Phillip Smith

How to create an 'explosion of awesome' in your home town

“Journalism and data collide into an awesome explosion” – BCNI Philly

The Knight-Mozilla News Technology challenges officially kicked off last week. The first challenge – Unlocking Video – has seen more than forty submissions with three days still to go until the challenge closes. (If you were going to submit an entry to this challenge, time to get a move on!)

By far, we’ve found that the most effective way to do outreach is face-to-face. To facilitate as much of that as possible, we’re working with Hacks/Hackers and other organizations to encourage local events that bring people together to brainstorm challenge entries.

So far, there have been outreach events in:

There are currently events planned for:

  • Managua, May 8
  • San Salvador, May 11
  • Guatemala City, May 13
  • Dundee May 27 (tentative)
  • London, May 28 (tentative)
  • Birmingham, UK, May 31
  • Seattle, TBA
  • Berlin, TBA

Don’t see your city listed? What a perfect opportunity to pick-up the gauntlet and organize one. Michelle Thorne has been kind enough to pull together a bunch of resources to help you organize your own local event – it’s easy, it’s fun, and a great excuse to get your local ‘hacks’ and hackers together.

(I especially like the new Bingo cards that Jenny 8. Lee suggested. Great ice breaker.)

Most recently, I headed down to Philadelphia to do a (super-productive, if I say so myself) MoJo session at BarCamp News Innovation. As usual, I managed to corner a bunch of interesting people, point a video camera at them, and then asked them what they were doing there:

Many thanks to the following folks for subjecting themselves to the camera:

If you’d like help creating an ‘explosion of awesome’ in your city, or at your next event, drop us a line.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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