connect Brussels

Happy Friday, hacks and hackers. We’ve got some exciting news:

Connect events have been selling out fast, so subscribe for updates to be the first to know when registration opens. Let’s take a look at what’s happening in the rest of the world.

The week ahead:

Chapter spotlight:

The Halifax chapter just got started a few months ago, but their events are already standing room only:  

Rachel Ward, one of the co-organizers, shared a tip on getting started with meetups:

“Our goal coming out of the first session is better organizing speakers.  We had four excellent people in the last one and the attendees enjoyed their talks. This next time, we’ll try to meet with the speakers before the event so everyone’s comfortable with their distinct presentations and with the lengths of each. It’s one extra step that should smooth things out. Sometimes speakers felt they overlapped or didn’t have enough time/too much time. Also, a bigger room with sound won’t hurt!”

Worth a read:

  • Buzzfeed was in the news a lot this week, with Nieman Lab highlighting their video strategies, Fast Company outlining their plan for global expansion and Poynter profiling their investigative team
  • The Guardian experimented with Periscope and Facebook to cover the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (Nieman Lab)
  • Robert Caro, author of the seminal 1970s biography The Power Broker, shared his thoughts on how reporting has changed and how it remains the same (Gothamist)

Job openings:

Call to action:

We’ve seen a lot of action and engagement from Hacks/Hackers organizers all over the world. What’s one – just one – lesson you’ve learned from organizing? Is it how to attract new members? How to make sure they show up? Share your tip with the rest of us at #hackshackers.

Connect London took place last weekend; NYC is already sold out

Greetings hacks and hackers, the Connect series is rolling onward like a behemoth and all over the world, individual chapters are holding get-togethers and learning new skills. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up:

The week ahead:

Chapter spotlight:

London hosted an enormous Connect event last weekend. More than 100 entrepreneurs and mentors gathered to kickstart media startups. Nick Duxbury wrote up his observations on Medium, expressing his surprise at how entrepreneurial journalists were.

No hacks I spoke with talked about money. Some didn’t mention tech. Most seemed focused on finding ways to viably produce high quality journalism of social importance (notably *not* necessarily popular content) without commercial compromises.”

Registration is already full for Connect in New York City February 26-27. But join the waiting list if you’re going to be in the area! And if you’re not, follow along at #hhconnect.

Worth a read:

Job openings:

Call to action:

I’m looking for job postings over hill and dale, but we want to make sure we don’t miss any openings that needs filling with a hack or hacker. Share the love and email job postings to jobs@hackshackers.com or tweet at us!

Chapters kick off 2016 with meetups and Connect events

Welcome to 2016, hacks and hackers! It’s been six weeks since our last newsletter and several chapters have been keeping the fires burning, including San Francisco, which had its first Connect event last weekend. Here’s what’s coming up next:

The week ahead:

  • Amsterdam stages a hackathon for refugees on Friday and Saturday, aiming to find solutions to the current migrant and refugee crisis in the Netherlands.
  • The Missouri chapter holds its weekly lab in Columbia, Missouri, on Wednesday.
  • Miami gathers for their weekly OpenHack on Monday to work on individual projects.
  • Berlin hosts scientists on Tuesday to talk about what they and journalists can learn from each other.
  • Halifax is having its first full session on Wednesday, featuring social media journalists from local outlets.
  • London comes together for a Connect event on Friday and Saturday. Keep reading for more on the Connect series.

Chapter spotlight:

San Francisco held its Connect event last weekend, a two-day media entrepreneurship extravaganza, aimed at planting seeds for new media ventures. Check out some of the lessons learned at #hhconnect and #hhcxn.

The next Connect event will take place in London next week, Feb. 5-6. Applications to be a participant have closed, but they’re still looking for volunteers – email cassiewerber@gmail.com if you’re interested. You can find the details on the event here and follow along on Twitter.

Worth a read:

  • Jeremy Merrill, a journalist and programmer at NYT, and one of the brains behind Tabula, made an airplane tracker for his windowsill (Mashable)
  • Speaking of air travel, Quartz tracked private helicopters in Switzerland using a hand-built antenna on an apartment rooftop (Quartz)
  • The latest round of Knight News Challenge projects had the theme of “data,” and 17 winners were announced on Tuesday (Knight)
  • The “Snowpiercer” Scenario: WNYC is bunkering down and planning for the ultimate snowstorm using data, interviews and wild speculation (WNYC)

Job openings:

Call to action:

Let’s start 2016 with a clean slate: What is something you learned in 2015? Just one thing. Doesn’t have to be the best or deepest or most important – just pick one at random. Shoot me a response to this email and I’ll share it, or share it with everybody at #hackshackers.

Another call to action: If you know of a job, event, chapter to highlight or even just a reading suggestion, respond to this email and it will reach Samantha Sunne, our new newsletter writer. Thanks, everybody! Here’s to a 2016 full of journohacks.

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