What is BCNI?

Barcamp News Innovation organized by Technically Media and presented by the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University is an annual, one-day national unconference on journalism innovation and the future of news as explored by practitioners and friends.

The event uses the Barcamp open-grid format where the attendees will set the schedule. In the main lobby of Temple University’s Annenberg Hall at 13th and Diamond streets, there will be a large schedule board full of blank index cards. The day’s schedule will be filled by attendees who invent their own sessions the day of the event. Simultaneously, hackers, coders and designers will be working to use data to create tools for journalists and citizens to make government services more efficient and transparent.

Some of the most interesting minds around will discuss new ideas on how to re-energize and innovate the news industry. This is NOT a journalists-only event! Invite any friends from various industries who are concerned about the future of news, information and dissemination. Even your friend who complains about the biased media. Especially that guy. There will be representatives from news organizations all over the country.

The event is $15 (free with a valid student ID) and will be hosted at Annenberg Hall on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. Doors will open at 9 a.m. and the presentations will start at 10 a.m. After an hour break for lunch at 12 p.m., the last presentations will start at 4 p.m.

Who is behind this?

BCNI Philly is organized by niche media company Technically Media, best known for local tech news site Technical.ly and social impact community site Generocity.org. The founders of Technically Media first organized the event in April 2009. Our friends at the Temple University Department of Journalism also help organize BCNI through support and guidance.

That said, this is all about collaboration so let us know how you want to get involved.

Do I have to present?

Nope, but you do have to participate. Get involved in discussions and shake hands with your fellow journalism junkies. Though, the easiest way to meet new people is to present.

What should I present on?

The only criteria is that your presentation involves journalism, news or otherwise informing communities. Show off something cool you are working on, propose a new idea or theory or simply have a roundtable about a topic that is on your mind. See a list of topics from 2009 and 2010, and 2011 and 2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 for inspiration.

The best presentations give those in attendance, actionable take aways and ideas to use (and allows those in the audience engage, discuss or participate). They often foster meaningful exchange. Editorial innovation is important, but so is the sustainability of news and information.

If you are going to present, be sure to bring a flash drive of your presentation, and back it up on Google Docs to be safe. Then assume there will be a nuclear apocalypse and know how to wow us even if we’re stuck in a bunker with no electricity.

What to expect:

Doors will open at 9 a.m. and there will be hour to grab some coffee and meet your new best friends. There will be a blank presentation board and a stack of post-it notes. Write down your topic and post it in the time slot of your choice. Be sure to get there early to get the time slot you want.

At 10 a.m. presentations will begin in Annenberg Hall. Each classroom has a projector and computer, some have more than a dozen machines. The presentations will continue until 12 p.m. when we will break for lunch. In 2012, we started the tradition of holding a lunchtime keynote. 2015’s keynote speaker was Lauren Rabaino, Director of Editorial Products at Vox Media.

To get a feel for the schedule, check out the details of the 2015 event.

Keynote Speakers:

  • 2011: Intelligence from Social Media Analytics by Zach Seward of Wall Street Journal
  • 2012: Experiences and Failures in Crowdsourcing by Daniel Victor of ProPublica
  • 2013: Homepage Moderation and Engagement by Emily McManus of TED.com
  • 2014: Reader Support and Reporting Methods by Amanda Zamora of ProPublica
  • 2015: Editorial Product Development by Lauren Rabaino of Vox Media

Who is coming?

In past years, BCNI Philly saw attendees from all corners of countries and in numerous professions.

Representatives from the New York Times, the Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post rubbed elbows with folks from ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Publish 2, BeatBlogging.org and other startups and other industry representatives from places like Mozilla, the Knight Foundation, Comcast and others. There were also a healthy mix of programmers, designers, developers and students.