We met Mariano Blejman back in 2011 when he was one of the key speakers at our first Mediafabric conference. The conference was based around the themes of innovation, technology and digital journalism. From the moment I got the task of scouting out key projects for Latin America, I pictured Mariano sharing his work and experience from Hacks/Hackers Argentina (HHBA), which he co-founded.
We have followed the work of HHBA since then and watched it gain momentum and contribute to the region by developing concrete projects and educating journalists and developers in data journalism. Currently, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires has more than 900 members and it's considered the largest community of Hacks/Hackers in South America and the fifth largest in the world after New York, San Francisco, London and Boston. Since April 2011, they've held 13 events, including presentations, hackathons, and meetings.
Knowing they were having a new event at the end of August we decided to support Hacks and Hackers Buenos Aires with a tailored site, running in Newscoop. Mediaparty.hhba.info is now the official site for this event and for those to come in the future. The site was launched recently with general information featuring some of Newscoop's special tools for media outlets, such as integrated multilingual publications (in this case Spanish and English), friendly theme management and readiness for adaptive design. From Thursday on we will be featuring a different front page with two new elements: video streaming plus the brand new curating tool called GEN Live Desk. This open source live-blogging tool was officially introduced last May by GEN, developed by Sourcefabric and was specially designed for newsrooms and journalists.
Testing any software on a live environment is always a highly stimulating challenge. This implementation certainly proved it, and involved a lot of creativity and teamwork. Heads and hands based in Buenos Aires, Guatemala, Canada, and several parts of Europe were involved to make it real.
It really is one of those events you should not miss if you are interested in developing innovative and creative journalism.
Key participants include Alastair Dant, Mariana Santos, Alex Graul and Nicola Hughes (The Guardian); Tyson Evans, deputy director of interactive news at The New York Times and Dan Sinker, program director of Knight Mozilla OpenNews. Additional guests include Al Shaw (ProPublica), Thomas Levine (ScraperWiki), Jonathan Stray (Overview), Karen Reilly (Tor), James Burns (Zeega), Douglas Arellanes (Sourcefabric) and David Kobia (Ushahidi).
Sourcefabric will support the HHBA initiative by participating in the Media Fair and delivering the workshop "DJing the news" where Douglas Arellanes, our Director of Services, will show how to use Airtime Pro for streaming audio channels for news organizations.
By supporting initiatives like HHBA we expect media outlets and media professionals to become aware of several open source technologies and provide them with the knowledge to further develop much-needed independent media ecosystems in their region. The particular format for the event is something we seek to support. Having so many hands on sessions and bringing journalists and developers to work together is a valuable learning experience for media professionals with little access to specialized training.
It's a rare opportunity to have this mixture of key figures together in the region for a three-day session of sharing, discussing, and hands-on learning. For the Latin American Sourcefabric team, this was also an extraordinary opportunity for us to meet these individuals and test our software and skills.
We have more Latin American projects lined up for development before 2012 ends, and we are looking forward to supporting independent media with our open source media software and expertise.