Why Journalists Need to Think Like Geeks

A session at SXSW Interactive 2011

Sunday 13th March, 2011

5:00pm to 6:00pm (CST)

Many print journalists, even those who resisted change, are trying to embrace the digital future. Twenty-year veterans take up social media after taking a buyout, and journalism programs now give aspiring reporters basic multimedia skills. But a facility with Twitter or Soundslides combined with an occupational knack for asking questions won't always add up to the skills necessary to redesign a Web site or create an app. The truth is, journalists and programmers think in fundamentally different ways—words vs. code; stories vs. systems—and often have a hard time communicating and collaborating. And the problem is asymmetrical; most programmers can quickly grasp enough about journalism to work with journalists, but it's much harder to get, say, a midlevel editor to understand the basics of software development or database design. I often find myself wishing I could recommend a course to that colleague or to an unemployed journalist that would teach them how the other half thinks. Most of us have had to muddle through on our own, until we have a road to Damascus moment. But there's got to be a better way. How can we teach journalists to think about technology?

LEVEL: Beginner

About the speaker

This person is speaking at this event.
Blake Eskin

Writer. Subway photographer. Chinese-food activist, Dormant podcaster. Metaspielfriek. Knickschmerz, not Netschmerz. Co-founder and editorial director, @29pco bio from Twitter

18 attendees

  • Blake Eskin
  • Brandi Larsen
  • Caitlin Dewey
  • Chris Sweet
  • Elja
  • emily bell
  • erwin blom
  • Heleen van Lier
  • Jesse Burkunk
  • Joseph Miller
  • Chrys Wu
  • Margit Detweiler
  • Nick Parish
  • Jason Hensel
  • Rachel R
  • Ryan D Gantz, DOG
  • Tom Whitwell
  • wilbertbaan

26 trackers

  • Anonymous
  • Benjamin Turner
  • Brad Belote
  • Darby Frey
  • Simon Wright
  • michael
  • Evan Doll
  • finn
  • Jen Lee Reeves
  • John Keefe
  • Greg Cooksey
  • Liang Shi
  • Danny O'B
  • Lindi Horton
  • Mo
  • Niran Babalola
  • Patricia Marinho
  • Pelle Sten
  • Pessimist
  • scldn
  • Shelley Cook
  • Simon St.Laurent
  • Warren S
  • Aurelio Tinio
  • Alex Schaffert
  • Andy Baio

Sign in to add slides, notes or videos to this session

Sign in to track this session

Tell your friends!


Time 5:00pm6:00pm CST

Date Sun 13th March 2011


N. Capitol View, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

Session type

Core Conversation

Session Hash Tag


Short URL


Official session page


View the schedule



See something wrong?

Report an issue with this session