Who We Are

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Board Members

Burt Herman is a journalist, entrepreneur, and technologist known for co-founding Storify, a social media curation platform, and Hacks/Hackers, a global grassroots organization that aims to bring together journalists and technologists to explore new ways to tell stories and create innovative journalism tools. Storify was acquired by Livefyre in 2013, which was later acquired by Adobe in 2016. Herman began his career as a journalist, working for The Associated Press for over a decade in various roles, including as a correspondent in Asia and Europe. He has been a prominent figure in the journalism and technology communities, speaking at conferences and events, and advocating for the importance of collaboration between journalists and technologists to create a more informed and connected world. (bio written by GPT-4)

Jennifer 8. Lee is an author and a journalist focused on the evolv­ing infra­struc­ture of news and information, specifically thinking about the business models. She started her journalism career at The New York Times at age 24 and worked for nine years. NPR has called her a “conceptual scoop artist” for her feature stories. She also authored The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, a book on how Chinese food is all-American, which was featured on The Colbert Report and TED.com. She has made dumplings with Martha Steward and on the Today Show during the Beijing Olympics. She has played a lead role with the Knight News Challenge, News Foo, and the SXSW news events. She serves on the advisory board for the Nieman Foundation, the board of the Center for Public Integrity, the Young Lions Committee of the New York Public Library, and the executive committee of the Asian American Writers Workshop. She is also co-producer of a documentary-in-progress called The Search for General Tso with the folks at Wicked Delicate.

Anika Gupta is a business and product strategist with more than ten years' experience in media, fashion and journalism. She works with clients - mainly news and social media startups - on building sustainable businesses and communities online. From 2009 to 2014, she worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India, where she helped start Hacks Hackers India. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and has a graduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She studies online culture and communities, and has worked as a product manager for media organizations like the Atlantic and National Geographic. Her first book, “How to Handle a Crowd,” was published by Simon & Schuster in 2019. For the book, she interviewed online moderators from spaces as diverse as community listservs and video games.

Team Members

Connie Moon Sehat serves as Principal Investigator of the Analysis, Response, and Toolkit for Trust (ARTT) project. For the past twenty years, Connie has focused on the intersections of technology and democratic life, including the direction of projects such as the News Quality Initiative, the New Orleans Research Collaborative, and ELMO (election, human rights, and health monitoring). Her doctorate from Rice University specialized in twentieth century German history, with minor fields in Enlightenment Europe and Modern Japan. Connie’s first job out of college allowed her to develop software for the International Space Station. Most recently, she served as a Senior Fellow for Media, Entertainment and Sport Industries at the World Economic Forum and also has previously worked for The Carter Center, Emory University, and The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Mariano Blejman, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, is a media entrepreneur with more than 25 years in the field of news, technology and innovation. After more than a decade as a journalist in the newspaper Página/12, in 2011 he co-founded Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires that became the biggest chapter in the world with more than 12.000 participants. In 2012 he founded Media Party, the biggest media innovation gathering in latin América. Since then, he has been running media innovation programs across Latin America for the last decade. He was a Knight Fellow at ICFJ during three years. In that period he launched Media Factory, the first news accelerator to be known, and he founded HacksLabs a DataJournalism accelerator program where he helped to invest in regional media outlets together with donors and investors like North Base Media, MDIF, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundation, Google, Facebook and Knight Foundation.

Nevin Thompson provides marketing and communications services to Hacks/Hackers. Since 2019 he has served as Communications and Engagement Coordinator and then Community Lead of Credibility Coalition, a research community co-founded by Hacks/Hackers that fosters collaborative approaches to understanding the veracity, quality and credibility of online information. Nevin co-edits the Misinfocon blog, and provides marketing support to the NewsQ initiative and the Analysis, Response, and Toolkit for Trust (ARTT) project, and as Project Fellow with the World Economic Forum’s Global Coalition for Digital Safety. Nevin served as Japan News Editor and Social Media Manager for Global Voices from 2014 to 2022. As a translator, writer, and journalist, Nevin has been connected to Japan for nearly 30 years.

Deb Rotman is the Director of Operations, overseeing finance and administration for Hacks/Hackers. For more than three decades, she has been in various leadership roles in academic, cultural resource management, and non-profit organizations. She enjoys working with the community of journalists and technologists who make up the Hacks/Hackers Universe and shares their love of storytelling. As a scholar, she is fascinated by the ways in which human experiences are shaped by the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts within which people live, particularly at the intersection of class, gender, and ethnicity. She was a Fulbright US Scholar (2015-2016) to the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (now Atlantic Technological University) in Castlebar, County Mayo, where she studied Irish life in the small rural settlements, known as clachans, from which so many immigrants came. Deb has published many books and articles, including Grandpa the Cowboy: A Young Man’s Journey through the American West (2022) and The Archaeology of Gender in Historic America (2018). She is currently writing From Ireland to America: Irish Immigrant Experiences in the US (2024).

