Video: How did Hacks/Hackers London become so popular?

Sarah Marshall

Once a month, some two hundred digital journalists, newsroom developers and, well, everything inbetween gather in London for an evening of socialising, speeches and lightning pitches about innovations in journalism (Oh yeah, and there’s also beer).

The meetup Hacks/Hackers is part of a global network, and the London chapter has been around since 2010. It’s become hugely popular: every month the waitlist for a spot seems to grow longer.

“Want to learn from one another”

At last night’s meetup, hosted by News UK, we caught up with Sarah Marshall, social media editor at the Wall Street Journal and co-organiser of Hacks/Hackers, to speak to her about what makes the London scene so active.

The meetup’s popularity can still surprise her, she said.

“I’m really surprised! Every month I look at the waiting list and think, ‘Wow!’”

Sarah has been a part of the team organising #HHLDN for a year and a half – “but it feels like forever,” she joked. There’s certainly a whole lot of work going into preparing the events: organising the venue, getting drinks and finding volunteers. Not least, there’s the matter of finding speakers.

“It’s something we’re very conscious of”

Just one of the seven speakers at the latest meetup were women. This is a recurring issue for the meetup, with almost only men taking the stage to discuss digital innovations in newsrooms.

We asked, do they struggle to find female speakers?

“I just think ‘argh!’ every time this happens,” Sarah said.

So let’s hope change is on the way.

(Featured image: Flickr/Sarah Marshall)

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