Newsletter: Oct. 14, 2015

Welcome to the fourth edition of this newsletter. What have you enjoyed about this newsletter, or what would you like to see added/fixed? Send your feedback by replying to this email or taking a quick 4-question survey.

The week ahead for Hacks/Hackers:

Chapter Spotlight: @HacksHackersDEL

Hacks/Hackers Delhi brought together more than a half-dozen speakers to discuss different approaches for reaching a mobile news audience. Check out the Storify by Aayush Soni for a great recap, or search the hashtag #mobilexnews to see tons of live-tweets from the event.


These photos and more on the event’s Facebook page.

Worth a read:

Call to action:

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions on how to update the Survival Glossary. Through that process, we’ve learned about News Nerdery’s Field Guide to Media Tech + Product. News Nerdery also has a Slack channel for folks to chat about collaboration and event organizing, if that’s your thing. Details on how to join the Slack on News Nerdery’s site.

And as mentioned at the top, please send Julia any feedback about how this newsletter is working for you by taking the survey or replying to this email.

Have an excellent week ahead!

Produced by Julia Haslanger, @JuliaJRH

Newsletter: Oct. 7, 2015

All around the world last week, Hacks/Hackers chapters met on topics as varied as web scraping in Python to net neutrality to new storytelling techniques at Zeit Online. In New York City, a panel of four professor/journalists talked about the joys and challenges of teaching data + journalism. A couple of photos:


The week ahead for Hacks/Hackers:

  • Hacks/Hackers-IRE in Columbia, Mo., will be talking about how to create custom map styles with TileMill.

  • In Los Angeles, a group is gathering to discuss rebooting the local Hacks/Hackers chapter.

  • In Lima, Peru, Hacks/Hackers and Hiperderecho hold a discussion about Internet governance with the head of external relations the Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Members of the Johannesburg­, South Africa, chapter will help judge a Data Quest hackathon focused on data from the Global Change and Sustainability Institute.

  • In Bogotá, Colombia, the chapter is holding a workshop on data visualization and structured data. This is the first in a series of workshops this chapter is hosting about working with data.

  • In Venice, Italy, member Carlo Felice Dalla Pasqua shares what he learned while at the Online News Association conference.

  • In Singapore, the Hacks/Hackers chapter is one of the organizers of a “hackathon to beat the haze.” It aims to bring together “developers, bloggers, environmental organizations and media associations in an unprecedented civic hack to enhance our media reporting and response to the haze through the use of data.”

Chapter spotlight: Hacks/Hackers Nairobi

Hacks/Hackers Nairobi (Kenya) recently had a great discussion of the pros and cons to the Facebook-led initiative to bring Internet to the world’s unconnected population, and how that could affect net neutrality.

Have a chapter or organizer who deserves some kudos? Send suggestions for who should be in the spotlight by replying to this email.

Worth a read:

Call to action:

Thanks to Jessica Chapel for responding to last week’s call to action. She first encounteredHacks/Hackers in 2010: “My first experience with Hacks/Hackers was contributing to the creation of the Survival Glossary, which I remember as fun and happening really quickly.”

For this week’s call to action, we’re asking you to help update the Survival Glossary (a lot has happened in the past 5 years). To help, go to the Google Doc version of the glossary, where you’re encouraged to comment on entries you’d like to update, and add new entry suggestions at the end.

And we’re also continuing last week’s call to action, if you’re up for sharing your story of how you got involved with Hacks/Hackers, simply reply to this email.

Have a great rest of your week!

Produced by Julia Haslanger, @JuliaJRH

Newsletter: Sept. 30, 2015

Last week Hacks/Hackers chapters around the world tackled a ton of great topics: developer newsroom culture, chat apps, experimental video approaches, interactive news web apps in Angular and so much more.

On a personal note, it was wonderful to meet some Hacks/Hackers organizers at the Online News Association conference in Los Angeles last week. I hope to find more chances to meet Hacks/Hackers organizers and members face-to-face. Y’all are a good group of folks.

This next week is shaping up to be another great one for Hacks/Hackers, so let’s dive in:

The week ahead for Hacks/Hackers:

Chapter spotlight: Hacks/Hackers London

On Thursday, a sold-out crowd of hacks and hackers gathered at Twitter’s UK offices. Read the tweets from the event to learn more about timesXtwo (a video collaboration from BBC and ABC), see how attendees played around with Firechat (a chat tool that has proven useful in protest situations – or when you want a backchannel to chatter in during a Hacks/Hackers event), and several intriguing lightning pitches. Another option: Check out these live notes taken by Sarah Marshall.

Worth a read:

Call to action:

What was your very first experience with Hacks/Hackers? Write up your memory (recent memory or not-so-recent, depending on how long you’ve participated in Hacks/Hackers) or dig up a photo and send it to me, or tweet it at @HacksHackers. I’ll collect some of the responses and include them in next week’s newsletter.

That’s all for now. See you next week!

