Understanding the needs of people in journalism tech


As data journalism has become more established in newsrooms, the roles for journalists working with technology have expanded and evolved. These "news nerds," the developers, designers, editors, data analysts, and product folks, work in newsrooms large and small around the world. They create visualizations, clean data, build platforms, and experiment with new modes for engagement. 

Their roles are as diverse as their backgrounds and pathways into journalism. At OpenNews, we've gotten to know members of this community through events like the Mozilla Festival (which helped spark the Data Journalism Handbook) and our conference SRCCON as well as community supports like our website Source and Ticket+Travel scholarship for journalism events around the world. We realized another piece of infrastructure we needed was a clearer picture of the entire community--who they are and what they need. 

And, as good journalists, we're gathering that data by asking questions. Our annual News Nerd Survey is open till September 9. Fill the survey out here.

The 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 Andrews of The Texas Tribune. They've set out questions that will gather more in-depth information about the career pathways, skill-building opportunities, and inclusive newsroom policies that support this community.

This year's survey builds on responses from a "news nerd census" we developed last year with the research firm Network Impact,  Brian Hamman of The New York Times, and Scott Klein of ProPublica. The questions from that census drew from community feedback about what folks wanted to know about each other--everything from job title to team size to opinions about the most pressing issues facing journalism.

The responses last year showed that while we often think of tech in terms of tools, this community named top concerns of diversity and inclusion, organizational capacity, and leadership support. This year's survey, delves more deeply into those questions so that community members and organizations like OpenNews will be able to use the results to inform their work and push for changes that will improve journalism.

We'll release the results at our first-ever SRCCON:WORK conference in early December. Please help us spread the word to your colleagues--across the newsroom or across the continent--to include as many perspectives as possible in understanding the challenges and curiosities facing journalism tech.

Click here to fill out survey out.

Image: Jack Lyons.