These are the proposed sessions for SRCCON 2016. We are currently reviewing this list and will be publishing the list of accepted sessions prior to our ticket lottery opening on May 18.
Proposed by Blaine Cook
I love that SRCCON proposals are open to the public, because with just 1 hour to go before the deadline, I can see that the elephant in the room is money (try searches for "pay", "advert", "money") - there are virtually no talks about how this community can move beyond the terrible display ad optimization, paywalls and grants that many of us depend on for our income. More than that, can (and how) do we make independent journalism, the kind that doesn't thrive on ad impressions, work as a sustainable living, too? Models for money and payments have changed dramatically over the past few years - Spotify, Kickstarter, Patreon, etc., but few of these have made a real impact in the newsroom. Let's think cooperatively, and see what creative approaches the SRCCON community (i.e., not just biz-dev) has up their collective sleeves.
Proposed by John Muyskens
Let's talk about the all-important bit of the development process that happens between the spark of an idea and writing the first line of code. A well-honed bootstrapping workflow to create a new project from scratch can save the day in a breaking news situation. But how you start your project can make all the difference whether the deadline is hours or weeks away. Your workflow can not only save you time, but also encourage best practices, ease collaboration and keep you sane. We will describe and compare project scaffolding tools, news app templates and web development workflows. We will discuss how to make appropriate technical decisions for your team and project scope. And we will brainstorm features we wish our workflows had. Do you clone or scaffold? How do you manage technical debt and feature-creep? How do you prepare for the future? Let's share our best ideas for setting up our projects to succeed from the very start.
Proposed by Arjuna Soriano
As a SRCCON attendee you are probably working in journalism and technology, fields that are fueling some of the most significant changes in children's lives today. As journalists and nerds, we are generally thoughtful about most things in our lives, but parenting comes so hard and so fast that it is easy to live in the moment and not create an ethos by which to parent. I am personally very granola and severely limit the amount of media and technology in my children's lives, but I don't think that this is the only way to raise children. Let's build a community of parents working in journalism and technology and learn from each other's shared experiences.
Proposed by Jigyasa Grover
Open source projects can attract more people to contribute to them. The numbers are not that good. According to a survey, only 11% of open source participants are women. This can be improved. People find it intimidating to get started with contributing to open source. Why? This talk will back them up by answering questions, throwing light on the issues that they usually have. The talk aims at introducing the audience to the world f FOSS and elaborate the vast range of opportunities ranging from coding to documentation, design, outreach and research. The speaker shall converse her involvement and experience in FOSS and its impact. A special emphasis shall be on the dearth of women in technology. It aspires to inspire budding girl developers and showcase women who’ve made significant contributions to technology.
Proposed by Kavya Sukumar
So you or your team is working on an open source project. But is it really open source or just publicly available source? What are the hallmarks of a great open source project? How can a small news-dev team juggling multiple projects build products that don't impose your internal branding and assumptions on users outside? Come share tips, tricks and learnings from building and maintaining open source tools and products.
Proposed by David Yee
Faced with the drive to program to remote partners, apps, and corporate-owned-and-operated chat platforms, we find ourselves rolling the dice on a future that seems to call for a referendum on The Web. As the tools we use for storytelling become not just more diverse but more constrained by the spectre of Terms Of Service, can we hedge our bets? Or to put it a different way, does our work to serve both third-party platforms and the websites that serve as our foundations actually constitute a zero-sum game? This session proposes that, by stepping back, we can imagine a workflow and toolset that serves both needs—and, by extension, newsrooms—even better than the current generation of content management systems. In order to investigate this approach, we will ask three questions: 1. Rather than abandon the benefits that the web affords us as a structure, how can we carry with us the ethos and process of the web as we negotiate these new platforms? 2. Can our industry call upon a history of standards and protocols to avoid partner lock-in? 3. Should our tools pivot from a focus on authorship to one of reportage and remixing, allowing us to use new platforms in focused ways without losing control over the source material? What if the web is the best idea? How can we retain the imperatives of the web as we serve the future of storytelling, and what are the kinds of tools and standards we can rally around to preserve that context while allowing us to experiment in other people's walled gardens?
Proposed by David Yee
New tools for storytelling surface new questions of ethics that we as journalists and product practitioners must confront head-on. Immersive and interactive environments—as represented by VR and chat, respectively—change the context of reporting in critical human and cultural ways. What are the psychological implications of immersive journalism? How do cultural mores about conversation inform our work with bots? We will explore: - the history of simulation in reporting - the boundaries between effective virtual storytelling and inadvertent manipulation - cultural lessons in machine-mediated conversation, and - our responsibility to readers as they become interlocutors. In exploring the edges of these new contexts for reporting, we hope to identify dangerous stretches of the road ahead and focus our initial efforts in new spaces in thoughtful and responsible ways.
Proposed by David Yee
As processor cycles plummet in price and open-source tools for machine learning become more accessible and sophisticated, it becomes reasonable to consider the role of machine learning in newsrooms and content management systems. We are intimately familiar with the ways in which recommendation engines can help us recirculate and identify similar content to our readers; but once we set that aside, what are the ways in which pattern detection can help journalists actually do their work? Using existing models for topic detection, natural language processing, and both supervised and unsupervised learning, we will investigate the boundaries of what reporters and machines do exceedingly well—all the while keeping a close eye on the singularity. How can machine learning best serve as an exoskeleton for the journalists as they gather and report the news? What are the tools we can build to surface signal where we need it the most?
Proposed by Arjuna Soriano
At Marketplace we try to make every piece of audio, chart and interactive media embeddable. STEAL OUR STUFF! A soon to be published project creating charts for the 20th anniversary of welfare reform is our first big push to let others know that they can and should steal our stuff. Let’s take a look at the opportunities, the constraints and examples of what has worked and what has not.
Proposed by Jacob Quinn Sanders
It sticks with you. An exercise, an anecdote, a teacher, a colleague. They had a way of explaining, of teaching, something fundamental that years later you can't get out of your head. That in turn you use to teach, to illustrate, to explain the basics. One of my favorites -- one I think of to this day -- involved the making of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a way of forcing attention to detail. Let's make these a more pervasive part of journalism's oral history. Let's share those exercises and tell those stories. Let's pass them on. Hell. We might act them out. (There might even be sandwiches.)
Proposed by Joe Fox
It's crunch time and you're in over your head on a project. You need to find a way to get it done and make it something you can be proud of. We'll talk about what to do when you feel a project might be slipping away — how to tell when you need help, how to get it and other strategies to make sure you can meet your deadlines without giving up on important pieces of the project. Your mental health matters, too — we'll discuss ways to stay sane when things get stressful.
Proposed by Joanna S. Kao and and Possibly Larry Goldberg or Brian Foo
Readers are increasingly interacting with news content from a variety of locations, environments and levels of ability. As a result, news organizations need to think about creating platforms and stories that readers can access in as many ways as possible. This session will discuss best practices for web accessibility, graphics, closed captioning, and social media and facilitate a discussion about what news organizations are doing and how we can improve as an industry.
Proposed by Casey Miller
No matter where you work, how old you are, or what your specific job title is, certain tasks can be rather daunting. The thought of asserting an opinion may seem horrifying. Asking for help - terrifying. And pitching an idea… well, that can be rather intimidating to say the least. I have experienced all of these feelings at some point. But I’ve also learned that it doesn’t have have to feel that way. Team dynamics, when positive, can play a huge part in making members feel included and heard. This plays an especially large roll when teams are split between multiple locations and/or include remote team members. Shared experiences and knowledge of each other’s lives can go a long way in helping teammates to become comfortable among one another. I have a couple of ideas about how to facilitate these kinds of relationships based on experiences within my own team, but I’m sure there are many, many more out there. I’d love to tell you about what has worked for my team and also for us to discuss other activities that have worked toward (or against) facilitating this kind of team dynamic.
Proposed by Heather Billings
You know something worth sharing, whether you know it or not. This session will be focused on demystifying how to share your knowledge with others — and on helping you figure out what the heck you know in the first place. If you've ever felt like you wanted to pitch an idea for a talk at a conference (like this one!), but you weren't sure what to pitch, this is the session for you.
Plenty of datasets are put out on a set schedule. How do we keep track of these? There are economic calendars for things like inflation and the employment rate on Bloomberg and Factset machines, but these are designed with financial professionals in mind, not journalists. Let’s make a collaborative data release calendar for the newsroom. What would it look like in contrast to existing tools? Can we do better than a planner file? What information would we want to include? How could it help us stay on top of newsworthy data releases, as well as discover new stories to tell?
Usually, collaboration, especially in a small newsroom, looks a bit like this: Person A slogs in the trenches solo, cleans data, analyzes, comes up with an insight, writes a draft, sends to Person B. Person B realizes Person A likely made an error in the cleaning, tears apart draft, comes up with new insight. Person A goes back to square one, finds their error, redoes everything and sends it back. Person B questions their own judgement and sends the draft to Person C. Person C finds more errors Person B noticed but decided not to raise considering the hell they’d already put Person A through. Newsroom dissolves in a panic as Persons A, B and C all realize that this is going in next month’s issue so they’d better find, fix and spruce up these errors and fast. In a slightly better world, Person A notices their error, asks Person B for help, Person B drops everything they’re doing, helps find the error in 100 lines of code and correct it, tries to explain what they did, and then, if they’re lucky, return to the work they were doing before. But again, newsroom panic is likely. We think pair programming might be a way to short-circuit this cycle of agony and provide ways for small clusters of reporters to work together more effectively. For example, if Person A and Person B worked in tandem instead on projects like data cleaning, but also like writing, audio editing and page-designing, and helped catch errors early. That saves time and energy. We also think it could be a way to help build reusable skills in micro-newsrooms where multipurpose projects are a necessity. So instead of Person B simply correcting the error, they can correct the error in tandem with Person A so Person A can now fix that problem for themselves. We don’t know for sure this will work but we want to try to out different models of collaboration. In essence, we’d like to run an experiment on a group of SRCCON attendees: Can pair programming and other forms of collaboration drawn from outside the journalism field help resolve some of our own intractable problems? Here’s what we imagine the session looking like: Intro discussion on what pair programming is, why people do it, what makes pairing different from other forms of collaboration (10 min) Pairing activity - Attendees will split into pairs, pick a non-programming task (analyzing a data set, writing a script, editing audio, etc.) and use pair programming techniques to complete that task (25 min) Groups share their experiences (5 min) Discussion - What other types of process from programming can we adopt in the newsroom? (10 min)
Proposed by Soumya Jain
As news producers and disseminators, we have a lot of information to share through multiple distribution platforms. As a consumer, we have so many sources to absorb this information from. Still there is a huge disconnect on both sides resulting in a broken experience. With a billion track points provided from all ends - how can we leverage data to be alluring for actionable insights and a better experience?
The wave of digital media startups and projects, and the rapid growth of the coder-journalist community, has brought new career opportunities to a floundering industry and attracted people with a wider range of skillsets and interests than ever before. However, many of those opportunities are clustered on the coasts and in major cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. (See this article by Josh Beton for a great exploration of the problem: http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/03/the-game-of-concentration-the-internet-is-pushing-the-american-news-business-to-new-york-and-the-coasts/.) But there are a couple of major problems with this: (1) Journalists who don’t want to move to the coasts are forced to choose between living somewhere they love and advancing their career; (2) It sucks talent away from communities across the country who could benefit from coder journalists. So much vital data exists at the local level (examples: fossil fuel production, education performance, heroin use, political spending). The ability to analyze it locally is crucial to communities, who need information about their particular area -- not just national-level information. In this session, we’ll start with a group-wide discussion identifying some of the challenges involved in coding off the coasts (attracting talent, mentorship and skill building, avoiding brain drain, assuring that there are desirable career paths for people who want to be coder journalists but don’t want to move to New York). Then, we might break out into smaller groups who can discuss each of those problems and brainstorm some potential (actionable) solutions.
Proposed by Aram Zucker-Scharff
Adblockers, malware, load times. How can we break the cycle of bad business and worse code sinking journalism? Advertising technology is unavoidably part of our sites and stories. Right now it slows our output; damages our relationship with readers; and is failing even to fund most of our efforts. Without collaboration to create better tools and processes we are failing. Newsrooms, sales floors and tech teams must come together to repair our relationship with users and advertisers or find ourselves without the resources to continue. The session would focus on starting the multi-team conversations we aren't having. How can we work together to earn and keep the trust and attention of our readers? How can our organizations collaborate to build better, more open, and more trustworthy alternatives to malware-infested inaccurate ad tech? What would that look like and what data could we comfortably provide advertisers so we can better manage expectations? What are the conversations we should be having, the tools we should be building, with our sales departments?
You’ve read about messaging apps and the rise of AI-driven conversational news interfaces — but what’s really effective for a news bot and what’s just a tedious iteration of Choose Your Own Adventure, or Excel Macros, or if-this-then-that statements by another name? Millie and SMI spent the last year thinking about what makes a news app sound like a smart interesting friend. In this session we’ll workshop how to ensure your news bots don't get stuck in a boring valley of uncanny.
