I am thrilled to announce (though slightly belatedly) our first hires to the News Catalyst team.

Heather Bryant will take on the position of deputy director, product. For this role, I was looking for someone with a sharp product focus, someone who is creative and entrepreneurial — oh, and someone who understands the challenges facing local news enterprises. I couldn’t imagine a better fit than Heather.

Heather popped on my radar while she was on her JSK Fellowship in 2016-17. Her focus was on ways to empower collaborative journalism, particularly at the local level. Four-ish years ago, collaboration was still…


Want to save local news? We do too.

For struggling local news organizations, digital transformation has become something closer to digital survival.

That’s why we launched News Catalyst. Simply put, our mission is to help local news enterprises transform themselves into sustainable digital businesses. And we are hiring two key roles on our team to help us get there: a Deputy Director of Product and a Developer.

News Catalyst will be capable of providing support in those areas that news organizations have traditionally underinvested: data, digital storytelling, mobile, analytics, engagement, social media, product development, etc.

Where there are gaps in news organizations’ ambitions and/or resources, News Catalyst will…


Great for bankers, shareholders; lousy for consumers, journos

God bless Ken Doctor for having the patience to dig through all this Wall Street posturing and monetary machismo to pull together such clear-eyed analyses of the Gannett/GateHouse merger (acquisition, really, as it turns out).

Few people are better sourced than Ken is on these kinds of stories — and frankly, few journalists understand this as well as he does. Ken Doctor’s coverage of this saga (and the business of the news industry in general) is required reading to anyone who cares about the future of local news.

Ken’s latest on the Gannett/GateHouse merger, I’m sorry to say, may be…


We are thrilled to announce the latest addition to the DocumentCloud family, Dylan Freedman, who has assumed the role of lead developer.

Dylan comes to us fresh off earning his masters in journalism at Stanford University — but he’s no typical hack. Prior to Stanford, Dylan worked for several years at Google, first as an intern and then as a full-time member of the research team.

Dylan worked extensively on projects that involved machine learning and language, but he wasn’t fully satisfied solving technical problems alone. …


If we want to save local journalism, we need to know what’s actually killing it.

A bit of a rant.

I wasn’t going to say anything about the absurd, unnecessary shots this New York Times story took at Craig Newmark in reporting his welcome and generous $20 million donation to CUNY’s journalism school. But after reading all this journalist-driven outrage on the subject, enough’s enough.

Fellow journalists: Do you really truly believe that, if not for Craigslist, little kids would be riding around your neighborhood today tossing thick newspapers onto your lawn laden with classified ads? If so, we need to talk.

Journalists are storytellers by nature. And a good story needs a protagonist and…


We are thrilled to announce that DocumentCloud and MuckRock are merging.

The reason is simple: Mission. Our organizations share a core belief that institutions should be open, transparent and accountable to the people they serve.

This merger will strengthen both organizations and allow us to serve our users, and our mission, far better than either of us could alone. In fact, as we have been discussing this privately with friends and advisors, the most common reaction has been, “Why didn’t you do this sooner?”

Over time, our goal is to make the sites and services we run work seamlessly together…


Last October, Quartz and DocumentCloud joined together to launch Quackbot, a bot that performs useful tasks for journalists from inside Slack. It’s completely free and available to any newsroom. All you need is a (free) DocumentCloud account.

More than two dozen newsrooms are already using Quackbot, even with a very limited number of launch skills (we call them superpowers, actually). But thanks to the generosity of the Knight Foundation and Lenfest Institute, we are going to build out a number of new superpowers for Quackbot — with your help!

If you have a great idea for a tool that might…


This is a growing list of tools and resources for journalism mentioned at our 2018 International Journalism Festival Panel. If you know of others, please let me know at @pilhofer on Twitter.

Jennifer Brandel’s List

Design Justice
Creating design practices that center on those who stand to be most adversely impacted by design decisions.

Listening Post Collective
Offers resources, tools, peer-to-peer support and a shared learning space for journalists, newsroom leaders and community groups looking to revitalize their local news and information ecosystems.

GroundSource
Helps you reach audiences and communities where they prefer to communicate: on their phones.

Hearken We help news organizations…


DocumentCloud.org is hiring. Come help build the future of journalism.

A bit more than six years ago, Ted Han took over as lead developer at DocumentCloud.org, then a humble side project Eric Umansky, Scott Klein and I launched in 2009 to build trust in journalism.

Oh how things have changed.

DocumentCloud.org has since grown into a global platform serving thousands of journalists and newsrooms around the world. It was not destined to be so. …


After a near-death experience, we’re moving to a new home with a mandate for sustainability. Here’s how you can help.

It was just about nine years ago when Eric Umansky, Scott Klein and I hit upon an idea we hoped might help journalists be a little more transparent in their reporting.

We believed then (and still do today) that if journalists were more open about their sourcing, it would help people differentiate between real reporting and nonsense.

It would not only increase the trust people have in journalism, it would encourage people to expect this same level of transparency from institutions and elected officials.

Thus, DocumentCloud.org was born.

In terms of adoption, DocumentCloud has been a runaway success beyond our…

Aron Pilhofer

James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation at @TUKleincollege. Proud @Guardian and @nytimes alum. Co-founder of @documentcloud & @HacksHackers. Yachtsman.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store