UF attends first Journalism School Hackathon at UNC

Published: June 3rd, 2014

Category: General news

DSC_9680Three of the College’s students and two faculty members traveled to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the weekend of May 30 for the first Journalism School Hackathon. The students, faculty and professionals were given the mission of solving real-world problems and creating sustainable business models for local media outlets.

Our students, Justin Galicz, 4JM, Nathalie McCrate, JOU 2014, and Ashira Morris, JOU 2014, as well as faculty, Matt Sheehan, director of the INC and Steve Johnson, visual coordinator/adjunct lecturer, were all placed on different teams working with people from nine other schools. Each team had a mix of disciplines — editor/producer, designer, tech person, business-savvy pro or faculty facilitator.

“It was a mentally and physically exhausting weekend, but working with passionate students from across the country to develop a very real and very viable solution to a common issue in journalism made the experience indispensable,” Galicz said.

Two of our students received honorable mentions for their solutions to campaign finance.

“My team was challenged to develop a sustainable media product that would increase transparency in local elections. I learned a lot about the dark side of political fundraising and its influence on voters. One of the highlights was cold-tweeting a veteran NY Times campaign finance reporter and actually getting feedback on our project,” McCrate said.

Sheehan’s team won first place for its product on city planning.

“One of the biggest little secrets of entrepreneurism is that the most successful entrepreneurs aren’t necessary the best techs, or programmers, or quant jocks. Often successful entrepreneurs are the ones that can tell the best and most compelling story and for that, our college shines. We’re looking forward to building out new opportunities in our INC, strategic communication agency, research & development efforts for the types of disruptive storytelling that can make our society a better place,” Sheehan said.

Other schools in attendance included: the University of North Carolina’s Reese News Lab, the Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse and the Knight Lab at Medill/Northwestern.