Browsing articles in "2012"

2012 ‘News Hackathon’ presented by Tropo winners

May 5, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  2 Comments

The second annual News Hackathon presented by Tropo held during BarCamp NewsInnovation had more than 40 participants, half of whom were developers and the rest were journalists. More coverage on Technically Philly.

They built mobile-focused tools that were aimed at informing underserved communities and were given prizes thanks to the generosity of the Center for Public Interest Journalism.


  • FIRST PLACE SMS add on: Text a Philadelphia or New Jersey address to 1-215-987-5377 and get nearby social services. It’s an add on by developer Adam Hinz to a previous hacakthon project. ($1,500 Visa gift card)
  • SECOND PLACE (tie): led by Philadelphia Gay News Editor Sarah Blazucki, with activist Faye Anderson, Comcast developer Mike Ball, Indy Hall’s Bula, Gabriel Farrell, Daniel Freiman, Casey Thomas and Code for America fellow Alex Yule, conveys how varied LGBT rights are by comparing by location. Visit it here. (Each team member received a $100+ Amazon gift card)
  • SECOND PLACE (tie): Switchboard: This mass survey tool was aimed at collecting information from taxi drivers but can have other application, says the original pitch from Bryan Mercer at the Media Mobilizing Project and Ron Blount of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania. The development team, which took on the hard work of building the thing, included Josh Marcus, and Bennet Huber of Azavea, Dan Feder and Bryan Purcell. Find the project GitHub here. (Each team member received a $100+ Amazon gift card)
  • Text Blast: The mass text-message information tool by Tim Wisniewski will help civic groups mobilize. Visit it here.
  • Money Talks: Focusing on the withering local campaign finance data from Our Philadelphia, journalists Tom Ferrick and Chris Brennan partnered with Comcast developer Karl Martino, Inquirer data visualization specialist Rob Kandell and Kristen Mosbrucker to collaborate on some data.
  • Councilmatic: The more flexible City Council legislation tool from Mjumbe Poe gained some ground.

2012 BarCamp NewsInnovation unconference big board: final schedule

May 2, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  No Comments

Here are the presentations from the 2012 BCNI!

Time Room 3 Room 4 Room 302 Room 304 Room 310
10 Mobile Basics @amygahran Pay for News @editorialiste Google+: Sourcing social analytics Somewheretown: replace the newspaper
11 Mobile & Community @amygahran New metrics @greglinch
12 Group session Group session Group session Group session Group session
1 Pulitzer-winning data package for Assault on Learning by Rose Ciotta Global/loocal pubs
Foster news discussions
‘Camtango:’ real-time crowdsourced photojournalism app 3 metrics that matter: workshop following a.m. session
2 A Star is Born Charge your news customers
@brianjameskirk @erikaowens @mkaiser
Tools for reporters
3 half-baked ways to fix the article
3 Moderninizing civic journalism @amyzquinn SEO 101 and 201 for journalists
Build a custom WordPress theme
Keith Collins
Optimizing a print mag online
4 History of Platform Lock-in @johnjoseph Whitespace online
Journalism education
WordPress Q&A
Keith Collins
PA Forward for libraries

Thanks for all the participation!

See the 2011 schedule here and 2010 here and 2009 here.

Why and how the Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon is being judged: $3,000 in prizes

Apr 21, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  No Comments

The Open Gov 'News' Hackathon presented by Tropo will be judged by, from left to right, City of Philadelphia developer Clinton Johnson, local Hacks/Hackers organizer Erika Owens, Code for America government relations director Mark Headd

We’re trying to better bring together the news and the innovation. Here’s another step.

The fine people at the Center for Public Interest Journalism, housed at Temple University, will be putting up $3,000 in prizes for the best mobile-focused projects that come out of the Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon presented by Tropo. Their interest is the impact mobile can have in underserved Philadelphia communities, where smartphone technology is proliferating more quickly than broadband.

What that means is, like any hackathon, come and build what inspires you, but there’s some incentive to get excited about a slice of that creative pie. Find some ideas here, but know that your ideas are definitely desired.