Proposed by Jacob Quinn Sanders
Some of us in our business no longer fit into either feral-cat trap: no longer purely journalists of traditional skill, not brilliant technologists. We were the local government reporters. The cops reporters. The assistant city editors. And then we learned to code. Probably badly. Probably recently. We know more than enough to be dangerous and we keep learning all the time -- but where to put us? How to include us? How to value us? How to manage us and our ambitions? How to encourage us -- and when to rein us in? This would be a frank discussion for the benefit of those who still feel caught between two skill sets in an environment that often still sees those sets as separate, those who manage them, those who teach them, and those who work alongside them.
Proposed by Evie Liu
As technology and our capacity grows, data projects become more and more ambitious. We scrape millions of rows and present readers a whole universe of information with one news app or interactive page. But is it always the more the merrier? When we throw this much unprocessed information at readers, do they all have the ability to sift through it and find the "nut graph" of the story? Or is nut graph even a necessary part of news these days with all the big data available to explore? The line between news and academic research has blurred more and more since we started catching up with their toolbox. How to distinguish ourselves from a think tank or an academic institution and not to bore our readers with too much information and numbers is the question everyone in the news industry should ask themselves. "Less is more" should not only be applied to writing, but for data reporting as well. In this session, let's discuss successful and not so successful examples of "too much data", think about when is it time to give up the desire of "show them all", how to trim down information effectively to create a truly enjoyable experience for readers, and hopefully come up with a draft of guidelines for future practices.
Proposed by Tyler Fisher
Pageviews suck. They tell you nothing about how your audience engages with your content. They should not be your baseline measurement for success. But before you move on from the pageview, you have to define success. This session will help you define success for you, your team and your organization. From there, we can think about better metrics that will allow you to measure your success. Rather than dream of new tools, we will talk about how existing tools like Google Analytics can help you with measurement. We will also discuss techniques for effectively communicating learnings from analytical measurement to the rest of your newsroom and beyond.
Proposed by Sonya Song
A 24-hour news culture has been holding breaking news dear since its inception. Based on the long-standing tradition of competitive journalism, being the first one to break a story is both intended and appreciated among journalists. However, what happens after breaking news is published isn’t widely discussed. This talk will fill in this gap by answering the following questions: 1) Is it beneficial to break a story as an absolutely first one? 2) Where do people get breaking news during major events? 3) How do search and social serve different roles in bringing traffic to various breaking stories?
Audience development has become a hot, new buzzword inside nearly every news organization across the country. Everyone, it seems, is clamoring to hire an audience team. But what exactly is audience development? How do you find these magical creatures? What do they do? And can they really help connect your journalism with more people? The simple answer is yes. If you do it right. FRONTLINE has had an audience development team for four years, and it has been transformative. We’ve learned that when our editorial and audience teams work side by side, hand in hand we CAN make magic together. We've seen double and triple digit growth across multiple platforms. But the process isn’t always easy, pretty or comfortable. In this session we’ll have an open and honest conversation about our lessons learned. We’ll share stories of success and failures. And we’ll offer practical advice and tips for people who work in traditional newsrooms -- and for traditional bosses uncomfortable with thinking about audience. We’d also open it up to the room to hear more about how other newsrooms are approaching this.
Proposed by Greg Linch
“If [people] were able to be convinced that art is precise advance knowledge of how to cope with the psychic and social consequences of the next technology, would they all become artists?” Marshall McLuhan wrote in Understanding Media. Should we all become artists? I seriously thought about it last year. Here’s why: Whether we use text, images, graphics or code to tell stories, we deal with symbols, images, abstractions and interpretations every day. Journalism’s history is basically one of integrating new disciplines, techniques and technologies to more effectively tell stories. Lately, and especially for the data/tech community in news, that’s involved stats, social science, computer science and other quantitative- or science-oriented fields. Although we should continue to do this vigorously, we equally need to embrace the arts. And not just from a visual or design standpoint, but the ideas that underlie and advance art. In doing this, we can also see how seemingly disparate things correspond: cubism and physics, concrete poetry and GUIs, conceptual art and algorithms. We’ll explore these and other ways the analog humanities can help us think about digital media from technical and humanistic perspectives -- going everywhere from abstraction and to Afrofuturism.
Proposed by Sonja Marziano
Too often residents are not included in the process of building websites and tools that were created for them. The Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup) is a community of over 1,400 residents in Chicago and all of Cook County who are paid to test websites and apps and help create better technology. As a flagship program of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, the CUTGroup establishes sustained, meaningful collaboration with residents around data and technology. In this session, I will share lessons learned from building a program that is at the intersection of growing and engaging a community of residents while also helping developers build better tools. We will explore what questions to ask about the tools you are creating, how to include the right audience in usability testing, and how to get actionable feedback.
Mobile devices gather information about us as we go about our days by default, and we often voluntarily grant access to additional information in exchange for access to apps and services. News organizations could be taking better advantage of what mobile devices track, delivering better news experiences by taking into account time of day and a user’s location and personal preferences. But how much information are users willing to give up about themselves? And where should we draw the line between offering valuable experiences and being overly invasive? This workshop will prompt thinking about questions around privacy and mobile use, casting participants in the role of users (which we all are, anyway) and asking them to consider: What personal information would you be willing to give up for the sake of a news-focused digital service, and why? We’ll discuss the range of permissions that mobile developers have access to, and debate when and how they might be used to deliver better experiences. At the end the session we’ll have considered as a group the ways users may want to limit the personal data they share, and also what kinds of convenience or customization in news experiences on mobile would make the exchange of personal information more palatable.
Proposed by Tyler Machado
For orgs that build (or want to build) news apps/interactives without a proper team dedicated to building them: What roles do you enlist for an ad hoc crew? How do you find the best person for each role? What is each person responsible for? How do you communicate across different departments and office micro-climates? How does each person balance this work with their "regular" intra-department work? Who, if anyone, manages this amorphous wandering band of nerds? I have many questions. Hair metal jokes optional.
The boons of publishing large, searchable databases are easy to grasp — with the right dataset, they can be major sources of traffic. It's easy to talk about the technical challenges of creating and maintaining these apps, and it's easy to argue for their existence in favor of openness — but what about the ethical challenges? There is much we've collectively learned over the course of nearly six years of maintaining the Texas Tribune's salary and prisoner databases. No matter how prepared you may be for the inevitable requests for exclusion, eventually there will be a request that causes you to pause and ask, "wait, are we doing this right?" What do you do when your established protocol is woefully inadequate for a person's request? When your news app puts you or your organization in the position of power, how do you ensure the humans in the data are treated with empathy? Our goal with this session is to encourage a dialog on and around these issues. We will go over our current policies, and share stories of what we've done well... and what we've done not so well. We'll work through different scenarios together, discuss and debate our responses and provide a space to discuss real life examples.
Teams within an organization are usually pretty structured. One group might share a common focus, office space and manager. But communities are a much more fluid – they move beyond the designated org chart lines and boundaries drawn by the company. Some of the best collaboration in news and tech comes when different specialities mix. Whether you’re a lonely coder or on a large news app team, how do you build and sustain a community of data- and tech-oriented journalists within your organization? What kind of obstacles does this internal community face? - How do you help everyone level-up, including yourself? - How do you make sure knowledge and skills aren’t concentrated among a small group -- or just one person? - How do you get management buy-in for cross-pollination type training push back against training bc of timing on both sides; tension between a dedicated team and individuals doing similar work/working on a different part of the project - How do you maintain momentum if there's no institutional structure or the structure changes? Can we come up with some solutions to these problems? We want to hear your experience and advice for internal community-building, even if it’s not directly related to data and tech. We’ll discuss all these topics, then break into small groups. Each group will have one item to expand on and contribute back to the session transcript. In the end, we’ll have an internal community-building guide to share.
Proposed by Palani Kumanan
We are all well versed in creating scripts to deliver automated data to our front-end applications. Not all data for the news apps come from an automated source. At times, the data is hand curated by non-technical news staff or from third-party sources. To use this raw data on our applications, we have built one-offs, editor tools, Django Admin, third-party software, hacked Wordpress, Google Docs/Sheets/Calendar (ArchieML/tabletop) and other means & methods to get the data in shape and to deliver quickly to the applications. Is one tool better than the other? Are building custom tools worth it? Is relying on third-party services a good idea? What other challenges we encounter?
Proposed by Matt Perry
Design sprints! After introductions, the entire group of attendees will be split in half. One half will be tasked to brainstorm ways existing or future technology can help spur diversity in journalism and the tech world – two industries that so far suck at diversity and inclusion. And the other half will explore the flip side: how can diversity help technology? Depending on how many people we have, smaller groups may be splintered off for better brainstorming (and fewer cooks in the kitchen) and more ideas! Model example: Group 1: how can technology help diversity? - Subgroup a = IDEA 1 - Subgroup b = IDEA 2 - Subgroup c = IDEA 3 Group 2: how can diversity help technology? - Subgroup a = IDEA 1 - Subgroup b = IDEA 2 - Subgroup c = IDEA 3 Structure: 5-min intro | 10-min group brainstorm | 5-min break into teams | 25-min sprint | 15-min share
Proposed by Kawandeep Virdee
Video is getting more popular, for the most part now it feels through Facebook, Snapchat, Gfycat/Imgur and maybe Twitter. Using video within web pages is on it's way out, but Facebook _did_ add embed support for it's player. I'll share observations on how people are watching video on social sites like Reddit and Medium, and also publishers like USA Today and NYTimes. I'll share opportunities I see with video while working with the open source project VideoJS. After this overview- of platforms vs. websites, viewer behavior, and player tools- we'll have an idea jam around video in the context of websites- what's missing, what would we love to see, and what's the dream.
Proposed by Katie Marriner
As news nerds, we’re developers, designers, data scientists, writers and usually more than one at the same time. Because these skills are transferable, the roles we take on for work can easily trickle into our lives outside of the newsroom. This discussion will invite you to share a hobby or endeavor that brings you joy no matter how serious or leisurely, with one requirement: it has nothing to do with your job. Do you boulder, front a band, enjoy reading memoirs? What have you learned from an unrelated side project that you might not have learned while doing your job? Still looking for that hobby? Come hear from others about what they do for fun, talk broadly about your interests and join in the larger discussion of how stepping back can positively impact our work lives.
Countries like México are running Open Data Programs that have found a relatively fast adoption from the localities and agencies. Such movement has enabled several sources of data to be available. What's the structure of the data? Which challenges does it face? What cautions one must take? How can you use this data to enhance your storytelling?
Proposed by Emily Withrow
Resumes force us into boxes we otherwise fight against. They divide us into a collection of academic and industry pedigrees, sometimes-meaningless job titles, and broadly-defined skills. These aren’t the things we say we care about: creative problem solving, eagerness to grow, willingness to take risks, learning from mistakes, and empathy in teamwork. The resume is our permanent record of sorts, and it reflects a system rigged toward certain groups. We’re creative people (and I’m proficient in Microsoft Word), so let’s dream up a better system. I’m proposing that we approach this as targeted, design-thinking workshop. I’ll come equipped with food-for-thought research: some history and studies that point to existing bias in the hiring process, and why resumes can be toxic. We’ll then spend our time in teams re-imagining a [something] that would give hiring managers better insight into candidates, and give job seekers better confidence.
Proposed by Noah Manger
While the relationship between government and the press can be adversarial (in a good way!), both are homes to members of the civic tech family. So what can we be learning from each other? Whether you're on a small modern tech team in government or the newsroom, we're often up against similar challenges as we hack away inside legacy institutions. Some of those challenges are about how we work: How do you bring designers, developers and non-technical subject matter experts together to build products our users love? And some of those challenges are about what we build: How do you make complex, arcane data or content relatable to wide audiences? Through this conversation, we'll share tips and advice, gain a deeper understanding of our commonalities, and also examine the key ways that our roles differ and what can we do to help each other succeed.
Proposed by Juan Carlos Sanchez-Ruiz and and Jessica Barbosa Torres
When working in a project that involves developers with different backgrounds and mindsets, large discussions amongst team members are bound to happen. Though the years, software developers have managed to communicate with sales teams, designers, and C-levels. However, a new ingredient has recently been added to the mix: data science teams. Even harmless planning sessions might turn problematic when the output from data scientists, whose background is mainly academic, is crucial to the product. Is there an optimal way of communicating between teams that have such diverse background without spending long hours in fruitless meetings? How do you explain to your data scientists that having to wait for more than 20 seconds for a prediction is not "production ready", regardless of the model's achieved accuracy? Data Science has made it possible for companies everywhere to extract insights from tons of data sources, regardless of their volume or diversity. But, is there a way to help your front-end developers understand the importance of scalability when working with large sets of data? In this session we will share our experiences while looking for the best way to communicate in an interdisciplinary team where everyone's input is vital for the product's success.
Proposed by Sandra Barrón and and Carolina Arreola
When a story hit social media it is hard to know its impact, we will present a tool and methodology to follow a story in social media and understand if it is important enough to use it in your newsroom.
Proposed by Steve Suo
Can we define the circumstances under which graphic animation is better than a fully interactive experience? Tools like AfterEffects and Google Earth flyovers are making it easier and faster to put precise scale diagrams into motion. All sorts of data layers can be added. This curated experience can be rich for the user, but it also takes the craft in a decidedly different direction from the world of data interactives and virtual reality. This session will result in written guidelines for what precisely video animations are good for, and what they are not.
