FAQ’s: what you – desperately – want to know about our hackathons

For whom is this?
Journalists, designers, coders and everybody who cares for good and innovative journalism.

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What the heck is a hackathon?
It’s a pressure cooker, in which interdisciplinary teams co-create prototypes for online projects. Hackathons have taken the world by a storm and evolved, transitioning from a stereotypical computer programming weekend with energy drinks and pizza, into a place where coders and non-coders are figuring out the future of the web while learning by doing. Our Hackastory hackathon especially caters to and is focused on media and journalism.

Is this hackathon for me? I’m not techie!
That’s fine. One of our participants, a senior newspaper journalist, said this:

I was afraid to enter this tech world. It was a parallel universe with technical experts I did not dare to enter, afraid to be eaten alive. But I found out my storytelling skills were as important as their technical skills. Also, when you’re building innovative products nobody is an expert and everybody has a steep learning curve.

She absolutely right. Most important things are: you’re up for some hands on learning experience, you like to think outside of the box and you like to take a plunge into the unknown.

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Why a hackathon?
We see experts like journalists, developers and designers are still working in separate worlds, unable to speak each other’s languages. They rarely really work together simultaneously from the beginning of a project. We believe that we need to bridge this gap and bring these professionals together to increase understanding and foster collaboration to innovate in the field of digital storytelling.

Do I need to sign up with a group?
Nope! We make sure everybody is in a well balanced group. Each participant will work in a team of 5.

I can only attend part of the program? (applicable for hackathon in partnership with conferences)
A hackathon is a group process so we prefer participants to be there for the whole ride. When we have too many people interested we will select those who are available for the entire program.

What happens with the ideas?
If the hackathon is open to the public the projects will be open source. Sharing = caring.

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Why does Hackastory exists?
We believe journalism has to strengthen its role as verifier, explainer and contextualizer to create understanding and bring people together in this world. This is it, the most unpredictable of times and the best of times. We believe news and journalism will thrive if we come together and build the future through continuous experimentation.

During the past two years we worked with 1000 journalists, newsroom developers and designers from dozens of countries around the world. Thanks to them we figured it out. We now know what it takes to change journalism for the better. This is it.



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