Samantha Sunne is the Director of Community for Hacks/Hackers, providing support to chapter organizers and maintaining the monthly global open call. She is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans, Louisiana and recenly published “Data + Journalism: A story-driven approach to learning data reporting.” She is a recipient of two national awards and three national grants for investigative reporting. She speaks at conferences, universities and newsrooms around the world, teaching digital tools and tech literacy for journalists, and publishes the Tools for Reporters newsletter. Her work has been published by the Washington Post, NPR and Reuters, and recommended by the Poynter Institute and the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. If you have any questions about Hacks/Hackers, you can reach her at samantha[at]hackshackers.com.

Sil Hamilton is AI researcher-in-residence at Hacks/Hackers. A machine learning researcher at McGill University exploring the intersection of AI and culture, Sil has published research at NLP conferences like ACL, AAAI, and COLING. His work exploring the limits of language models has been discussed by Wired, The Financial Times, and Le Devoir. Sil has given talks on AI in the newsroom at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard; the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia; the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California; and The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin. Sil has consulted for The Associated Press on AI policies and serves as technology advisor at Health Tech Without Borders, a non-profit seeking to mitigate healthcare crises with digital tools.


Paul Cheung is a mission-driving executive dedicated to creating a healthier information ecosystem. His career, extending over two decades, showcases a commitment to leading digital innovation within the media sector, including pioneering work in AI, VR/AR, combating misinformation and launching digital initiatives.

Previously, Cheung led The Center for Public Integrity as CEO to increase diversity in the newsroom, pioneered new local-national partnership models, and empowered investigations that spurred tangible change. At the Knight Foundation, Cheung focused on scaling AI, fostering business sustainability in media, and combating misinformation. He has held leadership positions at outlets such as NBC News Digital, The Associated Press, The Miami Herald, and The Wall Street Journal.

He contributes to the Reynolds Journalism Institute, advising on the utilization of AI tools in newsrooms with limited resources. Besides his professional commitments, Cheung is deeply engaged in philanthropic activities, holding positions on the boards and committees of several organizations including Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Cheung is a graduate of the 2016 Punch Sulzberger Executive Leadership program at Columbia University and an alumnus of New York University.

Anna Nirmala brings over a decade of business strategy and operations experience. Most recently, she was one of the first hires and founding team members for The American Journalism Project (AJP), the country’s first venture philanthropy fund dedicated to nonprofit local news. As Vice President, she led due diligence and investment efforts, as well as serving as Success Partner for the largest portfolio of nonprofit newsrooms within the organization, where she provided strategic, technological and operational guidance to award-winning newsrooms spanning 11 regions and markets throughout the country. Prior to AJP, Anna was the first business leader hired at Hearken, a SaaS and consultancy business that was integral in bringing audience engagement philosophies and engagement strategies to the forefront of the news and media sector internationally. Anna started her career in management consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she worked across leading Fortune 500 companies spanning sectors such as Retail, Consumer Product Goods, Private Equity, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Technology.


Richelle “Rich” Gordon, professor and director of digital innovation at Northwestern University’s Medill School, came out as transgender in 2023. At Medill, she launched the school’s graduate program in new media journalism and has directed the Media Innovation and Content Strategy Specialization. She has spent most of her career exploring the areas where journalism and technology intersect. Gordon was an early adopter of desktop analytical tools (spreadsheets and databases) to analyze data for journalistic purposes. At The Miami Herald, she was among the first generation of journalists to lead online publishing efforts at newspapers. At Medill, she has developed innovative courses through which students have explored digital content and communities and developed new forms of storytelling that take advantage of the unique capabilities of interactive media. Gordon also was a co-founder of Medill’s Knight Lab, and in 2007, won a Knight News Challenge grant allowing Medill to offer full scholarships for journalism master’s degrees to people with computer programming experience. In addition to teaching and writing about digital journalism, she was director of new communities for the Northwestern Media Management Center, where she oversaw a research initiative focusing on the impact of online communities, including social networks, on journalism and publishing.

Aron Pilhofer is the James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation at Temple University. In addition to teaching, his work is focused on new business models, digital transformation and innovation in news. Before joining Temple, Pilhofer was Executive Editor, Digital, and interim Chief Digital Officer at the Guardian in London. He was previously editor of Interactive News Technologies at The New York Times. He also is co-founder of DocumentCloud, Knight Foundation-funded organization designed to improve journalism by making original source documents easy to find, share, read and collaborate on. Prior to that, Pilhofer was database editor at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, where he began an ongoing project in 2002 to track a new form of political non-profit organization. The Center’s reporting was among the first to highlight the hole in campaign finance regulations that allows these groups to pump hundreds of millions into elections.

Chrys Wu consults on systems thinking, product development, and people leadership and management. People turn to her for help with thinking through the interplay of peoples’ lives and the larger systems in which we exist. She also speaks and mentors at technology, design and media festivals. She has founded/co-founded and led the growth of several cross-disciplinary organizations, including Write/Speak/Code, Hacks/Hackers, NYC Ruby Women and the Robot Film Festival. She is also an Awesome Foundation NYC trustee emeritus. Chrys has spent many years in journalism and “on the business side” as a freelancer and as staff of organizations such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, NPR and its affiliates, National Geographic Magazine, and what is now CBS Local. She has experienced the hard work and joy-by-proxy of working on a Pulitzer Prize winning story.

Contact Us

We can be reached by email at contact at hackshackers dot com, or the following mailing address:


712 H St NE PMB 96681

Washington, DC 20002