Proposed by Noah Manger
We’re heading into the home stretch of the 2016 election season. Do you know how to get the critical campaign finance data you need? 18F has helped the Federal Election Commission release a new beta site and API to make the task easier, but whether you’re new to campaign finance or a seasoned pro, this data can be complicated and confusing. Through interactive demos and the collective smarts of the participants, we’ll discuss the basics of campaign finance data: how it works, where to find it, and how to tame it. Experienced participants are invited to share their best practices and all they’ve learned; newbies are invited to bring their most burning questions; and we’ll demo some of the new tools available at beta.fec.gov. You’ll leave with a better understanding of how to wrangle this often confusing data, and members of the betaFEC product team will leave with a deeper understanding of your needs and concrete ideas for how to improve the tools.
Proposed by Kevin Koehler
CDA, DMCA, CC, NDA, TOS, GPL, GNU, SLAPP, ROUS, ECJ, TPP ... the legalese you may encounter running a web site these days can be pretty intimidating, especially if you are a startup or a small operation without a legal department. So what's a serious threat and what's not worth worrying about? What do you need to know about open source software licensing? Copyright and fair use? Defamation and hosting user-generated content? Let's cover some of the basics, then share challenges we've faced and how we dealt with them.
In the past few years, we’ve seen emerging recognition of graphics and data journalism, most recently in the Pulitzers awarded to data-centric projects. Our community is reflecting on recent years of our work and has established design patterns and philosophies. But we mostly talk about how we do our journalism -- now let’s talk about the people doing it. How have the expectations of a journalist’s career trajectory changed with emerging roles and disciplines? Have we made our corner of the industry open to aspiring news nerds who might not have access to the tools and resources that gave many of us a lift into this field? And what if you don’t see your job as your calling? Our goal is provide a catharsis about our work and develop solutions that look out for the people doing this work. We’ll ask hard questions of ourselves to foster a discussion about the sustainability of what we do.
Proposed by Dave Stanton
In the rush to get our projects out the door, it's easy to forget to test accessibility issues. Let's work on launch-ready checklists to help ensure all of our projects are accessible for everyone.
Proposed by David Moore
APIs are a technology that are -- finally? maybe? -- getting their day in the sun. Do you want to risk your newsroom getting left behind? At the same time, solid APIs are not easy to build, and they can require serious maintenance. They should not be taken lightly. This session will explain what an API (Application Programming Interface) is, and how it can it can improve your newsroom. (Though we might also try to talk you out of creating an API!) We'll talk about API best practices, API integrations, and how to explain APIs (and their value) to your bosses. As a concrete example, the session will walk through the brand-new WBUR API. We'll talk about its features, as well as its flaws; how it's powering a new website and and a mobile app (and, with any luck, the screen on your refrigerator); and the process we went through to create it (as well as what we would do differently).
Proposed by Neil Bedi
Photojournalism has fallen hard in the past decade and technology may deserve part of the blame. News is now read on six-inch screens not two-foot pages, anyone with a smartphone is a decent photographer, and video ads pay far more than their static counterparts. As journalism goes digital, photo gets left behind. Consequently, as newsrooms make cuts, sometimes to afford digital teams, photojournalists and photo departments are the first to go. How can we empower photojournalists and photo-based storytelling through digital presentation and interaction instead of diminishing photojournalism through endless embedded images and sliders? Let’s figure it out.
When stories have abstract topics, coming up with visual components can be a challenge. How the hell do you visually illustrate “borderless economies” or “Medicaid fraud?” Learn how to approach abstract stories from a visual angle and a step-by-step method for creating compelling visual assets. We’ll be free-associating, writing, drawing and collaging, art-school style. What are the methods people can use beyond photo and video to tell stories? We will dive into the use of abstraction, motion, color, and texture to appeal to people’s emotions. Also, get ready for some drawing games that will change how you think about the abstract.
Proposed by Steve Suo
Helping readers to “explore” data using an interface of our own invention has been a transformative element of digital journalism. At the same time, purely linear data storytelling forms (static infographics) remain incredibly popular. Participants in this session will draft broad guidelines for when it’s desirable to use fully interactive, non-interactive and hybrid approaches to presenting data. We will start by narrowing a manageable list of forms to tackle. Examples might include “fully interactive maps,” vs. “directed interactive maps” (where users can toggle two layers) vs. animated maps illustrating change over time. Next we will assign a small group to tackle each form, asking members to identify circumstances to which this format is best suited. The written document we produce at the end will help us articulate, for a diverse newsroom audience, the most effective options for digital storytelling.
Not sure if you noticed, but there's an election this in the US year. The silver lining behind all of the advertising, money spent, and red trucker hats is that a lot of amazing technologies and datasets have been built in the name of analyzing and understanding exactly what is going on. This session is about sharing expertise around building and using those resources to scalably convert an overwhelming amount of raw information into civic narrative.
The design and deployment of software has important implications for maintenance and operation in a newsroom. We'll discuss the attributes of software projects that have an impact on their sustainability & ease of use over time (who will run your code when you're gone?). We'll also play a little design game to map out which attributes take priority in our newsrooms, and how open source software projects in the news match up to those priorities.
Proposed by Jeremy Bowers
It's not as easy as just putting the code up on GitHub. This session will work through the complex legal, social, competitive and organizational challenges to making your software open source. As a bonus: We'll figure out best practices for docs, release schedules and version numbering!
Proposed by Gurman Bhatia
What kind of news apps, features and services can we create around municipal elections in local newsrooms with limited resources? Even if you can't have automated scrapers running to fetch the results, there could be a lot done with something as simple as a Google form. In addition to strategies, we'll talk about hustle and communicating new ideas.
Proposed by Scott Pham
The Raspberry Pi is the perfect hardware hacking device for the newsroom developer. It's crazy cheap--starting at just $5 for the most basic board. And unlike the Arduino, you can work in Bash, Python and even Node, making the learning curve short and shallow. At CIR we use a motion-detecting Raspberry Pi to let us know when certain meeting rooms are occupied. This session is an opportunity to geek out over the big world of hardware hacking and develop ideas for gathering our own data. I would introduce the basic mechanics of a Raspberry Pi and a set of sensors like motion detectors, temperature/humidity readers and cameras. We would brainstorm and develop ideas for stories that use data gathered by one or more Raspberry Pis. Alternatively, the group might settle on a single big idea using distributed sensors, with the idea that we might build them when in our home newsrooms and share the data with one another.
Proposed by Tyler Machado
So, you have a big pile of data that needs visualizing -- how you decide the best way to present that data, especially if it’s something beyond a standard chart? Let’s talk about how platform, audience, creativity and science should inform our dataviz decisionmaking.
Proposed by Steph Yiu
Election night. Oscars. Olympics. Earthquake. These are high-pressure, high-visibility, high-traffic moments for you and your newsroom. This workshop will help attendees prepare their team for the biggest news day of the year. How will your team be organized? Who will step up to lead what? How will you communicate? How will you prepare your technology stack so it won’t fall over? How do you protect your team from hacking attacks? What’s your fallback if something breaks? And, once you assemble this plan, how do you engage it in a moment’s notice?
Proposed by Jessie Willms
Being laid off from a job you love doesn't have to be the worst thing that happens to you in your career. This session will build on personal experience and advice from hiring managers and colleauges in the industry about overcoming temporary setbacks, this session will provide a number of tips for preparing for possible layoff while employed, and provide a collobrative environemnt for discussion among the group will help attendees about personal experiences. This session is for anyone who has been let go from a job in journalism.
The more complicated an interactive project gets, the harder it is to make it work right on every platform and OS. Sure, your app works fine on desktop and mobile, but will your CMS try and kill it? Can it be iframed or pym'd? Will it work on Facebook Stories or Amp? Maybe it's best to admit defeat and scale back our features, producing more static, less interactive content. Or should we fight against our limits and find ways to make our features work everywhere? Most importantly, how do we communicate our decision-making process to others and establish reasonable expectations in the newsroom? In this session we'll break into groups and play with some big desktop-centric interactives. We'll identify what features might prevent it from working on all platforms, and how they might be redesigned or optimized under the hood for maximum compatibility.
WIRED is among the first publishers to experiment against ad blockers. At WIRED, ads help us pay the bills, but even some of us are guilty of using every ad-blocking extension existing on the web. Earlier this year, we decided to block our stories for readers using ad blockers, while simultaneously offering folks an option to subscribe to an "ad-free" version of the site. So why take on ad blockers? Well, in terms of numbers, it just made sense. A really large number of Wired readers block(ed) ads on desktop. But ad-free wasn’t just about numbers. It was an experiment and we’ve learned a lot from it. That’s what this session will be all about. It will be a glorious debate but also a discussion about the lessons learned from implementing an ad-free experience. What are the best ways to block ad blockers? Is ad-blocking extortion? Are ads ethical? What’s a good/bad ad? Is it our responsibility to protect our reader's’ privacy? Do we even need ads? How can journalism affect the way ads work? Should our content be ‘free’? What are the misconceptions about ad-blocking? What’s next? We will talk code, ethics, privacy and tracking, monetizing journalistic content, and how ads can ruin/better journalism.
Proposed by Josh Laincz and Georgia Cowley
Vox Media is in the business of developing high-value digital journalism, storytelling, and brand advertising at scale. We have traditionally done a lot of custom design and engineering work for each brand that joins Vox Media. More recently, we’ve found that brand building is less about designing a website and more about designing a full brand identity package and by designing systems. Building bespoke experiences doesn’t scale. This session will take a workshop format where we provide context for building brands through designing scalable systems with a short open conversation, and will lead to small breakout groups where teams will work together to create a brand-focused system that scales.
Proposed by William Wolfe-Wylie
When dealing with data that encapsulates the lives of hundreds, or even thousands, of people, keeping those people from becoming anonymous numbers can be challenging. In this session, we walk through tactics and strategies for keeping humanity at the centre of complex stories, and avoiding losing our audience while exploring the sheer scale of some of these data stories. We will use the evolution -- from early stage design sketches to version 3 finished product -- of the CBC's award-winning investigation into missing and murdered aboriginal women across Canada as some of our guiding examples through this discussion.
Proposed by Erin Kissane
The news-nerd community is pretty good at collaboration. So let's work together to sort out our weakest points—as individuals, teams, maybe even as a community—and figure out how to get 'em patched. We'll work in small groups, come together to bubble up common worries and problems, and then nail down the kinds of things we need to get better. Bring your deepest insecurities about tech, process, design, and culture, and be honest: most of the session will be off-record, and prizes may be awarded for the most potentially embarrassing admissions. You'll leave knowing which of your troubles are widely shared, and our best guess at what needs to be done to level everybody up.
Proposed by Hosam El Nagar
Journalists' skills are changing to reflect their changing environment. Does this mean that different qualities and talents are going to be needed? In this session, we want to pick out the skills and qualities that made great journalists in the past and those that will make great hacks today and the in the future. Are we moving from a right brain to a left brain dominance? Does it have to be one or the other? How can we ensure we keep the best qualities from the past and develop the future? What therefore makes the well rounded journalist of the future? How can we increase the emotional dial for the cerebral or make the heart code ? After taking a look at ourselves and extrapolating our future, we will set a must follow trajectory for journalism schools and training institutions that will save the world.
Proposed by Matthew Caruana Galizia & Miguel Fiandor
Getting hundreds of reporters from different newsrooms in different countries to work together on the same project -and share- is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) day-to-day challenge. For our latest investigation, the Panama Papers, we gathered more than 370 journalists from almost 80 countries to mine 11.5 million files. One of the missions of ICIJ's Data & Research Unit is to create the tools to make these collaborations happen seamlessly across borders. We've implemented social network platforms for reporters to communicate the findings, developed platforms to search over millions of documents and data and also to explore them visually. With reporters collaborating more and more across borders - or with different organizations - our challenge today could be yours tomorrow. Learn from our successes (and mistakes). We want to share with you our experience in deploying Apache Solr (http://lucene.apache.org/solr/) to search unstructured data with added metadata, using Neo4J and Linkurious for graph databases (https://linkurio.us/) and implementing the social network Oxwall (http://www.oxwall.org/) to communicate efficiently.
Proposed by Sara Schnadt
Is there a data set you have dreamed of that doesn't exist yet, or is not widely available or sufficiently standardized? Is there a method for acquiring and presenting data that is just beyond your reach? This session will be a group brainstorming session around visioning what could be possible, as well as a knowledge share around emerging kinds of datasets that are on participants' radar now, and how they can be applied to our work. The facilitators will share about new kinds of data sets they are working on to kick off this process. For example, Planet Labs is imaging the entire planet every day and making this dataset available for civic use. Other facilitator(s) TBA.
Proposed by Miguel Fiandor
Very often the data you need to work on is ugly, is not the format you want, so you need to take your Swiss data knife out to get the work done as quickly as possible. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalist programmers have developed a unique expertise on this over the past investigations, which include the Panama Papers, the largest leak in journalism history. We’d like to share a collection of tips and tools on how to clean, filter, convert and make ugly data look good, and have it ready to be analysed, delivered to final users, or imported in any database. There are a bunch of great open source tools to do these tasks. We will show which ones we used and how, such as: python, Talend, pandas, beautifulsoup, csvkit, grep and others.