Our judges — Code for America government relations director Mark Headd, City of Philadelphia developer Clinton Johnson and local Hacks/Hackers organizer Erika Owens — will be using these topics for guidance in making their decision:

  • Progress on project — Teams only get a day, how much progress was made in that time? (1-3 points)
  • Impact of project — Is this a project that can have broad adoption, usage and utility? (1-3 points)
  • Relevance of project — How does this project fit into the open gov and informing communities spirit? (1-3 points)
  • Use of mobile — Prizes will be focused on projects that use the unique qualities of the mobile technology, and not just smartphone but also SMS and other tools (1-3 points)

The details on the prizes — likely a combination of cool swag, gift cards and toys — will depend on the number of participants and size of teams. Regardless, it’s another reason to dedicate your Saturday to something cool.

See the day’s schedule here and other hackathon details here.

Dan Schultz of TruthGoggles and Amy Gahran of 2012 attendee highlight

Apr 21, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  No Comments

Dan Schultz of TruthGoggles will be attending BCNI and hackathon.

Let’s get this straight, the more than 180 people registered for the fourth annual BarCamp NewsInnovation are really impressive.

See the list and register yourself here.

The group of attendees is always standout for an unconference on the future of news, and this year may reach another height. As we have in the past, we wanted to highlight a few first-time visitors, to share some of the people you ought to meet.

With the intersection of the BCNI unconference and the Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon, it made sense to share two stars coming down who will be involved in both.

Dan Schultz, Knight News Challenge finalist for TruthGoggles:

Schultz is a graduate student at that prestigious, creative and slightly crazy institution, the MIT Media Lab. His thesis project, Truth Goggles, is intended to be �a magical button. When pressed, it will tell you (an average person who just wants to know what is happening in this crazy world) what is true and what is false on the website you are viewing.�

OaklandLocal co-founders Susan Mernit and senior editor Amy Gahran, who will be at BCNI 2012

Amy Gahran, mobile blogger for and senior editor

I�m a journalist, catalyst, editor, mentor, trainer, speaker, project manager, community manager, coach, and semi-geek. (I don�t code, but I can assemble and work with tech teams, and help evaluate technologies for digital media projects.)

BCNI 2012 schedule

Apr 21, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  No Comments

Here is a more detailed rough schedule for the 2012 BarCamp NewsInnovation presented by the Center for Public Interest Journalism.

Throughout, we�ll be again encouraging BCNI attendees to be involved in the Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon in the TV Studio room.

  • 9 a.m.: Doors open at Annenberg Hall, Temple University, North Philadelphia
  • 9:30 a.m.: Welcome, coffee and bagels [Board opens]
  • 9:45 a.m.: Hackathon introduction with rules and timeline overview, including brief presentation from Amy Gahran on mobile impact for projects.
  • 10 a.m.-11 a.m.: Hackathon ideas and timing (those who want to get involved in both BCNI and the hackathon, should start with the hackathon now)
  • 10 a.m.-10:50 a.m.: First BCNI sessions
  • 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Hackathon building
  • 11 a.m.-11:50 a.m.: Second round of BCNI sessions
  • 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m.: Lunch, provided by the Temple University Journalism Department
  • 12:30 p.m.-12:35 p.m.: Introduction of lunchtime speaker by Center for Public Interest Journalism
  • 12:35 p.m. -1 p.m.: Crowdsourcing group session by Daniel Victor of ProPublica and remainder of lunch
  • 1:10 p.m.-2 p.m.: Third sessions
  • 2:10 p.m. -3 p.m.: Fourth sessions
  • 3 p.m.: Hackathon judges begin circulating
  • 3:10 p.m.-4 p.m.: Fifth sessions
  • 4:10 p.m. -5 p.m.: Sixth sessions
  • 4:30 p.m. -5 p.m.: Hackathon internal presentations for judges
  • 5:05 p.m. � 5:15 p.m.: Hackathon winner presentations to all attendees, acknowledging support by Tropo and the Center for Public Interest Journalism
  • 5:15 p.m.-5:20 p.m. Thanks and BCNI overview
  • 5:30 p.m. After party presented by the Center for Public Interest Journalism, at the Draught Horse like last year.

5 mobile-focused News Hackathon project ideas

Apr 13, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  4 Comments

Good hackathons usually start with good ideas. The early team formation process often makes or breaks a crush of programming fun, so we’ve gotten in the habit of bringing together some ideas before hand.

In two weeks, looking at the judges, the prizes, the fact that we’ll feed you and surround you with smart people, you really ought to RSVP. (Hackathon details here.)

The theme of this hackathon, which happens conterminously with the country’s largest news innovation unconference, is naturally around informing communities. We want people to be smarter about where they live, and in lower-income communities of Philadelphia, that often means a mobile-focus, as proliferation of such devices often outpaces broadband adoption.

