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How to Build a News Apps Team #ONA14

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Building a team is one of the hardest things you can do as a manager. How do you recruit and train talent? How do you make sure you have the right mix of people, and that they are applying their skills to the right projects? Our two experts will talk through their experiences, then hold an office-hours type session to talk through issues with session participants.

Speakers

Emily Ramshaw - Editor, The Texas Tribune
@eramshaw | http://www.texastribune.org

Jonathan Keegan - Director, Interactive Graphics, The Wall Street Journal
@jonkeegan | http://wsj.com

How to Build a News Apps Team #ONA14

  1. 1. How to Build a News App Team Emily Ramshaw Texas Tribune @eramshaw Jon Keegan The Wall Street Journal @jonkeegan @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  2. 2. It’s HARD! Hard for organizations big and small Unique challenges based on size, location and culture Lots of common problems – and common solutions – that can work for an organization of any size @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  3. 3. Chemistry @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  4. 4. The Makeup of our Teams Texas Tribune 4 news app developers 2 are front-end; 2 are back-end 1 plays role of team lead Support & back-up from 4-person tech dept The Wall Street Journal 10 news app developers 2 designers 2 data developers 2 tools developers @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  5. 5. The Makeup of our Teams Journalism Coding Design @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  6. 6. Chemistry Define the mix of skills you need for your team Cultural fit > predetermined skills / roles Account for personal chemistry Essential to always have someone speaking the language of journalism – someone to communicate with the newsroom Where possible, match projects to personalities @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  7. 7. #appsteam Hiring @eramshaw @jonkeegan
  8. 8. Hiring Challenges Texas Tribune Competition with the big dogs Competing with higher salaries Inexperienced candidates Convincing management that a strong news app team is money well spent The Wall Street Journal Competition is fierce Hiring process can take longer @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  9. 9. The Pitch @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  10. 10. The Pitch: Texas Tribune Come work for a scrappy, innovative and youthful start-up –– BEFORE you get picked off by The New York Times Put your name on great work Austin is a tech-forward city that boasts an incredible quality of life, from BBQ to live music to great weather Delightful workplace culture More fun to be the pirates than the Navy @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  11. 11. The Pitch @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  12. 12. The Pitch: WSJ Huge global audience Relatively small team. You can be a big fish in a small(ish) pond You can go anywhere from here Amazing endless stream of global stories Opportunities to work around the world ! @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  13. 13. TIPS Cultivate your interns. Make them a member of your club. Treat them as peers, and as family. Then HIRE THEM. Reach out to schools: Journalism and Computer Science programs and local civic hacking communities Create great relationships with academics Sell the culture and community Pledge to further education at work: conferences, hackathons, training Offer opportunities for advancement and leadership @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  14. 14. TIPS Build a team that is respected in the newsroom Very small newsrooms: Partner with colleges, other newsrooms, INN Engage with the news app development community: NICAR-L list, Hacks / Hackers, ONA. Host a meetup! Where to advertise jobs: SOURCE, NICAR-L, IRE Where to hunt: J-Schools, struggling start-ups, competitors – keep your ears open Invest in enterprising, motivated reporters + editors who can make the transition Find free help: Seek a Knight-Mozilla fellow or a Google fellow @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  15. 15. From Our Survey “Appeal to their journalistic side and get them involved in investigations (or at least promise you will). If developers really wanted money they'd go develop, but they're interested in your team for deeper fulfillment that will help coax them out of higher paying gigs.” “We've seen an issue teaching news to folks with a non-editorial background. For instance, what our ethical standards or story selection.” “I definitely look for aptitude and communication skills more than developer skills. It's a lot easier to learn code than to learn how to work with luddites.” @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  16. 16. From Our Survey “At our SRCCON on redesigning the newsroom, one team laid out a great playbook for how news organizations with no history of development can start to build a team” http://bit.ly/appsteamtips “There are newspapers who want to hire data or journo-devs but don't give them the time or support to do anything interesting. They constantly get conscripted for daily stories or clerical work and everyone quickly gets disillusioned.” - Tom Meagher / @ultracasual @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  17. 17. From Our Survey “ Converting promising homepage producers into web developers is your only hope if you don't have a big pile of money” - Ben Welsh / @palewire ! “Appeal to their journalistic side and get them involved in investigations (or at least promise you will). If developers really wanted money they'd go develop, but they're interested in your team for deeper fulfillment that will help coax them out of higher paying gigs.” @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam
  18. 18. Come work at The Texas Tribune! https://www.texastribune.org/jobs/news-apps-developer-front-end/ https://www.texastribune.org/jobs/news-apps-developer-back-end/ @eramshaw @jonkeegan #appsteam

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