Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Journalism rebooted in Buenos Aires

Sept. 10, 2012, 10:11 a.m., Posted by Mariano Blejman

Interactive news teams, data journalists and digital innovation thought leaders from all over the world gathered in Buenos Aires from Aug. 30 - Sept. 1 to reinvent journalism. The event was sponsored in part by Knight Foundation. Below, one of its organizers, Mariano Blejman, blogs the highlights.

Around 700 people attended the three-day Hacks/Hackers BA Media Party, at Ciudad Cultural Konex, averaging around 400 participants per day. The largest gathering of journalists, editors, designers and software developers in Latin America brought together people from the interactive teams of The New York Times, The Guardian, and ProPublica, plus 20 international speakers from three continents and various countries in the region, including Colombia, Chile, Perú, Uruguay, Brasil and Guatemala, and digital editors from all of the largest Argentine media organizations.

The first two days involved 23 parallel workshops and the third day was a huge hackathon, where 250 people worked on eight projects. The Media Party was the largest event in the history of Hacks/Hackers at the global level, and captured the attention of the local and international press. Also at the event, Daniel Sinker officially announced a new round of Knight-Mozilla Open News Code Sprint Grants that will offer up to $10,000 for projects related to innovation in journalism. The event’s website: http://mediaparty.hhba.info

Among participants were members of the interactive news team at The Guardian (Alastair Dant, Mariana Santos, Alex Graul and Nicola Hughs), who gave a keynote and a workshop on interactive news; Tyson Evans of The New York Times; Justin Arenstein, media strategist and consultant for Google and ICFJ; and Dan Sinker, director of the program Knight Mozilla Open News. Workshops were also given by Al Shaw (ProPublica), Thomas Levine (ScraperWiki), Jonathan Stray (Overview), Karen Reilly (Tor), James C Burns (Zeega), Rob Baker (Ushahidi) and Douglas Arellanes (Sourcefabric), who also gave support to the HHBA Media Party website, together with local projects. Furthermore, we kicked off the Data Journalism Handbook for Latin America, proposed by Poderopedia, and presented a preview of CryptoPeriodismo, Pablo Mancini's book. Additional attendees included Knight Fellows Gustavo Faleiros from Brasil, Sandra Crucianelli from Argentina, Ronnie Lovler from Colombia and Miguel Paz from Poderopedia, plus dozens of regional groups. Editors, journalists, entrepreneurs, programmers and designers came from Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Perú, Uruguay and more. Among local projects presented in the Media Fair were Atlas Electoral, Chequeado, Mapa76, Comenta.TV, DocuMedia, Educabilia, FOPEA, La Nación Data, Poderopedia, Tuiter, The Real Time, Viflux, ShowTimeLine! and Zauber.

Projects that were conceived of or developed during the hackathon, a collaborative working day between journalists and programmers, will be specially considered by the Knight Prototype Fund program, which provides grants of up to $50,000 for media innovation.

The Media Party was organized by Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, the largest Hacks/Hackers community in South America and the second largest in the world after New York (in quantity of members) The Buenos Aires chapter surpasses chapters in San Francisco, London and Boston. Hacks/Hackers is a space for exchange between journalists and programmers to collaborate on constructing the future of news. It is the best meeting place in the world to build relationships and collaborate on products, services and ideals between journalists and technologists. It was created by Burt Herman (Storify), Rich Gordon (Stanford) and Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times.

The event also included a visit by the LibreBus ConoSur, a project being run in collaboration with Creative Commons and Mozilla, which involves a bus of activists traveling through Latin America to share ideas surrounding free culture and free software.

Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires has a base of more than 1650 editors, developers and designers, and continues to grow (1020 active members in august). Since April 2011, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires has held 17 conferences, hackathons and meetings, while simultaneously running dozens of projects and other ventures related to communication and technology. The organizing team is made up of Mariano Blejman, Martín Sarsale, César Miquel, Guillermo Movia, Mariana Berruezo, Andrés Snitcofsky, Sergio Sorín and Ezequiel Clerici, among many others.

The event was sponsored by Knight Foundation, Knight-Mozilla Open News, Mozilla Foundation, International Center For Journalists, Globant, Fundación Desarrollar Argentina, Página/12, Wayra, Vurbia Technologies, Sourcefabric, Knight Intl Journalism Fellowship, USLA -Usuarios de Software Libre, Eter, Fopea, TEA Imagen and NxtpLabs.

Contact: ba@hackshackers.com