AAJA Convention Guide: Elise Hu, NPR’s technology and culture reporter

Elise_HuWe’re getting together this year against a fascinating backdrop: Tech and business titans are scooping up news organizations left and right, making the interesting times for our industry even more interesting.  And this melding of traditional media companies and technology companies is a theme this year’s AAJA programming committee understands well, and a quick scan of the convention panels reflect the new reality.

Since it’s a better time than ever to widen our definitions of journalism and storytelling, the data journalism and interactive-rich sessions are what I recommend sitting in on this year. I’ll be hosting a panel on Thursday called “Better Know A Developer,” featuring the original designer of the YouTube interface and a pair of amazing journalist-programmers. If you can make it, we’ll go over why understanding how to speak the “language” of the coders in your newsroom can lead to compelling journalism that takes you — and your audience — way beyond just text or video stories.

To get some more hands-on, practical skills, there are two data journalists whose names you’ll see all over the schedule: Emily Chow and Sisi Wei. See which of their sessions you can attend, I promise it will be worth it if you want to challenge yourself to learn anything from beginning CSS to Google Fusion Tables to webscraping.

I’m personally really excited about the explosive growth of mobile news consumption, and looking forward to hearing about them from some of the brightest minds in that space — Cory Haik and Ted Kim from The Washington Post will be offering their insights on Thursday at 11am. Hope to see you there.

And part of me is relentlessly curious about just picking up and moving out East — Far East. Journey to the East, on Friday at 3pm, is another one I’m eager to attend.

I know it is said every year, but seriously, I think this year’s AAJA programming really is the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in AAJA since I was 16 years old.

Elise Hu covers technology and culture for NPR’s online and on-air platforms. Previously, the led the digital launch of NPR’s StateImpact network and was a founding journalist at the digital startup The Texas Tribune. You can follow her on Twitter @elisewho.