Proposed by Sarah Squire
If you work in or near a newsroom, you've probably been asked how to do what you do. Maybe a reporter wants to make better charts, find a pattern in data or even scrape data from a website. Let's discuss how we can help our coworkers identify and learn a particular skill, starting at a beginner level (Excel and Google spreadsheets are powerful). And what is our role? Should we be leading training sessions? We can create a series of questions and collect resources we can use to teach in our own newsrooms.
Proposed by Meghan Krane and and Bo Kim
Comment boxes have had an infamous run in online publishing, and with many organizations looking for alternative solutions or removing all traces of peer-to-peer conversation from their sites, it's time to rethink what a conversation experience could be in the age of mobile, podcasts, live video, and VR. We'll start with a grounding textual analysis research, and lead a discussion on text categorization and the types of conversations they inspire among us in real life. Then we'll break out into small teams and pick a typology, a medium (text, audio, video, or VR), and a persona, and create an analog demo with action figures, paper cutouts, and basic wireframes, to share the conversational experiences we've created. Some of the questions that we'll seek to answer are: How can conversational interfaces help create safe spaces for dialog? What role should content creators take in the conversation?
Proposed by Julien Martin & Matthew Caruana Galizia
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' current challenge is to develop a system that connects the local data of the almost 200 reporters in the network to obtain a global collective intelligence. We’re developing a software we’re calling DataShare, which allows for valuable knowledge about people and companies locked within hundreds of pages of documents inside a computer to be sieved into indexes and shared securely within a network of trusted individuals, fostering unforeseen collaboration and prompting new and better investigations that uncover corruption, transnational crime and abuse of power. We’d love to expose our progress and prototype to the SRCCON audience to get their feedback and use it to improve the tool. We also believe our experience can help others trying to solve a similar problem.
Proposed by Gem Barrett
Publicly challenging micro-aggressions online is an exhausting and stressful responsibility, particularly if you are a member of a marginalised group. In an effort to reduce the pressure on these groups to take on such a responsibility, online community leaders are beginning to use of bots in areas of community communication. From correcting ableist language in Slack channels to explaining the meaning of "cis" for the millionth time on Twitter, automated responders are being used to deal with the draining work of improving community members' knowledge and vocabulary. This session will focus on the usage of bots in online communities, analysis of why they are generally successful and the related technical challenges involved in their creation. In addition to drawing on examples in open-source communities and Twitter, we'll also discuss their potential use in further anti-harassment measures and other ideas for their future expansion across gaming and technology, in addition to doing some basic bot planning.
Proposed by Linda Sandvik
Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally 'missing' from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people. In this session, we will select an area that needs mapping (as requested by Doctors Without Borders or Red Cross or similar), look at satellite images, and make some maps happen in Open Street Map. No experience necessary, although if you have edited things in Open Street Map before your expertise would be appreciated in helping others. Don't know what Open Street Map is? Well it's basically Wikipedia but for maps. Come save the world! (bring your laptop)
Proposed by Sarah Squire
Pseudocoding is a method of writing code logic in plain English. I butcher the definition and propose we use the idea of pseudocode as a framework for writing an outline for code and defining a project's features. I'll briefly introduce the concept of pseudocoding, why I use it and a few examples of how to write it (plus a couple comments of support from coworkers who have tried it). Then we'll break up into groups, write pseudocode--with pen and paper!--for a couple projects and share our experiences and results. We'll also discuss other methods people use now to outline or organize projects before they dive in. For new coders, it's also a great introduction to some core concepts of programming and how to think like a coder.
Proposed by Justin Carmony
Ok, so we’ve pasted in the Google Analytics tag, we have numbers and graphs coming in, so now what? Installing an analytics tool is traditionally trivial, but trying to understand what these tools are tell us can be tricky, complicated, and daunting. How can we make the data more meaningful for journalists, product managers, and developers? Are we tracking the right data? Do we know our users better after looking at the numbers? Let’s come together and discuss different ways to help get better insights into how our users consume our content. We’ll discuss how to help teams make informed daily decisions, how to perform deeper analysis of trends and behaviors, and how to determine if our strategies are working as expected. If you’ve found techniques that are helpful, we want you to share them. If you have questions on how to get better data for particular use-cases, we want you to ask them. By the end of the session we want everyone to walk away with specific and actionable ideas on how to better understand their audience through data. We will try and group tables together of people using the same analytics tools (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Parsely, Charbeat, etc).
As journalists have to compete for attention with countless other content producers, interactive storytellers have increasingly been using personalization as to entice their audiences. There's growing trend in journalism to place the reader into the story and give them a personalized understanding of the story. But how can we leverage personalization in news and not freak out our audiences about exposing them to unnecessary security risks? We will start by looking at 2-3 examples of where personalization went awfully wrong. Afterwards, participants will split up into groups and come up with a code of ethics (3-5 principles every journalist should consider when doing this kind of journalism) and solutions for making sure user information (anything from input info to geolocation) is not vulnerable to hackers or stored in databases.
The year is 2016. Distribution channels are multiplying, splaying content across a plethora of platforms and formats. AMP, FB Instant, and Apple News are just the start - mobile/responsive web, native apps, Instagram and Snapchat herald a world where your site isn't your site. Content needs to adapt and mutate in order to thrive. The Markdown/HTML-in, HTML-out model of CMSs of yore is falling by the wayside. Content producers in offices across the world are copy-and-pasting and cropping until their fingers bleed, just to keep up. Before you argue that writers and editors should just write semantically rich HTML and CSS, thus effortlessly enabling seamless distribution across all these channels ... oh, wait, this is SRCCON and no-one would argue that. The web is great, but not perfect. HTML and CSS are incredible tools for developers and designers, but fall short at addressing the needs of writers and editors who want to publish beautiful stories, not learn the ins-and-outs of producing semantically rich (and correct) markup. For years, Markdown or WYSIWYG editors plus primitive "raw HTML" views have worked in tandem to address some of these shortcomings, but can't keep up in the long term while remaining usable for our writers and editors. We've been working on some of these issues, and would love to explore the problems and potential solutions with the SRCCON community, since we're sure others are encountering the challenges of publishing beautiful, rich content simultaneously to many formats and contexts, too.
Proposed by Juan Elosua
Whenever we work together with some other team mate, more often than not, we end up learning a more efficient way of approaching a particular recurrent task that will improve my producivity. Since we are going to congregate a lot of news nerdy knowlegde in Portland, I think a good session could be held to try to get some of our tips and tricks out of our brains and share them with the community.
We don't always play nice with others. And it's too easy to chase the shiny, fancy new thing. Whether it's a ticket system, an assignment tracker, or even a merged calendar, stitching together multiple teams presents the need for new tools and protocols. So let's split into small groups, identify a problem with collaborating/experimenting across departments, then they go through the planning, sketching, prototyping, and sharing with each other.
Proposed by Jacob Harris
Open data directories are amazing until you actually try to find things in them. Maybe what we need is a PageRank for data, but to get there we'll have to figure out a better way to cite the data sources we find the most useful. In this session, we'll look at some possibilities for citing our work and see if we can jumpstart the best standard for the data journalism community.
Proposed by Simon Wörpel
Every developer has this (at least imaginary) list: "I have a problem, I assume some others do as well, I know which little piece of code would solve it – and next weekend I will build that tool and put it on Github for everyone." But in fact this list just grows and grows. Lets use this sessions time just to help prioritize our lists, find out which little tools or addons would be really valuable in journalism/tech, find collaborators, inspire & motivate each other – all of this in only 5 minutes, because after that: happy coding!
Most audio and video content on the web sits neatly in a box unable to be shared, searched or easily navigated. In the era of 'silent video' and Cassetteboy-style remixes, how can we make it easier for viewers and listeners to distribute audiovisual content? And how do we make it accessible to and addressable by everyone? Quietly taking over the social web, silent video is easily and unobtrusively slotted into social media streams, viewers can consume without listening and with a click add the aural dimension. Good examples of silent video are captioned. Technology exists to liberate media by coupling it with textual representations. Simply by adding a transcript to audiovisual content we can make it searchable and more accessible, link the words to media time-points and we make it more navigable and shareable. This technology is applicable to top-down and bottom-up journalism alike - from the news organisation to the Podcaster and Vlogger. In this session we aim to explore the opportunities that timed transcripts present, discuss existing applications, unearth new ones and detail resources that can help us realise our ideas.
Proposed by Josh Kadis
Bots have a lot in common with dogs. Some are cute and playful, some are working breeds, some are trained to fetch the news for you. And just like dogs, some bots are better trained than others, and they all need plenty of attention. So, if it’s true that “bots are the new apps”, what kind of training and attention are we talking about? Let’s share our experiences with bot development methodologies, frameworks, hosting, testing, and user experience. We’ll show off some of the cool tricks we’ve taught our bots (“play dead!”), but mainly we’ll discuss the technical and design underpinnings of our bot projects, the common problems we’ve encountered, and best practices for building better bots.
Proposed by Iain Collins
The realm of structured data is full of domain specific terminology: linked data, RDF, JSON-LD, concepts, facets, turtle, triples, triple stores, graph databases, SPARQL… What are these things and should you care about them? Let's look at some real world use cases and at arguments from proponents and critics. We'll cut through the complexity and explore examples of how you can use structured data to improve how you create and publish content and make it more useful to - and discoverable by - both robots and humans, regardless of the size of your organization.
News apps teams are becoming more technically sophisticated: building tools, databases and custom CMS’s. Our newsrooms are now (partially) responsible for product, but struggle to implement modern tech processes (user-centric design, agile development, automated testing). How do we balance the “do it right” attitude of product with the “do it now” needs of editorial? Who needs to be at the table for those kinds of decisions? We want to look at some effective lessons that can be shared across the different disciplines and discuss effective, productive ways to bridge the gap.
Proposed by Matt Montgomery
Everyone struggles with their CMS. They're often kludgy, antiquated systems that were built up over years, and as a result, there's more cruft than there is usable code. Often, they end up as the things developers curse when they want to build out a unique piece of journalism or put effort into data projects. Solutions typically range from static generators to comprehensive off-CMS tools, but are developers missing an opportunity to make interactive and data journalism a deep-seeded part of the news process? Is there still value in integration, or is a wide splay of tools our best option? Should everyone be working on the CMS instead of a dedicated team? Can modern, API-driven CMSes survive in a fast-paced news dev world?
Proposed by Dan Sinker
We make *tons* of amazing things in this community, but beyond saying "HEY THAT'S SO COOL" we aren't great at giving feedback. Maybe it's because there are no clear avenues for critique in the community (am I supposed to Tweet at you "Hey, did you consider purple instead of grey?"), but maybe it is because we are worried that saying something critical is the same as saying something *mean*. In this session, which will (hopefully) be co-facilitated by an instructor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, let's go back to (art) school and learn how to think about and perform peer critiques. Then, let's test out our new skills on a few projects that you have made this year. And then, let's figure out how to keep it going after SRCCON and get better together through constructive critique and awesome, actionable feedback.
Business as usual: Journalist does all the work, reader just reads. Today this approach is really outdated. So many projects where users generate content in collaboration exist out there – that is in fact one of the concepts behind "the internet" –, but not so in journalism. Why do we forget to ask our readers? What tools can we use or build to start a distributed, community-driven investigation? How can we implement fact-checking? Let's discuss what we can do and what we shouldn't – bring your own tools & dreams.
Proponents of "structured journalism" call for reporters and newsrooms to substantially rethink the way they gather and manage news. But the payoffs are still pretty abstract, and human habits are slow to change—for producers and audience alike. What will it take to go past theory and put more of these ideas into practice? In this session, we'll take a narrative-driven design approach to imagine systems which could be built now to realize some of the promises of structured journalism. Starting with audience, reporter, and publisher personas, we'll develop user stories which give shape to tools and systems which fit into real lives and solve real problems. Session participants will go home with a fresh perspective on how structured journalism might fit into their work, or better, with the start of an idea for something to build!
Proposed by Julia Smith
Strong communities start with one-on-one relationships that grow into networks. But what if you’re a lonely coder, a student, or someone in a remote area without constant access to the wider news nerd network? Let's brainstorm ways to better facilitate connections between individuals in the community – perhaps through online meetings for project feedback or career advice. What would you want help with? How would you want to help someone else? What could these meetings look like? What would make them successful?
Proposed by Piyush Aggarwal
For the last few months, India has been debating the quality of the air it breathes, which is becoming hazardous by day. The problem is so severe that it has become the fifth largest cause of death in India according to the report from a think-tank working on environmental issues. In order to make sense of the air quality problem in India, we at Hindustan Times developed a real-time map (http://airquality.hindustantimes.com) which allows readers to monitor the quality of air and pollution levels in their area. This is our first experiment to being relevant sensor journalism to digital audiences. Through this session, firstly we would like to share the importance of sensor based journalism and why we need to push it forward especially in todays’ times when everything is going digital and Internet of Things is becoming mainstream concept. Secondly, we would like to talk about our experience of building this map to make the data about air quality more accessible, meaningful and actionable. This will also give us a chance to share the challenges we faced and how we addressed them. Lastly, we would like to share the importance of responsive design and user interaction in developing such platforms and how we worked on that. As we wanted to give users a seamless experience across all devices with easy navigation on the map.
