Hack the News: Our First Hackathon

From Chelsea Skovgaard A mad rush of two hours of writing code, merging CSS and Ruby on Rails, munching pizza, and drinking beer was our experience at our first hackathon. On September 16, a team of Turing students competed at the Hackthe.News event that was hosted by Name.com . The goal of the hackathon was to bring developers and journalists together to create ways that reporters can share important stories while maintaining their business’s sustainability. I, Chelsea Skovgaard, and Jasmin Hudacsek were lucky enough to be two of the students who participated. Often, it is challenging to participate in an event outside of Turing with the intensity of the work, but taking time to participate on the Friday before finals week was one of the best decisions I made during my first module at Turing. The Turing team consisted of me (1608 Front End), Orion Osborn (1410 alum), Noah Berman (1608 Back End), Jasmin Hudacsek (1606 Back End), Jean Joeris (1606 Back End), Christopher Calaway (1606 Back End). Our team members’ reasons for joining the hackathon varied from exploring technology careers linked to journalism to discussing the lack of quality news during this election cycle. After a short brainstorming session that involved talking to a couple journalists, we decided to work on a tool for journalists that would combine tracking story pitches along with a contacts database to streamline sources and stories. Due to the team’s background, we decided on an RoR application while I — being the sole front-end focused member — wrote the CSS. From Jasmin Hudacsek I’ve only been at Turing for the last four months, so it was a bit intimidating going into my first hackathon. However, the turnout for this event left me feeling a bit more at ease. The team to get second place...
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Posse Spotlight on Pahlka Posse

One of the aspects of Turing life is our posses, which are student groups designed to provide peer support and are named after well-known people in tech history. Last intermission week, Turing decided to do a "posse reboot," changing a number of things about the ways posses work at Turing. Namely, they are now opt-in and are focused on a particular topic or meeting schedule. I and a number of other students were invited to be new posse leaders. At first, I felt pretty hesitant about heading up a new posse. My prior posse was a little lackluster, and I had already put a lot of my time into other community programs and wasn’t sure if I would have the ability to head up a new posse well. But then, another student, Beth Sebian, asked for a partner in creating a posse focused on civic tech. Beth is one of the coolest people on the planet and I feel very passionate about addressing social issues, so, (of course) I had to ask Beth if she’d have me as her partner. She, (of course) was happy to have me, and we ventured forth on the creation of the Pahlka Posse, named after Code for America founder Jen Pahlka . Creating a Space People Want to Be In First step to getting our posse off the ground: recruit people to be in it. I ran around hyping the posse up to anyone who would listen, and then we pitched our posse along with all the other posses in front of the student body. From this, we got our first 10 members! Next step to starting the posse: get people to stay active in the group. We have all seen our fair share of groups form and then lose momentum and peter out...
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