The Secrets to a Successful ‘Hacks-a-Thon’

We were there last month to watch the climax of io/LA’s second annual “Hollywood Hack Day.” This great coding meet-up concept is being repeated July 27-29 and, per a report this morning on the PBS MediaShift website by Investigative News Network (INN) editorial director Evelyn Larrubia, has also been co-opted for journalism purposes:

How do you get a group of journalists scattered around the country to coalesce around an idea? There are many different approaches, but one we’ve taken recently  is running story workshops at journalism conferences. We first tried this approach in April, at the Collab/Space event before the Logan Symposium at UC Berkeley.

Borrowing from recent computer developer “hack-a-thons,” we brought together experts and editors and reporters from member newsrooms to discuss ideas. The goal was to walk out with a defined story project and a defined deadline.

Larrubia goes on to itemize the keys to a successful “hacks-a-thon” (our term, not hers). In her final point, she says that once back in Los Angeles, INN alerted the rest of its membership to the collaborative project, resulting in the gift of access to a related Center for Investigative Reporting app. Read her full article here.