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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.
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 The old site was years out of date, filled with months-old content and daily traffic had fallen to the single-digits.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.
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 http://tylerjfisher.com/elections14-slides.
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.
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.
More than 150 hacks and hackers gathered Wednesday at Twitter’s main headquarters in San Franciscoto hear the company’s Data Editor Simon Rogers talk about data’s increasingly important role in journalism and how Twitter makes sense of the hundreds of millions of tweets passing through its platform every day.
From mapping the patterns of disadvantage that contributed to the UK riots, to data visualizations of Oscars tweets, Rogers helped demystify the collection strategies and tools required for top-class data analysis and visualization.
His colleague, data visualization scientist Krist Wongsuphasawat followed with more explanation of the data science behind beautiful dataviz, including an animation of the world’s reaction to goals in the World Cup this year.
Below is a Storify story contributed by Lyndal Cairns with presentations, images and quotes from the event:
While we were organizing the latest Media Party, the media gathering that we created three years ago, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires became the world’s largest chapter of the Hacks/Hackers network. With over 3800 members, about 40 events in three years and a strong community of volunteers, we beat New York, London, San Francisco, and many other chapters. #Hhba has had a big impact on media, civil society organizations, the government, the startup and the developer community. How did we do it? There is a number of possible explanations, but the most interesting one is the “Maradona theory.”
During the ‘86 World Cup, Diego Maradona made -against England- the two most memorable goals in the history of soccer, at least for Argentina. Let’s start with the perfect goal, the second one: Maradona faces five players from the center of the soccer field, and instead of going sideways, he ran in a straight line. How can someone get rid of five opponents if he runs toward them? Simply: Maradona played keeping in mind other people’s expectations. As his rivals expected him to move to the left or the right, he could keep moving directly toward the opponents’ goal post. Of course, he was Maradona.
Later on, that play was used in economics theory, and by writing this post we are applying it to community-generation theory. In 2005, Mervyn King from the Bank of England used Maradona’s incredible moves to explain the behavior of market expectations and interest rates control without official intervention.
The truth is that we weren’t thinking of Maradona when we created Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires in April 2011 and got together around 120 people in a couple of weeks, neither when we started to plan the future of the network. But part of the “Maradona theory” has to do with the growth of this network that brings together journalists and technologists around the world to accelerate innovation and reached its peak in Buenos Aires. We built Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires always moving forward, focused on clear objectives, issues and actions; playing with other people’s expectations: unexpectedly, we always jumped to the center.
When many expected us to be only a networking organization we became productive, creating apps and technology; when we became very productive (we had too many hackathons at times), we decided to return to networking; when we got bored of hackathons and networking we started organizing workshops. Neither journalists nor programmers or designers: we created links in between, focusing efforts in solving technology problems, rather than on specific topics; and we showed the benefits of working together in a highly competitive environment.
And as Maradona’s first goal against England, when nobody expected it, the Media Party happened. Here is where the historical goal by the “hand of God” ties into the story: in the same match against England, Maradona jumped over the goalkeeper, it looked like he was going to do a head hit but ended up pushing the ball with his little left hand that seemed to appear from nowhere. He beats Peter Shilton, the English goalkeeper, who jumped with both hands forward. “’Maradona’s hand of God’ goal [can be compared] to central banks’ old philosophy of ‘mystery and mystique.’ His action was unexpected, out of context and against the rules. He was lucky to get away with it,” said the director of the Bank of England Mervyn King.
The Media Party is to Hacks/Hackers what Maradona’s hand goal is to the English: an unexpected event, out of context and against the then-established rules of the Latin America media circuit. It was not cheating; it was smartness.
Each Media Party allowed us to increase in hundreds the number of members who remain engaged in a continuous loop of innovation. We put Buenos Aires on the global media map, and many are still scratching their heads trying to understand how all of this became possible.
On July 28, Jewel Loree, senior data analyst for Tableau, demonstrated the new Tableau for Mac. Tableau continues to make their tools more accessible and available, so that all journalists can add data visualization to their storytelling. Participants were able to check out new features and ask questions.
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Survival Glossary for Digital Journalists
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