Hacks and Hackers Media Party - Konex, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina

After meeting Mariano Blejman earlier in year, I was impressed to discover he was organizing a large scale meet up for Latin American media folks. I was a bit taken aback by the suggestion I should give a keynote so swiftly proposed that I bring the team over with me. After much wrangling, this resulted in Mariana, Alex, Nicola and myself making our ways to Argentina.

Soon after arriving, we paid a visit to La Nacion. Momi Peralta and team have done an impressive job introducing data journalism methodologies to their newsroom. They're currently building a model of political activity using an approach which reminds me of the research and analysis process used by the intelligence community. It's incredibly detailed work and it might be interesting to see what they could produce with access to more sophisticated software.

We split the keynote across the team and, after solid turns from Mariana, Alex and Nicola, the lively Latin American audience had plenty of questions. At this point the simultaneous translators really came into their own. I've never attended an event with UN-style headsets before and – given Mariana is the only one of us with a proper grasp of Spanish – this turned out to be a real life-saver.

The next day we ran an interactive news workshop for around 80 designers, journalists and developers. Mariana did an amazing job marshalling people into groups containing a balance of the three skills. It was impressive how enthusiastic the attendees were, even after been plunged into groups with people from rival papers. Asking people to “tell the story of inflation” was controversial at first but ultimately seemed to be something everyone could relate to. As evening approached, Alex & I managed to get the wonky projector working and we wrapped things up with a show & tell.

As with so many of the other trips I've made this year, our hosts were fantastic. Eager to share some of their city's cultural highlights, we were taken to Palermo bars, unpretentious parillas and a milonga with a star turn from the fleet-footed couple who hold the world tango title.