No one is great at onboarding new staff, but news nerd teams are at a particular disadvantage. As a tech team, we need to set up new coders on our tools and technologies and get them up to speed with our coding philosophies. As a journalism desk, we’ve got to try and explain the often convoluted bureaucracy running through our newsrooms. In smaller organizations it can be even trickier as the new lonely coder must navigate these waters (somewhat) alone. For managers and new hires alike, we want to lead a session looking at how to make this process less painful. How can we integrate new team members faster? And ensure that the road there isn’t too bumpy?
Proposed by Geoff Hing
Participants will take a source dataset from a real story and a "recipe" for the analysis, break into groups and replicate the data analysis using a technology of their choice. They could use R, they could use Python and Pandas, they could use Excel, they could use a SQL database, a pencil and calculator or any set of tools of their choice. Participants will reconvene to share there experiences and push their code, spreadsheets and notes to a shared git repository.
Proposed by Adam Marshall
Government agencies at both the state and federal level collect and compile mass amounts of information that can be a treasure trove for data journalists. But requesting access to that information, and getting it in a useable form, can be a struggle, especially for larger data sets. This session will explain what agencies are required by law to provide when it comes to electronically stored information, and provide media lawyers and data journalists an opportunity to trade tips and strategies for successfully requesting government data and getting it in a useable electronic form.
Proposed by Jeff Kramer
At the end of the day, all the awesome tools we build for our newsrooms have to run somewhere. Whether you're a small news room with a couple of Heroku apps to a thousand person media organization with a fully staffed ops team, how you run your code and how frictionless deploying it is critical to fostering cultures of creativity. Plus, we all like to sleep through the night without Pingdom or Pagerduty alerts. In this talk we'll trade war stories, tool experiences, and architecture strategies for hosting simple apps, big CMSes, and our growing collections of data. We'll look at what a 2016 media hosting stack looks like, from the small to the large, and start to figure out how we get there.
Proposed by Stefan Wehrmeyer
Data proofing guides (e.g. by ProPublica or Quartz) are great checklists when it comes to dealing with dirty data and tools like "Dataproofer" can help with automated checks. But can we do more? How do we integrate this into our processes and workflows? Can we have linting for data like we have for code? Let's discuss what kind of library and tool support we need.
Proposed by Liz Berg
User data is one of the most valuable resources a website can generate. Why are we so quick to sell it off to third parties? Let's put that practice under the microscope: what information is being exchanged, how are we vetting third parties, and are we properly disclosing any of this to our users? Are publishers at risk of a user backlash, a privacy breach, or worse? Thinking beyond monetization, let's constructively re-imagine ways that we as publishers can cultivate user profiles and activity in ways that will benefit our organizations, news teams, and our users. How can we use data to help us better communicate, engage, and build stronger relationships with our users?
Proposed by Jacob Harris
News nerds have done an excellent job of pushing the envelope in what is possible for interactive applications. But who has been left behind in the process? Accessibility checkers give many of these sites abysmal scores, meaning they are not accessible to users with vision or other impairments. Surely, we can do better and let's figure out some easy means how.
Data is not an inherently user-friendly medium. Until recently, the experience a nontechnical person might have of encountering data would likely be accompanied by a thick stack of annotated research documents and/or the literal data scientist who wrote the report explaining the results in person. Today, data is a living, breathing part of storytelling the material of our daily lives. When a simple snapshot on Twitter has the instant potential to transform the way that someone views themselves inside of a system, data is a visceral and emotional companion to the news cycle. That's because when you see a great visualization that connects truth with insight, you can't un-see it. When the power to wield data is in the hands of the public, and people tell their own stories to each other, data becomes a medium for civic art. The question is, what happens to data when it crosses the chasm from analysis to impact? How can small building blocks of information resonate with a broader narrative? How can you design for this effect when you don't know what the data is going to say? This workshop will arm participants with the practical (and emotional) tools every team needs to perform repeatable alchemy for powerful data storytelling.
Proposed by Alex Duner
How can we bring traditional journalists and traditional engineers into our fold? How can we make our work more approachable? How can help news developers grow their sphere of influence within a newsroom? Let's talk about what the barriers to expanding our community — what are they and how can we solve them? At Northwestern, students and faculty at Knight Lab have been working to infect the school with the programming bug — we've taken an iterative approach to trying to grow the diverse community of journalism students on campus who are able to make cool things on the Internet. We've been working on answering these questions through community events, outreach and a lot of trial and error. I think there are lessons to be learned for the developer-journalism community at large — I'd love to share what we've learned and discuss other efforts that we can all draw from.
Proposed by Noah Chestnut
Do you use Slack at work? Do you find yourself simultaneously grateful for its existence yet frustrated by the ways it has commandeered your attention? Let's take a break from our Slack channels to share our experiences, try a couple of Crazy Eight sketching exercises (similar to a Google Venture Design Sprint) to identify how we would start our organization's Slack from scratch, and then launch a living document outlining how to make Slack even more human. Bring a pen and paper, and please turn on Do Not Disturb.
If you build tools that are used internationally, or if you work with data from non-English speaking communities, you will sooner or later encounter interesting problems, including character encoding, foreign number and date formats, or right-to-left languages. Dealing with localization can be messy and frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. Together, we'll look at newsroom tools, identify localization issues based on real world examples, and discuss possible solutions. Bring your own projects!
Journalists and newsroom developers face particular challenges to their mental health, including tight deadlines and sensitive coverage topics set against the backdrop of an ever-changing industry. Depression, anxiety and mental illness are exacerbated when they’re not discussed openly or taken seriously. Through guided discussions, this session will equip individuals to better care for their own mental health, and identify changes we can make to our newsrooms to build safer, more positive workplaces.
In this session, we’ll explore how media organizations and their supporters have been approaching the question of impact, how impact research can be leveraged for strategic decision-making, and why it matters. We’ll demo our answer: CIR’s Impact Tracker, an easy to use web based platform that allows your organization to create qualitative datasets to measure success, and is currently being used by ten media organizations across the globe. We will introduce an intuitive framework for investigating media impact. Then we’ll dive into case-studies of organizations using it, detailing how each organization has customized the Impact Tracker tool to reflect their institutional goals, and then uses it to deliver powerful insights into how their work affects the world. Come ready to learn about why you should measure the impact of your work and how to do it. This will be an interactive session, so bring your impact challenges to this problem-solving conversation.
Proposed by Hong Qu
We no longer live in a world of mass undifferentiated audiences. News orgs have to thinking like product companies by catering to customers segments. To start, we need to build customer relationship management tools to delivery personalized features, content, ads, and subscriptions. Let's brainstorm how we can track customer data to optimize the Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue (AARRR) funnel for news products.
Algorithms play an increasingly relevant role in shaping our digital and physical experiences of the world. It is frequently the case that data from our digital footprints is used to predict our behavior and make decisions about the choices available to us. This unprecedented capacity to collect and analyze data has brought along with it a troubling dismissiveness of user agency, participation, and ownership. Such systems assume that it is an acceptable by-product for their users to have no understanding of the decisions being made about them and no agency in that decision-making process. For the most part, the invisibilized nature of these decisions are seen as a feature, not a bug, of a good user experience. As we begin to use algorithmic decision-making in areas of our lives that are increasingly high-stakes, it is essential that we create and utilize processes that maintain user agency and understanding. In this session, participants will be imagining and designing user experiences that employ participatory algorithmic-decision making processes. The session will be open to folks from all experience levels. We would be excited to see folks from a variety of different backgrounds, including designers, data scientists, journalists, privacy & security practitioners, and organizers from marginalized and frequently surveilled communities.
Proposed by Leonard bogdonoff
magine our grand parents age was the Age of Space (zero sum, take from others, use land to grow crops). Ads were magic. People saw the, and they just bought stuff. It was a magic system. Imagine our parents time was Age of Time (rise of media, free time, excess income, office jobs). First movers captured the market. Free time and office jobs defined the future of industry. Imagine our time is the Age of Attention (Eyeballs, brand loyalty, Internet, cell phones, always being connected). Loyalty of customers is everything. Products with the best engineers build free services to repackage attention and sell it back to advertisers. Then what is to come? From the media landscape, there is more information than ever, so the ability to have the right perspective on interpreting the information becomes important (i.e. Culture, understanding the "big data", authenticity). I will explore how media will monetize on this part.
There is no shortage of books by journalists, featuring journalists and demonstrating journalism’s impact. We want to look at some of our favorites — some serious, some fun — and why we still engage with them. From Harriet Beecher Stowe to Upton Sinclair, from Lois Lane to Stieg Larsson’s Mikael Blomkvist, from private moments that shift cultural thinking (Joan Didion writing about loss) or shift politics (Mary McCarthy’s biting criticism), or even new graphic novels that alter our usual approach to reporting and history. These works shape the times in which we live. And they can teach unexpected lessons about the craft. This will be a discussion, led by Tiff Fehr of The New York Times and Martin McClellan of Breaking News/Seattle Review of Books. Bring your favorite book that changed the conversation, or maybe that failed to start an important one, or touched on something true about journalism in its own way.
The formula seems simple: something happens and we report on it. The faster the better, so long as we follow standards. But the pace accelerated, and what was fast for print was slow compared to radio; what was fast for radio accelerated for television; what was fine for a 30 second segment on a news show couldn’t fill time on 24/7 cable news, and now everything else seems slow and antiquated compared to the internet. Now a tweet from a source is seconds away from being worldwide Breaking News at any second. Editors need tools that enable quick publishing on their own platforms and social/distribution channels. They also need evolving guidelines on how to use them. Newsroom technologists need to build stable and iterable tools so editors can keep tabs on their product, their audience and the competition. Meanwhile, readers expect the news to find them with minimal effort. Features that seem great one moment are clichéd the next. How do we balance all those moving parts? How do we reach people who define relevant breaking news for themselves? How do we answer multiple audiences when they do seek out breaking news — news-junkies, news-curious and late-comers? This conversation will look inside two newsrooms: the New York Times (storied, weighty, with history and reputation) and Breaking News (younger, nimble and not only of the internet, but of Twitter). What lessons intersect in the Venn diagram of these two organizations? Tiff Fehr, Assistant Editor for Interactive News (Live Coverage) at the NYT, and Martin McClellan, Senior UX Designer at Breaking News will lead the discussion.
Proposed by Evie Liu
Data and visual teams have different organizational structure based on each newsroom's size and what they need. Some put data folks under investigative team, some under graphics; some have developers only do coding, some expect them to write and report as well; some have designers and developers separately, some combine the two roles. Sometimes we feel lost in the ocean of knowledge needs to be learned, hats need to be worn and the confusion which specialization we should take as a career path. In this session, let’s talk about ways to organize our teams and the possible best practice - how to design team members' roles, attribute responsibilities and optimize workflows. We also want to discuss career development for news nerds - what would be expected in us in the future and how should we get prepared? Is “jack-of-all-trades” still the rule of thumb here? Or should we start picking up skills more selectively at some point and tell ourselves “it’s ok not knowing something”?
Let's see if we can get past the data in data sonification and work on the music. Bring in a dataset, and we'll translate it on the spot into sheet music. Neena Satija will put her sight-reading skills to the test as we try to play some data live. Please, please bring your own instruments. We'll experiment with keys, speed, themes and variations and whatever else comes up to see what works.
Proposed by Linda Sandvik
Everyone plays games, so isn't it about time we embrace this as a medium for delivering news? Games can be great as instruments for conceptual thinking and as tools for social change, as well as being great at putting people in positions of getting *feelings*. So what exactly is it that makes games so great? And how can you go about turning your next story into one? We will look at some examples, discuss what is good about them, explore some different game genres and tools for making games in the newsroom. *not actually new
or, "Dig Through Time" Pitchfork started 20 years ago. Just a wee baby. The New Yorker hit 91 years in age. The NYTimes, Guardian, Washington Post, Galena Gazette, and more have several centuries worth of content between them. However it's fair to say that 90% of daily traffic goes directly against stories published in the last week. Archive stories can hold a rich and unique mirror to the events of today, but face a number of challenges in being found and resurfaced: organization, classification, relevancy. Resurfacing content from even moderately sized archives is a challenge: often, it’s as much art as science. It is almost a brute force exercise to determine quality and notability. Yet we know there is a meaningful history and legacy buried there. How do we make sense of the present when we cannot easily access the past? Why is this hard? We often think in historical terms over decades - and rarely in the smaller events that define our day to day. Staff across many departments may not have the necessary depth of knowledge about the archives to know where to draw from, and institutional knowledge is lost between generations. Metadata and taxonomy may not be established to help classify and surface. Tooling may not exist or may be inaccessible to guide making intelligent suggestions. In this talk, we’ll explore working with your archives by talking about how we work with ours. Low-hanging fruit to bring gems to the surface, long-term strategies to make archives more accessible, and to ensure that today's content is accessible tomorrow.
