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. He describes himself as a mad scientist of journalism.
Hernandez is an associate professor of professional practice at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 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. H has served 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. This virtual gathering is perhaps the best example of his commitment to collaboration and crowdsourcing.
Hernandez is also passionate about diversity in journalism. He is a lifetime member and former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
As director of development for The Seattle Times, where he worked from 2002 until 2009, Hernandez helped shape and execute the vision for the website, 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.