Monthly Archives: September 2013

SXSW, Columbia J-school, and ASNE Recaps

It’s been a busy summer (we had another kid!), and I’ve been delinquent in posting decks from my latest talks.


Alex Howard and I have been speaking a lot about the coming deluge of sensor data. Privacy concerns dominated our News Foo session, well before the Snowden NSA disclosures accelerated the conversation around data privacy.

At this year’s SXSW, we lead a Core Conversation: “What Do Sensors Mean for News, Society, and Science“. The first audience question came from a Fast Company reporter who referenced an ACLU report on data privacy in commercial mobile apps. We momentarily wondered if the conversation would take off. Then, a gentleman in the back raised his hand and said: “I’m an attorney at the ACLU. I can answer that question…”

Columbia University Journalism School

I hadn’t given a lightning talk in over a year and gave two in June. Columbia’s Tow Center is extremely innovative and forward-thinking. I was delighted to participate in their sensor journalism workshop and gave a short talk on getting started.

Privacy was one of the main themes I stressed. The two biggest sensor journalism stories of the last six months were unintentional and had negative consequences for journalists and their sources. Vice magazine gave away John McAfee’s location, and the Tesla logs challenged a NY Times reporter’s memory. Before we wade into sensors, journalists need to have a conversation about privacy and ethics. What will be able to be subpoenaed? How do we avoid unintentionally hurting the people we’re trying to protect?

American Society of News Editors (ASNE)

Finally, I participated in a panel on digital innovation at the ASNE 2013 alongside my NPR colleague Brian Boyer.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute mentioned our panel here and here.

Videos: my talk on innovation outside the newsroom. Brian gave an phenomenal talk on the importance of building for mobile.