And we have some ideas that fit that focus.


Experiences and Failures in Crowdsourcing: 2012 BCNI lunchtime group session with Daniel Victor of ProPublica

Apr 12, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  1 Comment

Building on the success of last year’s lunchtime shared session, where Zach Seward, then of the Wall Street Journal, spoke to all BarCamp NewsInnovation attendees, we’re doing it again.

Though it’s on the lips of every media agency, crowdsourcing is still an often under-utilized and poorly executed craft of news gathering. Fortunately, Daniel Victor, the social media editor of respected nonprofit, collaborative investigative newsroom ProPublica, has been down this road before.

So, after attendees grab lunch from 12pm-12:30pm, we’ll give Victor a mic, a screen and the audience of everyone we can fit in the atrium of Annenberg Hall, to go over what he’s learned for a half hour.

Victor has a lot of experience using the web to drive shared perspective, data-collection and other crowdsourced efforts. Before ProPublica, Victor worked with, the brief, grand experiment of TBD and the Harrisburg Patriot-News. He joined ProPublica last October. In all those roles, he’s had wins and losses with crowdsourcing.

Come out and learn something.

BCNI 2012 Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon presented by Tropo

Mar 1, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  2 Comments

Like last year, the BCNI un-conference will be running conterminously with a hackathon. This year, the work will be more focused: to help blossom creativity and leverage on-board talent.

So, you’re invited to the first Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon presented by Tropo, which will be dedicated to building tools that help inform communities. Register here, and learn why it’s $5 here.

WHAT: Open Gov ‘News’ Hackathon presented by Tropo, building tools that help inform communities

WHEN: Sat. April 28, 9:30 am (doors open at 9am with light breakfast) to 5:30pm, followed by a happy hour presented by the Center for Public Interest Journalism. (Same schedule as last year).

WHERE: Anenberg Hall, Temple University, 13th and Diamond streets, North Philadelphia

WHO: Coders, programmers, designers and subject-matter experts, in addition to journalists and others attending the BCNI un-conference, who will stop by with fresh perspective.

HOW: When the morning kicks off promptly at 10 a.m., we’ll have pitches crafted to get the most momentum behind our work, including likely ideas based in the latest data, those involving underserved Philadelphia communities and other creative ideas. Come with your own, as we’ll do brainstorming, but there will be no shortage of great work to be done.

WHY: We want to collaborate between technologists and journalists, and build experimental tools and ideas that could impact how Philadelphia better informs its communities.

EXAMPLE: Look no further than last year’s winning tool, which allows residents to find the ownership patterns in Philadelphia by searching name, rather than only specific address.

JUDGES: Our judges include Code for America government relations director Mark Headd, City of Philadelphia developer Clinton Johnson and local Hacks/Hackers organizer Erika Owens.

PRIZES: We’ll have an array of great prizes to be organized by the size and number of groups. We’ll also keep you fed and happy!

Why BarCamp NewsInnovation costs $5 in 2012

Jan 24, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  2 Comments

The first, biggest change to the fourth annual BarCamp NewsInnovation is that, for the first time, it isn’t free for everyone.

We are charging $5, though those with a valid student ID can still get in free.

Like other unconferences and high-quality eventin recent years, we’ve struggled to coordinate between estimates for attendance and those who actually come — complicating supplies, rooms, food and more. Many have found a nominal fee can often help attendance reflect RSVPs more closely or at least more consistently. That’s what we’re hoping.

It’s a small fee, and if that total will keep anyone from coming, we will happily make accommodations — just contact us. Whatever money comes from it will go to breakfast, lunch and the after-party. Come on, where else are you going to get a day’s worth of food, beer and news innovation conversations for what you got for allowance as a kid?

Feel free to let us know if you think we’re being fools!

BarCamp NewsInnovation 2012 to again bookmark Philly Tech Week

Jan 15, 2012   //   by Christopher Wink   //   2012, blog  //  No Comments

BarCamp NewsInnovation 2012 will, like last year, be among the closing events of Philly Tech Week, a region-wide celebration of technology and innovation.

See many of the other launch events here. The week takes place from April 23-28, in addition to a kickoff weekend of pre-events.

The details:

When: Sat. 4/27/13. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Doors open at 9 a.m.)
Then? After Party at Draught Horse
Where: Temple University, Annenberg Hall, 13th and Diamond streets
Cost: $5, free with valid student ID. REGISTER TODAY

The Archive

Thanks to our sponsors