Phillip Smith

Going to @ONAConf this month? Live near Boston? Come to the #HacksHackers hack day on Sept 22!

This summer managed to fly right by, and this fall is lining up to be pretty darn exciting too. It’ll all get kicked off with the Hacks/Hackers Hacking @ ONA11 event. Together with our friends Chrys Wu of Hacks/Hackers and Matt Carrol of the Boston Globe (and one of the organizers behind The Boston Hack Day Challenge), Mozilla is helping to pull together a kick-ass day of hacking and making on September 22nd – the day before the annual Online News Association conference.

The ONA conference on its own is a not-to-be-missed event (I’ve heard it referred to as South-by-Southwest for journalism nerds) that brings together more than 900 people from news organizations across North America and around the world. I had the opportunity to attend the ONA conference in 2006 when it was in Toronto and managed to connect one-on-one with folks like Anil Dash and Rob Curley, and many other people doing incredible work in the field of journalism-meets-technology. That sold it for me.

However, you don’t need to be going to ONA11 to come to the Hacks/Hackers Hacking @ ONA11 event. All are welcome. Registration is just $20.

So far we have people registered from:

  • Thompson Reuters
  • The New York Times
  • Ottawa Citizen
  • WNYC
  • Scripps Howard
  • MIT
  • Tableau Software
  • Harvard Press
  • La Nacion

Don’t wait until the last minute; we only have 100 spots available! Register today.

Chrys, Matt, and I are working hard to get the word out, and to bring in a fantastic line-up of sponsors and developer/advocates from platforms like Reuters Connect and Rovi. If you can help get the word out, or you’re a news-related technology vendor in the Boston area that would like to send a developer that can help with the integration of your service or API, please get in touch.

We’ve also just confirmed that my own personal favourite Platform-as-a-Service company, dotCloud, will be joining the event as a sponsor. The other event sponsors include: Microsoft, Mozilla, Knight Foundation, and Rovi. All that to say, we should have some great food and awesome prizes.

The theme for the hack day is broadly going to be about “News APIs,” and we’re about to start collecting a large list of APIs and data sources for participants to draw from (fingers crossed that Infochimps joins as a sponsor of the event!), but you can feel free to come to the hack day and work on just about anything relating to technology & news, reporting, or journalism. Non-coders are encouraged to attend, and we’ll have lots of suggestions for what you can work on too. This is as much of a “hacking on ideas” day, as it is about building software.

So, if you’re attending ONA11, please join us on Thursday, September 22nd for what is sure to be a fast-paced, idea-packed, day of MakerCulture in action. And, if you live near Boston, please consider making the trip to the rather-awesome Microsoft Nerd Center to meet newsroom developers from around the world for a day of hands-on software building.

Drop me a line if you have quesitons, suggestions, or feedback. And, get registered!


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.