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The roots of Hacks/Hackers were planted in 2009, based on the interests of three people interested in the intersection of journalism and technology.

In Massachusetts, at a conference organized by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times and Rich Gordon from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, proposed creating “a network of people interested in Web/digital application development and technology innovation supporting the mission and goals of journalism.”

Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, Burt Herman, a former AP foreign correspondent fresh from a Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University, launched a group bringing the journalism and technology communities together at casual face-to-face gatherings to trade ideas and find potential collaborators.

From opposite sides of the country, we coincidentally both hit on the name of “Hacks and Hackers” as a way to symbolize what the group was about. The terms conveyed the grassroots spirit of the community we wanted to build both online and off, made up of the people doing the real work on the ground.

Now the three of us have combined forces to build the Hacks/Hackers community. Hacks/Hackers grew from an initial group in the Bay Area in late 2009 to flourishing groups in New York, Boston, Austin and other cities during 2010. Hacks/Hackers has also gone international, with groups launching in Latin America, Europe and Australia.

We welcome your participation and suggestions.