Hacking 101

If you missed the weekend’s first ever Jersey news hackathon at Montclair State, check out the HackJersey blog. It not only documents the event itself, it also functions as a  how-to guide to data journalism  that will get you thinking about your own project. You’ll find the list of winners and videos of the keynotes and the project presentations — plus cool background on the open data movement, reflections on the word hacker and links to resources to help you build your data skills. The hackathon was also tweeted; just go to #HackJersey.…

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Tell your friends about this year’s contest

With 33 days until the Feb. 28 submissions deadline, we need all the help we can get to spread the word about this year’s NJSPJ’s annual Excellence in Journalism Contest. Please steer journalists who write about the Garden State toward this website so they can find the contest overview, guidelines, a list of contest categories, directions for submitting, and information about how to volunteer. This year is our first year taking submissions online, and we want to make the transition as smooth as possible. Don’t hesitate to email us at njspj.contest@gmail.com if you encounter any problems.

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HackJersey, Graveyard shift

Update from Debbie Galant, co-founder of HackJersey:

Here’s what it looked like in Schmitt Hall Saturday night, as the hours for Hack Jersey developers and journalists began to dwindle. Hack Jersey, sponsored by the NJ News Commons in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University and Knight-Mozilla Open News, is a 24-hour contest to develop the best journalism-related app over a weekend. The deadline to turn projects in is noon today. Presentations will start at 1:15 p.m. in University Hall at Montclair State today and are open to the public. They will also be livestreamed on the the Hack Jersey blog. Either way, live or via the internet, everybody can vote for the People’s Choice. Video credit: Jack Smith IV, Ken Spooner, Ryan Miller and Lindsay Rassmann, NJ News Commons

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Continuing ed on the cheap

If Phase I of the Internet tsunami was adjusting to shifts in the journalism pecking order, Phase II may be learning how to translate all the raw data that’s being unleashed into compelling stories. Bottom line? Take advantage of budget-friendly learning opportunities like this week-end’s Hack Jersey hackathon at Montclair State, which promises to be a good hands-on introduction to data crunching and coding. Although registration for the hackathon is closed, here are two ways to get in on the action:

  • Friday night: The launch party at Fitzgerald’s 1928 in Glen Ridge. The party (hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar) starts at 7 p.m. and is free to anyone interested in news and innovation, but you must RSVP for a ticket. This is a chance to get a feel for the possibilities of data journalism as hackathon participants introduce themselves to each other and form teams. Sponsors and editors from The Star-LedgerThe Record and elsewhere have also been invited.
  • Sunday afternoon: Keynote speeches from Stephen Engelberg, editor in chief of ProPublica, and Jeff Larson, a News Apps developer at ProPublica plus project demonstrations and awards. These events are all open to the public and will start about 1:15 p.m. and run until about 4 p.m. at University Hall on the Montclair State campus. No RSVP necessary; just show up. The speeches and presentations will also be streamed on the web.
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