The internet is rife with tools to clip, remix, and gif visual content: we make reaction gifs of our favorite TV shows, screenshot articles to highlight interesting ideas, and have gif buttons built into many of our social networks. For fans of audio content, like podcasts, however, there are far fewer tools that allow them to engage with, comment on, and share their fandom of their favorite show. This creates a twofold problem: fans can't highlight, comment on, or share parts of their favorite podcast, and potential new listeners can't discover shows through those clips and highlights. In this session, we'll explore the idea of what "giffable audio" might be. We'll discuss what forms of expression we can support through giffable audio, what unique and interesting affordances audio (and more specifically, podcasts) might have, and how we can design tools that can create this new kind of audio culture on social media. We'll also discuss what tools and technologies currently exist in this realm, including our own project, Clipper, which is an in-progress web audio tool that allows podcast fans to clip audio into short, shareable snippets that can instantly be embedded on social media.
Proposed by Mohammed Haddad
For many news organizations, a lot of time and money goes into creating long form documentaries. Sadly, for most film makers, being "digital" means that their film simply ends up on Youtube. It doesn't have to end there. During this session I'll guide you through some of the strategies that Al Jazeera deploys when it comes to creating real digital adaptations of shows and documentaries. I'll take participants through the complete production process from storyboarding all the way through to a project's implementation. Some case studies will include: Palestine Remix - An open source project that houses the largest collection of editable documentaries available in four languages. Web Docs - Live on hold, Pirate Fishing, The rise of ISIL and a variety of other web docs from across the channel. Digital adaptations - Other ways in which an ordinary film can be cut up and represented to suit mobile devices.
Proposed by Chris Canipe
According to the Washington Post, American reporting jobs based in New York, D.C, and L.A. went from 1 in 8 in 2004 to 1 in 5 in 2014 (http://wapo.st/1pKHjRN). In the newsroom developer community, that number has got to be even tinier. How do we get developers into the smaller metropolitan newsrooms that need them? How do we reorganize and reinvent this segment of our news ecosystem that is least equipped to hire and experiment with new products and platforms? As our field evolves and matures, it's worth examining why our jobs continue to gravitate to big-money coastal newsrooms, what it means for local news to be left out of the renaissance, and how we might endeavor to change it.
Crowdsourcing and Bots: They're better together! In this session, we'll discuss how MuckRock was able to use a microtask system to cut parts of its data analysis workload by 30% ... and then in half by using that structured information to train a series of increasingly savvy artificial intelligence (This year, known as Bots). MuckRock has analyzed and processed over 221,237 FOIA communications, and will share how — knowing nothing about machine learning or AI — they were able to tap into open source tools and a passionate audience to scale up data analysis while spending more time doing interesting work instead of routine sorting.
You’re leading a team in your organization, or you’re ready to step into a bigger role. Maybe you’re managing people for the first time, or you’ve been doing it for a while. You’ve read the books, listened to the management advice podcasts, maybe even participated in some leadership training. But much of the advice out there doesn’t account for the unique challenges you face as a journalism/tech manager when you are a woman, person of color, or in another underrepresented group. From overt dismissal to subtle yet insidious microaggressions, how do we succeed as leaders in an industry where the decision makers are still predominantly white and male? Let’s share advice and brainstorm specific tactics for handling the roadblocks faced by women, people of color, and other underrepresented folks who want to lead and make big things happen. Everyone is welcome to participate, but if you’re in a majority group, aim to listen A LOT more than you talk.
Proposed by Jason Alcorn
This one’s for new parents, anyone who might want to be a parent some day, and the unicorns who have it all figured out. A lot of us got to where we are today by tinkering. We did our real job and then kept going: learning new tools, building things for fun, contributing to friends’ projects. How do we keep being creative — and keep creating — on a parent’s schedule? Let’s hear from each other about how we can adapt, and about the doubts and the triumphs that come along with being a working parent.
It’s easy to forget what it was like to be a new programmer. CSS would send you into float-left-position-relative-margin-top fits, and you would cry into your mousepad over your console letting you know that somehow ‘Undefined is not a function’. Let’s remember that harsh time in our lives and empathize with some of our newer news nerds. We’ll take a trip back to the beginning- except this time, with yarn crafts. Take a break from kvetching about whatever we love to hate about our jobs, and learn a new skill. Not unlike code, with a good tutorial, you can get up and running in about half an hour- but it’s not without its frustrations. Whether you're an old pro or a knitting n00b, grab your granny glasses and the closest cat and let’s craft!
The Brothers Rich feel bad about data. But we want to talk about how we can feel good about it. Join them for a friendly conversation at SRCCON about how we can better inform our audiences using data — even if you're not a coder. We'll share our horror stories, what we've learned, and what you can do to avoid mistakes.
Proposed by Ryan Kellett
"Digital Media Is Like Driving in the Dark at 100 MPH With No Headlights," said a BuzzFeed staffer. And a big part of why every day at work feels like adrenaline-fueled car ride comes from the fact that distributed social platforms have wildly different metrics that count wildly different things. This session is simply to explore what and how to measure the key parts of the platforms that have entered our vernacular over the past year: Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, Snap Stories, Twitter Moments, etc. And the further we get, the more we might be able to help begin crafting not just measurement but what impact and "success" means for platforms that may not be counted in Omniture or Google Analytics.
Proposed by Andrew Leimdorfer
Let's just say there's a scenario like this... We know the story is important. We're not sure how we're going to tell it. We think there's some data available. We definitely want it to look "really special" and it has to go out the same day as the TV broadcast. The graphics team want to go to town on some fabulous interactive data-viz, but development resource is tight and we need to make sure it's mobile first, responsive and and available in Spanish and Arabic. How do you keep a multi-discipline news team happy when it's so hard to pin down the project scope and definition? Does developing for news mean adopting an inherently waterfall processes or are there ways to be more agile? Can we avoid the UX and dev teams acting like an internal agency to editorial clients? Is "process" a dirty word, or do frameworks for project management really help? I've got lots of questions about this. We grapple with it all the time. Maybe we should get together and compare notes?
Proposed by Aurelia Moser
The README serves as welcome-mat to most open source projects, and it's often a critical gateway to engagement in the open source and open journalism space. Good READMEs couple well with other all-caps files like LICENSES, CONTRIBUTOR.md, and CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md files, but sometimes the standards for what to include, how to design, and where to feature your README aren't explicit to new developers or new-to-open-source programmers. Further, projects who bring some special character to their README benefit from attracting more users, earning more publicity and cross-postings, and can be lauded as "cool" even though the actually base project or tech functionality is buggy. That said, even if your tech is 110% awesome, you can lose people if your README, compile instructions, or general repository details are awkward or obscure. This is a session about github netiquette, README design, and repository architecture that engages your chosen community in collaboration and contribution; we'll showcase some cool hacks for advanced README authorship as well as how to create a README that suit your project and prospective contributors alike.
Proposed by Andrew Leimdorfer
One of the things I love about our undergraduate internship for newsroom developers is that every year we can't quite believe we'll cope without them when they go back to finish their degree, but somehow every year we get another cohort that are just as amazing. Another thing I love is that when they complete their degrees a year later, we're number one on their list of prospective employers. And another thing is that, eight years into the program, seven out of the eleven interns who've graduated are now full time developers at the BBC. Four of them are seniors. So, maybe you'd like to share your experiences of running internships and we can compare notes.
Proposed by Chris Chang
The most efficient way to produce results is to be a team of one. That's not practical, and even individuals need some sort of product management to make sure they can deliver things on time. Whether you're making things for the daily news cycle, or thinking about Q3, having effective product management can make a world of difference. A good product manager being rarer than a first edition Charizard, how can we level up our skills to narrow the gap?
When Quartz was sketched on a napkin, the future was mobile-first and on the open-web. In a few short years that landscape is unrecognizable, and the search and social-network referral engines have morphed into distribution behemoths. "Back in the day" our biggest challenge was getting the print side to listen to digital, then moving their attention from Desktop to Mobile. We've barely achieved that and the goalposts have moved even further. Forget recirc, ad-blocking, responsive web, web page performance, native apps - all reduced to minor players in the last year. Now we're in the territory of bots (maybe) and distribution on proprietary platforms. Given finite resources to build a newsroom from scratch what do you focus on from day one? How do you structure scalability, design, distribution, and viability with the journalistic mission to inform the public? Now how does that model compare to your current organization?
Proposed by Liam Andrew
Atoms, particles, chunks, structured stories-- we have different names and methods for slicing and dicing our content. On the distributed web, stories are picked apart, with different pieces appearing in widgets, social media posts, and chat windows. Stories morph to take the shape of their containers, many of which we don't control, whether it's Facebook, Google, Apple, Slack or Snapchat. What is a story nowadays, and what pieces comprise it (people, places, sections, facts, sub-stories)? How can smart tagging and metadata help us extract meaning and gain value? How do we best represent stories in a database, CMS or API? How do we keep stories nimble in response to changing industry standards and requirements?
Proposed by Cathy Deng
Traditional journalism frames its audience as consumers, rather than as citizens with agency. But, people are more than eyeballs. What is the value of information, if it can't inform actions? What are ways to make stories more directly relevant to people's daily lives and decisions? Are there cases where there is a moral obligation to help people act? What kinds of ethical issues can this raise, and how do we call for action responsibly? Let's talk about calls to action, from those that are standard (e.g. share your thoughts in the comments, subscribe) to those that are useful (e.g. donate to disaster relief, find your polling place) to those that are more radical.
Proposed by Justin Myers
If you're a developer in a newsroom, people will have ideas for stuff you should work on. That's great! But chances are they can come up with ideas faster than you can implement them—especially if you're the only one who'll be working on them. How do you decide which ideas get your attention first? And at least as importantly, how do you stay on good terms with all of your colleagues who send you ideas, even those whose ideas probably aren't getting worked on anytime soon?
Proposed by Pamela Assogba
This discussion wants to dive deeper into the pros and cons of remote working. It is often a privilege (mobility, autonomy, etc ...) but can be a bit daunting (feeling like an outsider, quicker to talk face to face, etc...). Where do you stand on that spectrum? We will dive into these specifics(and possibly more): - What does your company/team do to create a sense of community? (ex:Slack) - What do you think your company/team should do to improve that same sense of community? - Do you think remote work is the future? - How will that impact the way journalists report the news? And how will that impact product teams?
As the lines between news and technology increasingly blur, how can you ensure journalism ethics and standards are top of mind? While we're busy adopting new tools, collaborating with tech giants, having said tech giants impose strict publishing rules on us, we have to make sure the trust our audience puts in our ability to tell the news remains the top priority. We’ll host a conversation about what we’ve learned from combining journalism with technology like virtual reality, web scraping, bots and syndication to Apple, Facebook and Google. Then, as a group, we’ll develop a community resource you can take back to your newsroom that will help you navigate those ethical waters whenever the next cool big thing comes your way.
Proposed by Johanna Fulda
You probably have heard about labs like the Knight Lab, the Nieman Lab, or the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab. Those facilities offer open source tools and technologies to figure out the future of digital storytelling and interactive news together with practising journalists. And there are more! Many Computer Science or Engineering labs work on ideas that attempt to make the news reporter's life easier - there just often is a lack of communication and researchers have a hard time finding test users for their tools, whereas journalists don't know about available technologies that could facilitate their workflow. In this session I would like to introduce a few project from research labs that could be interesting for either researching a story or to built interactive elements.
Proposed by Ben Keith
Last year we left SRCCON with heads full of ideas. What have you done with those ideas? What new projects grew out of SRCCON? What have you learned at SRCCON this year? What are your resolutions for the next year? Commit to build something.
jQuery. Python. Gulp. Puppet. Sometimes, it seems like modern computing requires a new framework or set of abstracted tools every week. But old tools can have great strength. The New York Times is running election results with Bash scripts and a command-line Python tool because they're rock solid and easy to debug.
Proposed by Danielle Keeton-Olsen
National news outlets and metropolitan papers realize the need for reporters who code and data-savvy journalists, but what about your suburban and rural hometown papers? As a 20-year-old intern, I taught a reporter in a smaller local newsroom how to use Excel. There are countless uses for developers and tech-minded journalists in newsrooms, but the reporters there might not be equipped with the toolkit necessary to pursue those stories and provider better public service journalism. In this session, I would like to take SRCCON's network of incredible, intelligent journalists and expand that to include reporters at small, local papers, whose continually watch their staffs shrink and budgets get cut. I believe we can form mentor-mentee relationships and come up with ways to teach small-paper journalists to think about data and code, even if it's done remotely (because the internet!). Throughout this session, I hope to brainstorm different ways to forge connections with other journalists; for instance, if you're based in New York City, this would be a great time to get in touch with fellow journalists in Buffalo and Schenectady. These connections would also give big city reporters a better eye into what's happening, and of course, story ideas, in smaller localities.
Proposed by Ben Keith
Bring books to share with other SRCCON attendees. Borrow books from attendees and give your reaction to the collective - reader responses will be collated and published (optionally anonymous) - and we'll provide every reader a way to leave a message with their book's owner.
We have a common language and set of processes for getting a news story reported, vetted and published. But what’s the right process for redesigning a news website? A news app? A data interactive? These projects can become complex. They need to be collaborative. The bosses need to buy in early. Let’s stop winging it. In this session, we’ll discuss what we can borrow from the design industry, which has developed a plethora of methods that can be used to facilitate meetings, surface and prioritize user needs, define project scope, generate ideas and test assumptions, and keep a project moving toward its deadline. We’ll brainstorm the common problems and challenges we all face in managing these projects, and then we’ll tackle the most pressing — sharing and evaluating which design methods might work best to solve them.
