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Erika Owens
Philadelphia, PA

Journalism and technology

Knight-Mozilla OpenNews-remote 7/12-present

Program Manager
(1/14 – present) Help manage Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, which supports collaboration between developers and journalists to create projects that strengthen the web and changes people's lives.

  • Coordinate the facets of program with a $1.3 million annual budget, four full-time staff, and seven fellows.
  • Center diversity and inclusion in our work by leading outreach and awareness activities that ensure our programs reflect the diversity of communities we serve.
  • Coordinate the search process, selection, onboarding, and support of fellowship program.
  • Manage micro-grant program to support open-source journalism events around the world with $100,000 in sponsorship funds for over 75 events. Provide event planning and publicity support.
  • Facilitate and help plan events for OpenNews including SRCCON, a four-day fellows onboarding, a fellows hack week, a track of journalism sessions at the annual Mozilla Festival, code convenings, and hackathons.
  • Write regular grant reports, lead ongoing program evaluation, and assist with grant proposals.
  • Share and celebrate the work happening in journalism technology by speaking at conferences including ONA, NICAR, Open Source Bridge, and Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires Media Party.

Community Manager (7/12- 12/13) Provided logistical support to Knight-Mozilla Fellows and helped plan and implement the application outreach and selection process that has been used since 2012. Assisted with hack day events and sponsorship. Contributed to the Source website.

Philadelphia Public School Notebook-Philadelphia, PA 9/07-7/12

Web Editor
(2/09-7/12) Managed content and site administration for, a community-driven, nonprofit news organization.

  • Structured the site to be responsive to the needs and interests of the community. Prioritized the comments section as a place for conversation, reader feedback, and leads that became a robust community online and off. With this approach, the site become the go-to resource for news about public education in Philadelphia.
  • Made sure that information was reliable and easy to find by coordinating with staff and volunteer bloggers to update site every week day and by writing a daily local education news roundup post. Also created a content tagging structure and built out topic pages based on curated pieces for ongoing stories. Installed faceted site search that allowed readers and staff to more easily access over a decade of archives.
  • Supported the the workings of a small, nonprofit by assisting with grant reports and proposals, including a renewal of the site's Knight Community Information Challenge grant.
  • Led redesign process that moved the site to Drupal CMS. Planned and coordinated technical improvements to the site and learned how to manage technical backend.
  • Tracked, analyzed, and shared web metrics with staff and bloggers, which showed more than 500% growth.
  • Managed development of CiviCRM database and assisted with other tech projects.

Business/Operations Manager (9/07-5/09) Sold ads and used FileMaker Pro and Excel to track prospects and payments. Increased ad sales by 30%. Played lead role in planning of annual fund raising event that raised $35,000 per year. Helped proof print edition and managed city-wide distribution. Wrote brief articles.

Solutions for Progress-Philadelphia, PA 6/05-5/07

Content/Usability Editor for The Benefit Bank
(1/06-5/07) The Benefit Bank is a software that streamlines filing taxes and applying for benefits for low-income people. Edited software text to ensure user-friendliness and thoroughness. Coordinated with other teams to develop and maintain content for Federal Taxes module. Gained proficiency with command-line interface, version control, HTML/CSS.

Systems analyst (6/05-1/06) Compiled, analyzed, and synthesized research into detailed software requirements. Managed development of 2005 Ohio State Taxes program.

Leadership and community experience

  • Media Mobilizing Project, development committee, 2015-present
  • Bread and Roses Community Fund, community grantmaking committee, 2014-present
  • Voqal Ideation Fellowship, fellowship selection committee, 2014
  • South Philadelphia Food Co-op, founding board of directors, 2011-13
  • Hacks/Hackers Philadelphia, co-organizer, 2011-present


George Washington University, Washington, DC 2001-2005
Political Science, cum laude graduate. University Honors Program, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List.