From navel gazing to ass kicking: Building leadership in the journalism code community

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B301


Amidst all the hand wringing surrounding the "future of journalism," developers, designers, and data geeks working in newsrooms are building projects and tools that engage readers and ripple across the web. We'll discuss ways this community welcomes, supports, and promotes new members and leaders.


As more news organizations embrace and experiment with the possibilities of journalism on the open web, the community of coders, designers, and data geeks working within newsrooms continues to expand. Civic hackers and open source developers are joining newsrooms or developing projects that connect journalists and readers with information to better understand the world around us. Plus, people who have been at this for years are eager to share their expertise and support the development of new leaders.

Knight-Mozilla OpenNews has found that there are a variety of ways to support this community and leadership development within it. Central to our approach is meeting people where they are already at and giving them the support they ask for, not dictating what we think they need. In this talk, we’ll discuss some of what we’ve learned about:

  • Engaging new members in the community, often from different fields or backgrounds that are under-represented in journalism technology
  • Reaching out to existing groups to collaborate and share resources and lessons
  • Creating spaces for community members to share and learn from one another
  • Supporting community members in developing leadership skills and broadening the group of people peers look to as leaders

Journalism development has a long history with open source, as tools like Django and Backbone began in newsrooms. The community-driven ethos of open source remains a part of much newsroom development.


journalism, leadership, community

Speaking experience

National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporter Conference, 2014
Online News Association Conference, 2013 (, 2011 (
Mozilla Festival, 2013, 2012
Drupaldelphia, 2012 (, 2011