Proposed by Joe Germuska
Science Fiction authors often embed deep insights into the future of technology within their stories. Come to this session to share examples of fascinating science fictional treatments of media and networked communication with other attendees and geek out about who got it right and who may yet come out correct. (My idea is to solicit ahead of time 4-6 super fans who are willing to give low-key lightning talks summarizing plots with an emphasis on the interesting media bits.)
Proposed by Pamela Assogba
Developers, software engineers, designers, etc, can all attest to solving problems on the job. Yet, it's one thing to be logical in the professional realm, and another to keep the same practicality in life. This discussion wants to dive a little bit in problem solvers' minds when they're faced with life problems. Do they apply the same reasoning and critical thinking? If not, why is that? Understanding that life problems have different implications than work ones, it would be interesting to look at the differences and assess if they truly make life problems harder to approach. At work, it's not very recommended to ignore a task because it's hard, or painful. So why do it when it comes life problems that may affect our happiness? On the other hand, if problem solvers keep the same pragmatic mentality in real life, has that proven to be successful? If so how do they keep a level head, and how to others receive it? Without needing to go into private details, this session could be a short and interesting discussion on whether or not the work brain can be successfully applied to life.
Proposed by Thomas Wilburn
Chances are your newsroom uses Google apps in some capacity: you might use Docs for planning, Sheets for data storage and editing, and Calendar to share scheduling. But are you getting the most out of them? Did you know that you can use a built-in scripting language to mutate Google Apps in countless ways--turning it into a server, a scraper, or a mail alert system? In this session, I'll walk through real Apps Script systems that we've built at the Times, including storing user-generated content for static apps, geocoding thousands of addresses, and parsing through scraped data. It won't be pretty, and it won't be perfect, but it'll add new utility to the tools you're already using--not to mention those magic words in a cash-starved newsroom: it's free!
Proposed by Dan Nguyen
Major projects don't often start out as major. If there's something you care about, then do the small, everyday steps that build the foundation and passion needed for actually launching a project or investigation, rather than procrastinating because of self-perceived limitations in skills or technological stack. This is a round-table discussion for veterans to share those initial, mundane, and necessary steps and improvisations that are often glossed over when describing a project's success, and for participants to talk about the obstacles that block them in the early stages of their endeavors. ("Do what is right and do it now" was reportedly a favorite saying of Dr. Virginia Apgar, who revolutionized obstetrics by inventing a simple 10-point scale to quickly gauge the health of newborn babies)
Proposed by Paola Villarreal
Proposed by Katie Steiner
The Engaging News Project has researched a variety of ways to improve comments sections, including getting journalists involved in the comments and finding alternatives to the "Like" button. We now want to take our research to the next level and explore if/how the design of comments can affect civility. In this session, we will brainstorm new formats for displaying comments and discuss how changing the look of the comments may affect the conversation.
I've always wondered what the network of bike thieves looks like. Do they all go to one place for immediate sale, do they go to hubs and get wholesaled or something, or do they go to one-off places. Pending funding, we'll get some number of GPS transmitters, some number of used bikes, then put the transmitters on the bike during the session. Then we'll distribute them around Portland to see if they get stolen, and then track where they go.
Proposed by Pietro Passarelli
In this session we’ll discuss our experiences on how to approach the problem of building tools for journalist in the newsroom. How do you gather user requirements and ensure it is an effective solution for your users problem before investing time and resources into developing it? We’ll consider techniques such as the so called "Mum Test", ways of modelling the problem domain, a Lean way to make hypothesis and iterate, and and component based design R&D prototyping approach as successful ways to build solid foundations and be able to quickly pivot should you need to do so.
Using some of the videos from the Whistle Blowers Interview Archive, we’ll take an hands on approach to explore key concepts, ideas and techniques to identify narrative points, test out story ideas, and craft a compelling story. This session focusses on the underlying evergreen storytelling principles that transcend the medium, so no knowledge of video editing required, just curiosity towards story telling principles and techniques.
A recent Guardian analysis based on abuse reports placed on over 70 million comments on the our site found that of the ten regular authors who received the most abuse 8 were female and the two men were black. This research formed part of the ‘Web We Want’ campaign exploring abuse online how to improve quality of conversation on the web. Publishing the data inevitably raises the question of how we respond to the issues raised: We will share our methodology and ask how we can encourage other UGC hosts to open their abuse data? Plus tackle some of the challenges in how to respond, namely, is it possible to de-toxify the discussion around topics we found attract higher amounts of abuse like Israel/Palestine and Feminism, or for particular contributors? How to manage the moderation load whilst maintaining a civil conversation? Can we quantify the value of on site UGC platforms, given the cost and complexity of maintaining them? Are there elements of best practice we can take from different sites, to construct what an ideal participation experience would look like?
Proposed by Lisa Charlotte Rost
As journalists and content-producer, we offer our audience a view on the world - and shape their beliefs about it. Beliefs will influence how people feel about the world and how to act in it. So how do we want these beliefs to be? And which kind of journalism would be needed to achieve them? We'll start high-level and talk about (conflicting) goals in journalism and its responsibility in our society. With this discussion in mind, we go downwards on the ladder of abstraction and explore specific journalistic tools and principles in smaller groups. Examples of the directions these discussions could take are "immersive journalism with VR / empathy building vs. a neutral stance", "exemplification / stories vs. stats / 'reality' / data vis" and "investigative journalism / journalism as activism vs. journalism as unbiased observer". If you've ever asked yourself: "What are we publishing to our audience and why are we actually doing it?", that's the right session for you.
Proposed by Matt Johnson
Since the emergence of responsive design a few years ago, offering a mobile-friendly display mode for your news website is a basic requirement for virtually everyone. However, we now face a growing array of other ways to distribute our content to readers using mobile devices: native iOS and Android apps, AMP, Facebook Instant, Apple News, and more. This session will dive into the array of questions we face in confronting the restrictions these environments place on interactives and storytelling. It will give us a chance swap strategies for building code that works great (or at least works) on these platforms, and a space to talk about navigating the business and editorial pressure to use them over traditional responsive mobile experiences.
Proposed by Ingrid Burrington
Software maintenance has been estimated to account for between 60 and 70% of costs in the average software development project. In a newsroom setting, writing and building on deadline and with an eye toward long-term maintenance is a tricky balance. Neglecting it can lead to linkrot, deprecated apps, and a lazy reliance on SEO to define the public record; overemphasizing it may induce existential paralysis. How are different newsrooms building, producing, and maintaining their apps and/or large, complex stories? Who's responsible for this kind of archiving and preservation work? And how do the methods of archiving shape the future of the story itself? This session will discuss a few case studies of both neglected and well-maintained projects (primarily in the context of reporting on large file dumps and data leaks) to explore potential guiding principles for maintenance-driven journalism. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to share examples of broken or well-maintained news apps or instances of what they consider successes or failures in journalism maintenance.
Proposed by Matt Neznanski
No matter the focus, your organization has a mission: ad revenue, subscriptions, social change, engagement. And you need to monitor all the things, including (increasingly) visual and interactive elements. It's easy to get overwhelmed when looking at a dashboard or set of data. Let's build a matrix of metrics that measure your mission.
Proposed by Justin Reese
You're throwing a fancy party for your friends, so you hire a chef. There are certain expectations between you and the chef: they will cook food; the food will be good; they will respect your home; they will reflect well upon you and treat your friends as their own guests; they will not put business cards on each plate; they will not poison your friends, introduce wolves, or burn your house down. These guidelines apply equally well to those of us providing shareable components for embedding on other people's websites. We are co-hosts to other people's guests. We should provide the service we advertise on the tin, not break people's stuff, and generally remember we are part of someone else's story and need to make them look better to their readers. (And not inject malware.) Through discussion and example, we'll explore the various concerns especially relevant to third-party shareable component providers, and curate a clear and concise set of best practices.
Proposed by Chris Chang
We often change jobs (hopefully voluntarily, but very often not!). Have you ever thought about going into a tech job outside journalism? I thought I was well prepared when I changed jobs, but I wasn't. There's a lot more personalities and pressures out there I wish I knew more about before I made the shift. Should we be preparing people better? Are you thinking about making the jump? And how can the journalism community get people to come to the light?
So much of what we talk about on empathy and compassion in journalism focuses on writing, but what does it mean if you're not primarily a writer? Let's come up with a set of questions about what it means to be honest, open, and respectful when it comes to storytelling, code-sharing, and connecting with your readers, your coworkers, your colleagues in the news industry, and yourself. We'll split up into 3 or 4 groups and try to answer a different question for each group.
Proposed by Adrienne Debigare
Human Centered Design is great, right!? We all love to include our users early and often when we're developing products. It ensures more successful releases, happier customers, and less development redundancy. But what about stakeholders? How and when we include various department stakeholders can dictate make or break on-time releases, features additions (or subtractions), and an overall smooth or bumpy development process. So why not take the methodology of HCD and apply it to our product management workflow?
Whether you like it or not (*cough* Dan *cough*), Virtual Reality is coming fast and it is a lot more than just 360-degree videos. This session brings VR Journalism industry leaders to talk about how they produce their experiences and how design and development are key to storytelling.
Let's take a walk through the existing ecosystem of The Coral Project - by installing it on your own machine. We'll share how it's built, supply dummy data so you can play with it immediately, and discuss how to approach big problems with ambitious open-source software.
We've done a huge amount of user research for The Coral Project. We've talked to more than 300 people in 30 countries. We've talked to trolls, developers, journalists, commenters, non-commenters, publishers... and we're still doing it. But how do you know when to stop the research and start building? When do you know enough to get to work? How do you store, share, synthesize your work for the rest of the team? We haven't many answers, but plenty of examples and a lot of questions for everyone to consider.
Proposed by Alan Palazzolo
Let's take a moment and get away from the weighty, important conversations and just make/hack something. In a short amount of time, and through a loosely structured format, you will make something. That something could be a more fully-formed idea, a better title and mission for an existing project, a paper prototype of a news app, a drawing of a visualization, an interview process and actual interview, a quickly coded prototype, code tests for a project, a new logo, and so much more. Just come with a small, achievable idea. Groups are welcome, but its suggested to keep them at no more than 2 or 3 people.
Proposed by Gideon Goldberg
With the ‘silent movie’ format of autoplaying Facebook News Feed videos, captioning has gone from being an accessibility concern, to being the primary hook many viewers will have into your video. Let’s share examples of publishers making the most of this new creative format which demands a different story-telling style, combining text, animation and video. Optimising for this silent format is also a great reason to make your videos accessible through subtitles or closed-captions. Whether you’re already captioning your videos or looking to get started let’s go through recently developed tools for making this easier including crowdsourcing (Amara) and Speech To Text (Trint) and how you can integrate them into your workflows publishing on YouTube and Facebook.
Proposed by Brian J Brennan
According to this Very Scientific™ poll, ~75% of developers still primarily rely on `console.log` debugging: https://twitter.com/brianloveswords/status/717749353914490881. While there is nothing wrong with `console.log`, modern browsers contain a rich suite of tools that can help you debug even some of the gnarliest nested callback pyramids and promise chains. In this session we'll show you some of those tools and teach you how to use them so next time you're running into problems you might not have to debug with `console.log("why isn't this workinggggg")`.
Writing down processes, goals, and workflows is an important part of building healthy, transparent, and collaborative teams. But finding time to write and making sure that people read those documents is a constant challenge. This session will lean into the expertise and experience of attendees to explore methods for building solid documentation practices into a team’s culture.
Today, on average, a student will take over 112 mandatory standardized tests between K12, in addition to other key exams such as the SAT or ACT. Additionally, many states have switched over to computer adaptive testing (such as the SmarterBalanced or MAP), which requires different analysis than the old, standards based exams. Even further complicating matters, This presents a large trough of open data that is meaningful information to our audience. However, obtaining and interpreting this data is complicated. This session will present the “test lifecycle”, we’ll talk about how to obtain the data, and finally, compare analysis methods and tooling for reporting on this data. This session will serve as a kickoff of an attempt to build a shared online repository of test-data reporting tools and tricks, including a data mirror for FOIA’d data, links to analysis packages such as MapVizieR, and a how-to guide.
Proposed by Pamela Assogba
You got an offer to work at a really cool, and rapidly growing company. Your new title, “junior [insert specifics here]” has been added to your email signature, Facebook and Twitter accounts. You start on the job, full of excitement about opportunities to grow, learn, and gain more leverage in the industry. Then you come to realize that the company has a lot going on, and the harder, grittier tasks that would foster your growth are only assigned to senior level employees. You are given problems that aren’t somewhat challenging, but not very impactful. You go through moments of panic, frustration, and loss. In the long run, how do you do to maintain your happiness and engagement? This is a scenario that seems to be recurrent amongst junior employees at large companies, but this session is for anyone that has felt that their skills weren’t being fostered in the workplace. The discussion would be roughly divided like so: - Are people making excuses, or are they genuinely being smothered by corporations for various reasons (culture, personality, etc...)? - What are some ways to get out of these unfulfilling situations, or avoid them altogether, at the individual scale? - Do you have ideas of what corporations could do to facilitate (and monitor) the growth of their junior (or any) employees?
