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Erika Owens
Philadelphia, PA

Journalism and technology

Knight-Mozilla OpenNews-remote 7/12-present

Program Manager
(1/14 – present) Manage Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, which supports the journalism technology community to build connections and leadership.

  • Coordinate program with an annual budget of $1.3 million, four staff, and seven fellows.
  • Center inclusion in our work by leading outreach and awareness activities so that our programs welcome the diversity of communities we serve.
  • Lead the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship program, which places coders in newsrooms for 10 months to work on open-source tools and support reporting in the public interest. Manage the search process, selection, orientation, and support of the fellows.
  • Administer micro-grant program to support open-source journalism events around the world with $100,000 in sponsorship funds. Provide planning and publicity support for over 75 events. This program has assisted in creation of annual community events in Argentina, Spain, Armenia, and the US.

Community Manager (7/12- 12/13) Provided logistical support to Knight-Mozilla Fellows and co-developed a fellowship recruitment strategy that diversified the pool of candidates and focused on the needs of fellows throughout the process.

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 website to be responsive to the needs and interests of the community. Prioritized the comments section as a place for conversation and reader engagement that became a robust community online and off.
  • Implemented technical and editorial processes to ensure information was reliable and easy to find, which resulted in 500% growth of web traffic after site redesign.
  • Supported the workings of a small nonprofit by assisting with grant reports and proposals. Researched and helped create membership program. Managed development of CiviCRM database and assisted with 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

  • Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), board of directors, 2016 - present
  • Media Mobilizing Project, development committee, 2015-present
  • Bread and Roses Community Fund, community grantmaking committee, 2014-15
  • 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

Event experience

Speaking, facilitation, and organizing, 2011-present


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