Produced by Julia Haslanger
Say hi: @JuliaJRH

Newsletter: Sept. 23, 2015

Welcome to the new Hacks/Hackers weekly newsletter. This newsletter aims to be a service to you – a way for you to learn from and about what’s going on in the 75(!) Hacks/Hackers chapters around the world. The newsletter has four parts (for now – ’til you suggest others):
  • Chapter spotlight” gives you a quick window into the life of one chapter. If you’d like to nominate a chapter (or an exceptional organizer), let me (Julia Haslanger, the author of this newsletter) know.
  • The week ahead for Hacks/Hackers” is simply a list of Meetup events by the chapters and occasionally events that may be of interest to the larger network.
  • Worth a read” curates whatever is popular and/or of interest to the larger Hacks/Hackers network. To determine popularity, I’m using Vellum (from NYTLabs) and two Twitter lists – the Hacks/Hackers chapters and “the hacks and hackers“. If you notice yourself or your chapter missing from the lists, holler at @HacksHackers on Twitter.
  • Call to action” is your chance to get involved and help out. Each week, the call could be something as small as inviting one new person to a Hacks/Hackers event, or as big as joining a committee.
So, without further ado, here’s this week’s Hacks/Hackers newsletter:
Chapter spotlight: Hacks/Hackers Sydney (Australia)
The Sydney chapter just relaunched after being dormant since mid-2013. The chapter held an event on “Data Journalism and Investigations in Political Reporting,” which brought out a crowd. Check out the great tweets from the event.
Know a chapter or organizer up to something special that we should spotlight? Let me know.

The week ahead for Hacks/Hackers:

Worth a read:

Call to action:

Invite someone else to receive this Hacks/Hackers newsletter! They can sign up on the Hacks/Hackers site or at:

That’s all for now. See you next week!

Julia Haslanger
Social media and community manager, Hacks/Hackers

Sign up for Hacks/Hackers new newsletter

We’re launching a new newsletter as a way for you to learn from and about what’s going on in the more than 70(!) Hacks/Hackers chapters around the world. Each newsletter will include a list of upcoming events, a section spotlighting an interesting chapter or member, a few links about industry news or other popular topics, and a suggested call to action if you want to get more involved.

Sign up below, or at

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(Once you hit “Subscribe,” watch for a confirmation email and then you’re all set!)

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First ever global Hacks/Hackers conference call on Sept. 1

Greetings from Buenos Aires!

I’ve spent the last few days at the Media Party that Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires has put on for the fourth year in a row, bringing hundreds of people to be inspired, collaborate and hack together. It’s an amazing event that shows the potential of what we can do if we work together on a broader level.

With Hacks/Hackers organizers from around the world present, we held a workshop to talk about how we as the global Hacks/Hackers movement can collaborate more across geographic boundaries. One clear thing that came out from the discussion was a need for more transparency at all levels of the organization. That led to a proposal for a regular conference call for Hacks/Hackers organizers and members to share what’s we’re all doing and talk about where we are going.

We’re planning to do these calls on the FIRST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH. I know it’s short notice, but we’re going ahead with the first call THIS TUESDAY, SEPT. 1 at 1500 GMT — which is:

0800 in San Francisco
1100 in New York
1200 in Buenos Aires
1700 in Johannesburg
2030 in New Delhi
2300 in Hong Kong

(It’s not easy to find a time that works across the world, but for now this is the best option.)

I’ll be sharing more details on the call-in number and agenda ahead of the call.

We look forward to hearing from you Tuesday and on future calls.

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Hacks/Hackers launches Connect series in Berlin

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About the Hacks/Hackers site

A few weeks ago, we launched an exciting initiative (in partnership with Google) to support media entrepreneurship, an event series we call Connect. As part of the launch, we decided to replace the main Hacks/Hackers site with an information and signup page for Connect.

At the time, that seemed to make sense. The old site was years out of date, filled with months-old content and daily traffic had fallen to the single-digits. It seemed logical to put the newest thing front-and-center while we figured out how to revamp the old site.

In retrospect, that wasn’t a good decision. We heard from a number of people in the community who expressed concern about the switch, wondering what happened to the old site. The site badly needs an overhaul and replacing the homepage was meant as a transitional step on the way to doing that. We should have made that more clear.

So today, we’re doing what we should have done in the first place and moving the Connect site to its own subdomain at, and restoring the old Hacks/Hackers site to the main domain.

We’d welcome any feedback and thoughts on how to make a new website that embodies the vibrancy of the Hacks/Hackers community. Email us at site [at]

-Aron Pilhofer, Burt Herman, Chrys Wu, Jenny 8. Lee and Rich Gordon

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Hacks/Hackers Austin: Tyler Fisher, NPR Visuals

Tyler Fisher of NPR Visuals joined us on Nov. 11 at the Statesman to talk about his team and their election coverage. Tyler is a recent graduate from Northwestern University with a major in Journalism. But Tyler has directed his career toward Web development and news applications.

In his talk, Tyler provided background on his team and the history of their election coverage. He provided a good dose of tech for the developers in the crowd, but handled the “how” and “why” questions for those who were interested in concepts and strategy. He discussed the strategy around creating a separate Chromecast application for elections, as well. His presentation can be found at

Tyler’s visit and snacks for this meetup were provided by Texas State University as part of the TexasMusicViz project that was funded by the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, funded by Online News Association, Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.

Stay tuned for our next event, the Austin Holiday Web Bash, where we’ll join up with other meetup groups across town. Thanks to everyone for attending.

Hacks/Hackers Austin: Google News

The Hacks/Hackers Austin chapter was pleased to host a meetup featuring Google News. On October 20, Stacie Chan, a community manager at Google News, dropped by the Statesman to discuss various tools that journalists and journalism students can use. She also talked about the role of the Google News platform and how publishers can participate. Chan was in town for Texas State University’s Mass Comm Week.