Good afternoon from SPARK-East

Howdy. It has been a bit of a slow afternoon here at SPARK-East, but I did have a visit from freelance writer Alexander Diakonis, who has written a few pieces for Heritage, including a feature piece on an Ypsilanti man with a leap year birthday.

We talked a bit about the future of journalism and what we, as journalists, should focus on learning to enhance our craft.

It’s fairly obvious to any journalist or student looking to break into the business that there is no such thing as a “reporter” any more. It might be a title, but it’s not a reality. We all have to be very comfortable with not just video, photography and audio, but also better ways to share those things online.

This connection graph shows the number of Twitter users who used the term "data journalism" on May 1, 2011. Neiman Lab led the pack.

With that in mind, I spent part of my afternoon learning more about data journalism and what sort of relationships journalists should develop with hackers/computer programmers/technologists. As it turns out, there are a fair amount of hackers who are concerned with the future of news media, just as much as we journalists are.

I’m considering starting up a local chapter of Hacks/Hackers, but I’m wondering what the interest level is.

It doesn’t have to be that group, per se, which is focused on getting hacks, or journalists, and hackers, computer programmers, together, but I would like to see what a group of the two archetypes can do with their combined mental powers.

Interested in fighting the good fight? Drop me a line here or tweet to me @eamcclain. Better yet, stop by and see me at SPARK-East next Thursday. I’ll be there all afternoon.


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