Robert Hernandez, aka @webbournalist, 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.
Robert Hernandez, one of the few true veterans of Web journalism, 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.
Hernandez is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, aka a Web journalism professor, at USC Annenberg. He’s not an academic… he’s more of a hackademic. He describes himself as a mad scientist for journalism, and likes to “MacGyver” Web journalism solutions.
He believes in “open source,” sharing knowledge and experiences among journalists. To that end, he has taken the leading role in uniting and building a community of digital journalists and technologists, as a national board member of the Online News Association, the leading organization focused on developing digital journalism. He’s also a co-organizer of the Los Angeles chapter of Hacks/Hackers, an international network of journalists and technologists that is rethinking the future of news and information.
Many journalists know him as the co-founder of #wjchat, a weekly forum on Twitter that engages participants from around the world. Or the curator of his Tech & Tool page, a collection of tools aimed at inspiring innovation in Web journalism, recently featured in CJR’s Future of Media issue. His latest project is called Learn Code for Journalism with Me, mashing up Google+ Hangouts with Code Year lessons. These virtual gatherings are perhaps the best examples of his commitment to collaboration and crowdsourcing. Others may know him as the intrepid questioner who asked AOL’s chairman and CEO if Patch.com is “evil.”
Hernandez also is passionate about diversity in journalism. He is co-chair of programming for the UNITY conference (Las Vegas, August 2012) and is a lifetime member and former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
He has presented and spoken at numerous conferences and workshops across the country and internationally. Hernandez was most recently named CU’s Hearst Professional-in-Residence for Fall of 2012.
As director of development for The Seattle Times, where he worked from 2002 until 2009, he helped shape and execute the vision for the Web site and company, leading a team of engineers and designers in creating innovative tools and applications for readers as well as staff. He also worked as a Web designer and consultant for El Salvador’s largest daily newspaper site, La Prensa Gráfica, Web producer for The San Francisco Chronicle and online editor of The San Francisco Examiner.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife of more than 10 years, young son and Boston Terrier. He hopes to restore his 1960 Volvo 122 that the freeways of Los Angeles killed one extremely hot summer day.