You Have the Power to Make Change Now
A Q&A with SRCCON:POWER speaker Robert Hernandez
SRCCON:POWER is coming up in just a few days, on December 13 and 14. Before then, we’re previewing the speakers selected to talk at the event. Here’s our Q&A with digital journalism professor Robert Hernandez, who’ll be speaking about creating and harnessing power.
Robert Hernandez on the Power of Horizontal Loyalty
Would you introduce yourself to our readers, please?
I’m a digital journalism professor experimenting with emerging technologies.
Can you tell us about an example of horizontal loyalty, where it was either essential to a success story, or totally lacking?
Oh man, I am fortunate to have many examples, but that also makes it tough to select just one! The notion of horizontal loyalty is that “we” have to come together and make something “we” believe in. I’d say the 7.5 years producing #WJCHAT, a weekly conversation about digital journalism held over Twitter, unlocked a lot of opportunities and built a strong and beautiful community. I made incredible friends and colleagues through that project, and some that I have yet to meet IRL. We wanted a space to have timely conversations about our work—since, to be honest, we weren’t getting it from leadership—so we created the space. That inspired people and, I can honestly say, helped change people’s careers and lives. It certainly changed my life.
What are a few high-level takeaways from your talk that you wish everyone could hear, even if they can’t be in the room at SRCCON:POWER?
The thesis is you have the power to make change now. Forget waiting until you get a promotion or until you are hiring or until you are in charge of the budget…regardless of where you are in your career, you have power now. And I’ll talk about specific examples that I have done, and others can do, to use their power.
Robert Hernandez, aka WebJournalist, has made a name for himself as a journalist of the Web, not just on the Web. His primary focus is exploring and developing the intersection of technology and journalism – to empower people, inform reporting and storytelling, engage community, improve distribution, and, whenever possible, enhance revenue. He is a Professor of Professional Practice at USC Annenberg, but he’s not an academic… he’s more of a “hackademic” that specializes in “MacGyvering” digital journalism through emerging technologies. His most recent work includes Augmented Reality, Wearables/Google Glass and Virtual Reality — he and his students produce VR experiences under their brand: JOVRNALISM™. Their work has won awards from The Webby Awards, The Shorty Awards, the Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists, among others, and can be seen in Al Jazeera, The New York Times, NBC, NPR, ProPublica, USA Today, and in their own iOS/Android app. He has worked for seattletimes.com, SFGate.com, eXaminer.com, La Prensa Gráfica, among others. Hernandez is also the co-founder of #wjchat and co-creator of the Diversify Journalism Project. He has served on boards that have included Chicas Poderosas, InquireFirst, the Online News Association, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (where he is a lifetime member). He is also a Journalism 360 ambassador and program lead. He is the recipient of SPJ’s 2015 Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award and the 2018 NAHJ Si Se Puede Award. He has made it to imgur’s front page more than once. He connects dots and people.
Editor of Source from 2015-2020