Proposed by Robin Kwong
What if I told you there’s more to running a newsroom experiment than just trying out a new thing for the first time? That there are processes to make sure you’ll get the most out doing them, and that the rest of your newsroom will benefit, too. Using practical exercises, this session will take you through the steps of planning a newsroom experiment and, crucially, what to do afterwards. You will come away from this session with a framework for how to structure and plan newsroom experiments
Proposed by Robin Kwong
This is a roundtable discussion on the role of art in journalism. Should we try to create art in our work, or should we aim to convey new information in as efficient a manner as possible? Or, maybe, the two are compatible? What is the value of information in an age where scoops are instantaneously retweeted and replicated? (but where it is still hard to copy the experience of, say, the Washington Post’s The Waypoint or The Guardian's 6x9 VR project) People might no longer be willing to pay for information they can get for free on Twitter, Facebook, or Google, but might they pay for meaningful and informative experiences? Finally, if we do set out to create art, in what ways do we need to change how we’re organised?
Proposed by Travis Swicegood
There's talk of what a news app developer does versus the developers that work on your CMS. Should your news apps team be protected from the crazy demands placed on your CMS developers? Should your CMS developers have some idea what journalists are looking for? This session explores this topic from all sides.
Proposed by Dan Zajdband
In this session the attendees will learn how to enrich stories with VR experiences without the help of developers using open source tools based on web standards. This experiences can be distributed as websites or embed as widgets and are ready for headsets like the Oculus Rift and the Google Cardboard. The presented tools includes a project called GuriVR (gurivr.com), developed as part of my Knight-Mozilla fellowship.
Proposed by Sandhya Kambhampati
We talk a lot about documenting our work throughout projects, but we really don't talk enough about how we can use better documentation to start us off in our jobs with the right knowledge and technology stack of the newsroom. For example, when someone leaves the newsroom is there some type of minimum documentation that they have to do or is there no expectation set for this? What about all of the institutional knowledge that people take when they leave a newsroom? Should there be guidelines on what sources and information you leave behind so the next person doesn't have to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel? Let's have a discussion about newsroom on-boarding and off-boarding processes and how we, as a news nerd community, can work through some simple ways together to make these processes more efficient and useful for the future.
Proposed by Martin Shelton
How do we encourage better security hygiene in the newsroom? As news organizations conduct research and connect with sources, we may not always understand how our data can be "leaked" through both legal and technical means. In this guided conversation, we examine the challenges for controlling our information, how to protect ourselves, and the limitations of contemporary security software. Through this discussion, we can identify challenges demanding further development as well as effective techniques to empower journalists and developers to secure the newsroom.
Proposed by Andy Hazel
I will outline the workings of Australian national weekly newspaper The Saturday Paper ( https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/). My talk will cover how and why it was launched, look at its business model, how its office is structured and how it can offer a model for a future of print journalism.
How can we make sure that our data stories are being held to a high standard? It can be hard to fight the temptation to draw sweeping conclusions with bad data, but perhaps there are ways to put checks and balances in place to make sure that our analysis is accurate. Let's discuss peer review processes and things that have worked in newsrooms and methods that have proved ineffective. Is there a best-practices approach to holding ourselves accountable for the data stories we tell?
Proposed by Brian Boyer
Your newsroom finally gets it -- graphics and visuals and internet things are awesome. So now they want a nerd team. And they've put you in charge. Shit. Nobody in your newsroom can coach you on how to hire a designer or mentor a developer or manage a software project. So you're making it up as you go. Well, that's what the rest of us did too. But it'd be a damn shame if we all kept making the same mistakes. Let's talk.
1. Getting the software: Docker , Jupyter Notebooks (Python 3 and R) on Windows, MacOS X and Linux laptops. Users will need to install Docker hosting on their laptops but the rest of the software and data will be provided. 2. Getting Major League Baseball data - Sports Data Query Language, Lahman, Retrosheet and PITCHF/x 3. Graphical methods - plotting strike zones in R and Python 3 4. openWAR - Wins Above Replacement player (R)
Proposed by Emily Goligoski
“A new form of journalism.” That’s what George Gallup said that asking people about their preferences equates to—and that was back in the 1930s (“Politics and the New Machine,” The New Yorker, November 16, 2015). The goal of listening to audiences isn’t a new one and is highly valuable for producing powerful news presentations. Yet many media organizations aren’t utilizing user research today because of lack of funds, recording equipment, physical space and/or expert guidance. In lacking easy ways to gain insights into people's busy lives, news teams can become overly dependent on their own instincts. This results in unimaginative story presentations and tired templates that fail to engage existing and would-be audiences. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s discuss and sketch what a user research toolkit for distributed news teams might look like. What combination of methods for listening and observation (including but not limited to interviews, surveys, usability testing and co-design techniques) would help your own team’s efforts? How can we best enable people working across functions to run their own audience research? What would it take for newsrooms to adopt a more flexible take on the traditional usability lab? This session will involve a lot of creativity as well as real talk about organizational change and costs considerations. Come join as we democratize user experience research access to make improvements for reader, viewer and listener benefit.
Proposed by Erin Grau and Brian Hamman
We all know that it's important to have more diversity in tech, but there has been frustrating little progress on this front. It can be demoralizing when senior executives don't prioritize diversity as an issue and the task of changing the culture at a company can feel overwhelming. These challenges are especially acute at companies that have not historically considered themselves tech companies, because the senior leadership is often not as aware of the barriers and biases against women in technical roles. As we continue to expand the technology group at The New York Times, we are actively invested in diversity and inclusion. We firmly believe that our workforce should reflect our audience, which is global and diverse. Diversity drives growth and innovation, and a diverse workforce allows us to best serve our readers by speaking authentically about more experiences. We are organizing this session to brainstorm and discuss on-the-ground techniques to support the hiring, retention and advancement of diverse talent in technology, with a focus on how to effect change at large organization outside of Silicon Valley. This talk will introduce some of the obstacles commonly seen in diversity efforts and allow for a discussion around solutions to the most common pitfalls.
Proposed by Amanda Krauss
Do you, or anyone you know, feel personally victimized by tech debt? If you work for any sort of digital organization, the answer is probably yes. If you’re on the tech side, you feel frustrated when you try to tell non-coders and business folks why it’s a priority. If you’re not on the tech side, you feel frustrated at hearing the phrase “tech debt” repeated over and over, without any apparent connection to your department’s priorities. If we take a step back, we might find that debt isn't right metaphor for what we’re talking about. What we call "tech debt" is incurred not by individual debtors, but by organization-wide processes (or lack thereof). And unlike monetary debt, most tech debt can’t be paid off quickly, even if you have financial resources to throw at it. We need better ways to describe what tech debt is, how it builds up, and how to fix it, in terms that the whole company can understand. In this session, I’ll talk about metaphors (such as home renovation) that have helped our newsroom unite in our success over considerable tech debt, and invite participants to share their own experiences of explaining or hearing about technical debt. By creating a campaign to explain tech debt effectively, participants will leave equipped to get organizational buy-in by making communication the first step of your technical debt plan.
Proposed by Bo Peng
As a data science consultant, I use methods from statistics, machine learning, and design to solve problems. Communicating our findings effectively is to key to our success; it’s important to both 1) faithfully and accurately present the data, the findings, and our recommendations, while 2) presenting all of that information in a quick, easily digestible way. Often, our end users don’t have the time or technical expertise to comprehensively study our entire method, but neither do they ever want to blindly trust a “black box” method. So where is the in-between? I'll start the discussion by going through some of our experiences in communicating data science ideas both honestly and intuitively: from data visualization design choices, to experiential learning as a means for clients to understand complex ideas, to presentations with our end-to-end approach illustrated in simple analogies. Then I'd like to open up the floor, and learn from everybody else's experience. Time willing, I'd like to provide the opportunity for people to take a stab at presenting technical ideas of their own, and present them to the group in an intuitive way.
Proposed by David Yanofsky
Sometimes the best solution for a problem isn't very user friendly, whether it be command line tools, graphics software, or pretty much any GIS system. Let's talk about the successes and failures of training people in our newsrooms to use highly technical or very specialized tools and brainstorm some more that none of us have tried yet.
Proposed by Annie Daniel
Let’s talk about our internship programs from both sides of the fence. Internships are weird. For interns, they’re faced with crippling imposter syndrome on top of whatever college obligations they have, plus the quest for a job. They see listings mention things like D3, Angular and Django and freeze with uncertainty. Most students are lucky if they’ve had a class mention even one of those things. This internship could mean a shining opportunity, or it could mean realizing that they’re a heap of useless and don’t know anything. No pressure. For mentors, they have jobs and projects and deadlines and bosses. They’re doing their best to keep up with editorial demands while staying current with the latest libraries and design trends. Then, every summer a heap of applications arrive on your desk, and they all look and sound the same. Eventually, the interns arrive and need to be on-boarded (not only with the org’s CMS, but also with the team’s development environment), brought up to speed on stories and ongoing projects, and given assignments all within a few days. Plus if they screw up, it’s on you. How can we improve our internship programs and make it a little easier on both sides? How can we increase diversity and be more realistic with our technical expectations? Let’s talk about how to make this better from application to potential hires.
Proposed by Neil Wargo
A redesign is a seemingly ever-looming cloud over any publication's web presence, a matter of when, not if. Whether it’s a simple personal blog or the web’s most trafficked sites, the underlying motivations and strategies are often the same. The goal of this group discussion is to dissect the culture surrounding the redesign to learn from one another what makes for a successful redesign, from the initial planning process to the post-mortem, with a focus on the following topics: - Motivations and factors contributing to the decision to redesign - Organizational and project management approaches to the discovery, design and development process - Finding the appropriate balance of risk, innovation and user familiarity - Surprises discovered, either along the way or after launching - Interacting with users and accepting user feedback - Assessing the successes and failures of a redesign after launching Please join and bring your redesign war stories.
Proposed by Boris van Hoytema
Most of us are probably already working with Git (or similar) for code, but how do we spread the benefits of working iteratively across the disciplines we work with on a day to day basis. How can we involve journalists, editors, illustrators, designers and others into the process to build amazing content together and use everyone's talents to the fullest. Do we get everyone on GitHub, explain branching, move to markdown, or is there something we can do with API's? Let's discuss how we can, and we can convince our colleagues of the benefits of, interdisciplinary collaboration.
Proposed by Heather Taylor
In this increasingly data-driven world, where more and more information is available from governments, nonprofits and businesses, the ability to analyze and find compelling stories in data has become an essential skill for journalists. Let’s dive into a conversation about building the pipeline for your dream digital media and data team. What experiences and skills do new hires and prospective interns need? How can journalism schools and media foundations adapt their programs?
Proposed by Kavya Sukumar
Do you work remotely? Do you miss the office coffee machine and happy hours? Or are you happy that you don't have to deal with the commute anymore? Can journalists work remotely effectively? Is it a news-dev privilege? Remote working tend to be a divisive topic in the journalism. It opens up a world of options and at the same time throw up challenges that you might not encounter otherwise. Let us talk about what you love and miss about being away from your co-workers and share tips and tricks of making remote work.
Proposed by Thomas Wilburn
At the end of 2014, Eric Meyer opened his Facebook feed to see an automated post marked "your year in review," with a picture of his daughter--who had died that year from a brain tumor--surrounded by clip art of partygoers, confetti, and balloons. Nobody meant to cause Meyer harm, but thoughtlessness in the design of the feature (what he termed "inadvertent algorithmic cruelty") still left him shaken. And countless other examples abound. Of course, in the news industry, we're no strangers to accidental (and disastrous) juxtaposition: real estate ads placed next to stories on homelessness, bots that generate cringe-worthy content, and scheduled social media posts that go out during the worst kind of breaking news. In this session, we'll look at case studies of humane and inhumane design, practice identifying pitfalls in our news apps, and figure out how to care for our readers beyond just transmitting information.
Botkit is a powerful open-source botmaking toolkit created by Howdy that can be used to create all kinds of conversational interfaces for software. Ben and Eric from the Botkit team will give an introduction to the project and tell you everything you need to know to get started making awesome bots using natural language processing and more!
Proposed by Jake Spurlock
*Or, how we broke the Internet to reinvent it. Steward Brand famously said that, "On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time." Publishers are continually looking for new angles to release content. It moved from the desktop, to mobile, and now from the browser into apps. App publishers require even more control, in the last year, we have seen the proliferation of publishing change hands from just HTML/CSS/JS to Google's AMP project, Facebook Instant Articles, and Apple News. Markup has been replaced with data models, and the browser wars have evolved into social network insights.
Proposed by Gina Boysun
You know how to do your job. You write code, you build apps that rock. You deploy them. But how in the often-still-old-school newsroom, do you explain, pitch or update your progress to your manager in a way that helps them understand and advocate on your behalf? In newsrooms of old, jobs were pretty easy to understand. Reporters, Editors, photographers, illustrators. Let's explore the best ways to make your non-tech peers and more importantly, your boss understand how you do your job. Ideas? How to talk time management, analogies for clarity, what can be done, what cannot (OK, anything can be done, but should it?)