Who We Are

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Board Members

Burt Herman, co-founder, is a journalist and entrepreneur exploring the intersection of journalism and technology from his base in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was a Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University from 2008-9, where he researched entrepreneurship, innovation and design at the university’s Institute for Design and Graduate School of Business. Before Stanford, Burt roamed the globe for a dozen years as a bureau chief and correspondent for The Associated Press and has written stories from Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and the Middle East along with the U.S. He covered the war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, and later moved to Central Asia where he founded a new AP bureau in charge of the five former Soviet republics in the region. His latest overseas posting was Korea bureau chief, where he supervised coverage of North Korea and implemented creative uses of technology to help report on the isolated regime.

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.

Mariano Blejman 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.


Co-Founders

Rich Gordon, co-founder, is associate professor and director of digital innovation at the Medill School of Journalism, where he launched the school’s graduate program in new media journalism. He has spent most of his career exploring the areas where journalism and technology intersect. As a reporter and editor, he was an early adopter of technological tools to analyze data for journalistic purposes. At The Miami Herald, he was among the first generation of journalists to lead online publishing efforts at newspapers. At Medill, he has developed courses through which students have explored digital content and communities and developed new forms of storytelling taking advantage of interactive media. He has also served as director of new communities for the Northwestern Media Management Center, where he researched the impact of online communities on journalism and publishing. In 2007, Rich won a Knight News Challenge grant allowing Medill to offer full scholarships for journalism master’s degrees to people with computer programming experience.

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.


Communications Director

Samantha Sunne leads communications at Hacks/Hackers, providing support to chapter organizers and maintaining the monthly global open call. She is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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.