Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Local news takes flight in South Dakota’s largest city
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:30 a.m.

Boston Hack Day Challenge: An open door to Boston.com

Count The Boston Globe among the growing number of organizations that want hackers to come in from the cold. On the weekend of Feb. 25 they’re holding a three-day event called the “Boston Hack Day Challenge” where developers, designers, coders and anyone else inclined to make apps will gather to “create new online and mobile products that can make life better for Bostonians.”

We’ve got our share of tech heads around the area thanks to schools like MIT and Harvard, not to mention start-ups (perhaps you’ve heard of SCVNGR?), and the Globe is looking to capitalize on that to help promote their new digital test kitchen, Beta.Boston.com.

In the last few years a number of companies, in and outside of media, have dabbled in hackathons, sometimes to try and associate their name with innovation, other times to try and find the best new talent and products to cherrypick. The New York Times started the Times Open series a few years ago to get New York’s tech community tied into the newspaper and help nudge along the concept of the journo-programmer. We’ve also seen journalists, programmers and developers come together in crises like last year’s earthquakes in Haiti, to try and build tools to aid in communication and emergency response. (And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the work of Hacks/Hackers, which has held a number of developer events like Hacks/Hackers Unite.)

At the Boston Hack Day Challenge, teams will use the weekend to build a site or app dedicated to alleviating one problem or another in the Boston area. (One example would be something like the OpenMBTA app, which I can vouch for as making it easier to catch the bus or T.)

All of these fit quite nicely with Beta.Boston.com, where the Globe’s digital team has been quietly releasing online products, and highlighting apps and sites created by others, including Citizen’s Connect, an app to report issues to the mayor’s office. You’ll also find their early OpenBlock demo with news and data from Boston neighborhoods.

The team at the Globe says to keep an eye on the beta space as they roll out toys and features for BostonGlobe.com, the new subscriber site that will parallel Boston.com.

POSTED     Jan. 20, 2011, 10:30 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Local news takes flight in South Dakota’s largest city
Pigeon 605 is delivering personalized local news to residents in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Are readers’ biases to blame for gender disparities in sports reporting? This study says no
The study looked at sports articles in a German newspaper and found that the byline’s gender didn’t have a significant effect on readers’ perception of the writer’s expertise.
Do countries with better-funded public media also have healthier democracies? Of course they do
But the direction of causality is tricky. Do a democracy’s flaws lead it to starve public media, or does starving public media lead to a democracy’s flaws?