News Hackathon pre-brainstorming


More than 30 journalists and technologists came together in the new Inquirer newsroom today for an introduction to and brainstorming for the BCNI News Hackathon. See our event working document here.

The event, hosted by Interstate General Media and sponsored by the Center for Public Interest Journalism, included the highlight of a handful of hackathon projects that have continued to have success and then the sharing of ideas of data sets and projects reporters would like to see created next month.

The Knight-Mozilla Open News project also supported the time for organizing the event by sponsoring BCNI.

Projects Highlighted:

  • which was a second-place project at last year’s BCNI hackathon and was brainstormed at last year’s pre-hackathon session.
  • which won the 2011 hackathon and was the result of a suggestion by reporter Patrick Kerkstra and the work of Tim Wisniewski.
  • PhillySchools.Info was created by Chris Brown, Adam Hinz, Bennett Huber and Sean Goggins during the TechCamp hackathon last month.
  • by Andrew McGill has caught attention and grown as a hobby project.

Hackathon Ideas:

  • localized version of Poligraft from Sunlight Foundation
  • Historical Commission released historic registry // visualize w/ tax delinquency (what is most at danger?)
  • local block level Census visualizing
  • Rental licensure locations compared w/ crime/or other mashup
  • restaurant inspections (lack of standardized)
  • Create stronger data source with new Sheriff’s Sale .CSV data

Desired Data Sets

  • Improved data of city political contributions
  • Philly business license list, locations, zip code growth
  • stronger grouped list of data reporters want (build on nominate)
  • Contextual/curation/visualization of existing data sets (tools)
  • Eminent domain records (digital format)
  • utility, wage, etc. tax delinquency — beyond property tax
  • parking authority violations by location
  • Look at Recorder of Deeds (Philadocs, but costly)
  • hospital data by treatments



  • Lizz Fiedler — WHYY
  • Frank Kummer —
  • Matt Golas — PlanPhilly
  • Emaleigh Doley — Next City
  • Isaiah Thompson — Axis Philly
  • Casey Thomas — Axis Philly
  • Pam Selle — Axis Philly
  • Chris Brown
  • Josh Cornfield — Daily News
  • John Mooney
  • Bob Warner — Inquirer
  • Marie McCullough — Inquirer
  • Ben Turk Tolub -, Product Manager, Sports
  • Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman — Trenton Times
  • Patrick Kerkstra — Phillymag, PlanPhilly, freelance
  • Erika Owens — Knight-Mozilla Open News
  • John Armstrong - Project Liberty Digital Incubator and Drexel Co-Op
  • Mike Armstrong - The Business Desk, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Amanda Baker -, Executive Producer, Health
  • Stirling Chen — Inquirer designer
  • Rose Ciotta - Local News, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Josh Cornfield - Editor
  • Perri Duncan —
  • Mike Lorenca - Interstate General Media Chief Operating Officer
  • Bob McGovern -, Executive Producer, News
  • Lexie Norcross - Director, Interstate General Media; Vice President,
  • Nancy Phillips - Interstate General Media, Assistant to the Publisher
  • Devin Ringwool - Project Liberty Digital Incubator and Drexel Co-Op

About Christopher Wink

Christopher Wink is the co-founder of publishing consultancy firm Technically Media and its technology news site Technically Philly.

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