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Brainstorm Civic Data Projects with Syracuse Media Group -- with appetizers!

  • Sep 4, 2013 · 6:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

The Syracuse Media Group, home to, is interested in engaging with the local hacker community. They've agreed to host our next meetup at their swanky new headquarters on the corner of Fayette and Warren streets which has several interesting spaces that are open to the community. Thanks to John Lammers, the director of content for and the Post-Standard and one of our newest Hacks/Hackers members, for the offer.

The focus of this meetup will be to brainstorm some civic data projects with journalists, including some from but hopefully also public radio and Newhouse journalism students. It was inspired by a similar meeting between our sister Hacks/Hackers organization in Rochester and reporters for the Innovation Trail.

Here's a working agenda for the meetup. If anyone in attendance wants to share something they're working on that's relevant to the group, please speak up. We want this to be an open, collaborative experience.


6-6:20: Socializing over appetizers.

6:20-6:30: Background from Pacheco on the Hacks and Hackers movement, the growing importance of programming and collaboration with coders to digital media sites, and examples of what major media brands like the NYTimes, The Guardian and Washington Post are doing in this space.

6:30-6:40: Matthew Leonard from WXXI and the Innovation Trail about their involvement with Hacks and Hackers in Rochester, and the types of community collaborations underway.

6:40-6:50: Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow Dan Schultz on his year at The Boston Globe as a programmer-journalist.  Intro to others.

6:50-7: S.I Newhouse School teachers Jon Glass and Barbara Fought on how they're incorporating things like data journalism into their courses.

7-7:40: Hacks/Hackers members show some of their technology and discuss its application to journalism, including:
  + Tim Duffy (Rochester), PDF extraction and mapping
  + Lorne Covington, immersive environments and gesture-based interfaces
  + Dan Pacheco on what member Daniel Sieradski (who can't make it) has been doing around training journalists how to protect sources through encryption.

7:40-8: Brainstorming with reporters from and Innovation Trail about projects they're working on that include data and code.

8 on: "Birds of a feather" time for people who have shared interests and skills to discuss how to collaborate in the future.


More context:


At a previous meetup in Rochester, Hacks/Hackers member Tim Duffy showed a system he's built that scrapes crime data from and presents it in a more easily navigable daily map:
The code is all open sourced along with other civic media projects here:

This evolved into a discussion between public radio reporters who have data that needs analysis in order to find stories, and developers who have no problem crunching and munching data but need help understanding what it all means. They are now working together on data-driven stories.

What other data is lurking out there that could be brought to light through civic hacking, and what kinds of stories might emerge that would help the people of Syracuse? Is this the future of community journalism? It's definitely a part, as evidenced by this WSJ story shared by our member Lorne Covington:

Hope to see you at what's sure to be an exciting next meetup!

-Dan Pacheco

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  • Dan P.

    I may be biased as the organizer, but I thought this Hacks & Hackers meetup was our bet yet. There were a good turnout, great speakers showing very interesting things they're working on, and good interaction between participants. Also, provided an awesome meeting space along with munches and beer.

    September 5, 2013

  • Joel B.

    Really wanted to go to this, but can't make it. Would love to see some kind of notes or something of the presentations.

    I once had a webpage that would poll Google News daily, to see the number of mentions of each presidential candidate during an election year. It would then graph those numbers on top of each other, allowing you to learn at a glance, the amount of media coverage of each candidate.

    September 4, 2013

  • Daniel S.

    It's Rosh Hashanah. Can't go. :(

    August 30, 2013

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