Serving the needs of the journalism tech community
by Erika Owens
Hundreds of journalists working in technology gather each year at SRCCON, NICAR, ONA, on list servs, and in Slack groups. These “news nerds,” the developers, designers, editors, data analysts, and product folks who work in tech and journalism, have built vibrant online and in-person spaces to find new opportunities, build skills, and advocate for more inclusive news organizations. At OpenNews, we strengthen the connections between those spaces and create room for the technical skill building and personal self-care necessary to sustain these journalists so they can better serve their communities.
How do we know what this community needs? We ask. Our annual News Nerd Survey is open till September 9 to gather feedback from those journalists.
The News Nerd Survey is made possible by the support of Google News Lab and the contributions of a community advisory group including Soo Oh, incoming John S. Knight Fellow; Jennifer Lee of Google News Lab; and Liam Andrew of The Texas Tribune. They’ve shaped a set of questions that will enable us to better understand the hiring and career landscape and skill-building needs of this community, plus gather insights into the supports of interest to smaller newsrooms.
This survey builds from research commissioned last year by the Knight Foundation and conducted by the firm Network Impact into the work of OpenNews and the first iteration of this news nerd census. The findings from that survey showed that this is a group with strong ties, with community members invested in training, caring for, and welcoming one another. With this survey, we have the chance to build an even clearer picture of who is in this community and what they need from each other, their newsrooms, and organizations that support journalists.
We will share the findings from this survey at the first-ever SRCCON:WORK conference in early December, which will be an in-person opportunity to delve into many of the themes raised in the survey. As journalists, we know that data put into context can be a powerful tool for change and understanding. News nerds are driving innovation in both technology and culture at many news organizations, and this survey will give them the data they need to push for more responsive, equitable news organizations that are better able to serve their communities.
The News Nerd Survey is open till September 9. Please take a few moments to share your thoughts.