Hi, I'm Dan
I've built a life out of making things that people love. For 25 years--starting when I was just 19 years old--I've made real things that break new ground, resonate with communities, and amplify new voices.
From a start in punk rock publishing, to working with some of the most impactful newsrooms in journalism, to giving keynote presentations around the world, I've covered a lot of ground over the years. The connection between it all has been pushing the boundaries of possibility while staying firmly rooted in reality.
This is what I bring to all my work.
Let's work together
I'd love to talk about how we might do stuff together. Here are the best ways to get in touch with me:
I do a lot, so here's the most recent things I've put out in the world.
- Big Shrimps | Published by Says Who on Feb 24, 2021
- There’s No Such Thing as a 'Good' Parent in a Pandemic | Published by Esquire on Feb 19, 2021
- Ice to Meet You | Published by Says Who on Feb 18, 2021
- The Madness of Dan Sinker | Published by Says Who on Feb 10, 2021
- Jitterbug Dan | Published by Says Who on Feb 3, 2021
Things I’ve done
While the path I've taken has never been a straight one, the throughlines have always been communities, communication, and amplifying voices at the edges.
For the last two years, I've focused on bringing my skills to a variety of organizations, including for-profit, nonprofit, and academic. Helping orgaizations think through how to design real programs for real people, how to keep them engaged, and how to be scrappy and adaptable is something I love to do. Probably I'd love to do that with you too, so be in touch.
From 2011 until summer 2018 I was the Director of OpenNews, which helps make journalism-technologists in some of the best newsrooms in the world more awesome by facillitating community and collaboration among them. My work at OpenNews included founding the Knight-Mozilla Fellowships, which placed creative technologists into newsrooms around the world, and SRCCON, a yearly conference built around highly-participatory problem solving and skill sharing among the best technologists in journalism.
At just 19, I founded Punk Planet magazine, an independent music, politics and culture magazine that helped to document the independent music and art scenes of the 1990s and 2000s. Punk Planet is widely credited as the definitive voice of independent culture at the time as well as helping to bridge the gap between cuture and activism. Constantly blazing new paths for 13 years, we also published books in collaboration with stalwart indie publisher Akashic Books.
I continued my commitment to independent media production as the co-host of Says Who Podcast, a weekly podcast dedicated to helping people survive the current presidential administration through comedy and coping, and of The Hitch podcast, a podcast about road tripping and adventure, often recorded from the road in my trailer.
One of the things I'm most notorious for is the @MayorEmanuel Twitter account, back in 2010/11. The account, written anonymously at the time, told a fantastical story of an alternate-universe Chicago during the 2011 Mayoral Election. By the time the account wrapped up, The Economist said it "may be the first truly great piece of digital literary work."
In addition to making all this (and more), I have taught journalism as a member of the full-time faculty at Columbia College Chicago from 2008-2011 and was a JSK Fellow at Stanford University from 2007-2008 where I studied the impact of mobile technology on storytelling.
I've done so much more than this. A (mostly) defininitive list is at the end of this page.
I write about culture, politics, and technology. Occasionally I freelance so get in touch. Here's what I've written recently.
- There’s No Such Thing as a 'Good' Parent in a Pandemic | Esquire, Feb 19, 2021
- The Birds are Outside | The New York Times, Nov 26, 2020
- The 2020 Tax | Esquire, Oct 1, 2020
- The Crushing Reality of Zoom School | Esquire, Sep 16, 2020
- One Hundred and Fifty Days | Esquire, Aug 13, 2020
- To Be a Parent Right Now Is To Be a Liar | Esquire, Jul 21, 2020
- How Many Sick Children and Teachers Are Worth It? What About Dead Ones? | Esquire, Jul 10, 2020
- Beto O'Rourke Would Make an Excellent Mix Tape. But He Shouldn't Run for President (Yet). | Esquire, Mar 14, 2019
- Michael Cohen Went Viral in 2016. That Moment Offers a Dire Warning for Republicans. | Esquire, Mar 1, 2019
- In Bezos vs. the National Enquirer, Everyone's a Dick | Esquire, Feb 9, 2019
- There Are Three Distinct Types of Trump Cronies Under Indictment. Roger Stone Is Now Among Them. | Esquire, Jan 26, 2019
- Will Donald Trump Be Undone by the Dumbest Motherfucker Imaginable? | Esquire, Jan 19, 2019
- In 2019, The Media Has to Do Better in Calling Out Trump's Shit | Esquire, Jan 5, 2019
- If the Latest Facebook Revelations Won't Get You to Delete It, What Will? | Esquire, Dec 20, 2018
- The most shocking thing about James Comey's book is how much it sucks | AV Club, Apr 20, 2018
- Fire and Fury Doesn't Tell Us Anything We Don't Already Know--and That's Why It's Important | AV Club, Jan 12, 2018
- How I Resist (contributor) | Published by Wednesday Books, 2018
- The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel | Published by Scribner, 2011
- We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet, the collected interviews (Expanded Edition) | Published by Punk Planet Books, 2007
- We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet, the collected interviews | Published by Akashic Books, 2001
A look at all the stuff I've done
Well, probably not "all," but it's close.
- Impeachment.fyi: A newsletter and micro-site that summarizes and delivers the latest news about the impeachment every day. 2019
- Has Roger Stone Violated His Gag Order Yet?: A single-serving website tracking news around Roger Stone's gag order. Spoiler alert: he has. 2019
- Inaugural Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence Fellow: I will be engaging with students and experimenting with journalism as a Fellow at DePaul University's Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence. 2019
- Says Who Patreon: The community support mechanism for Says Who podcast, launched to help support our move to a weekly broadcast. 2018-present
- The Hitch: A new podcast that follows me and my wife Janice as we pick up from a year of fighting cancer, buy a trailer, and hit the road. 2018-present
- OMFG.church: Your one-stop shop (and one-page shop) for Pee Tape and Robert Mueller Prayer Candles. 2018-present
- Pee Tape and Robert Mueller Prayer Candle Kickstarter: A Kickstarter to pray for an end to the Trump administration with Pee Tape and Robert Mueller III Prayer Candles. 25-day Kickstarter ended up being the most funded candle in Kickstarter history. 2018
- Trump Poop Watch: A website to track Trump's visits to his own properties. 2017-present
- SRCCON:Work: A conference from OpenNews dedicated to fixing newsroom culture. December 2017
- Says Who Podcast: A biweekly podcast that's not a podcast, it's a coping strategy for living in Trump's America. Hosted with Maureen Johnson. 2016-present
- Someone With Tiny Hands: A Chome extension I wrote that accidently caused Wired magazine to refer to Trump as "Someone with Tiny Hands." 2016
- SRCCON: A yearly conference from OpenNews that brings together journalism-technologists for deep collaboration. 2014-present
- Tacofancy: A github repository for object-oriented, collaborative taco creation. 2013-present
- Mobile Judges: A site that formatted recommendations for Illinois judicial retention elections into a mobile site. 2012-2016
- Source: A site from OpenNews that looks behind-the-scenes at the work happening in newsroom tech. 2012-present
- CellStories: A site that published short fiction five days a week formatted exclusively for mobile phones before that was actually a thing. 2008-2009
- Bail magazine: A quarterly magazine dedicated to the art and culture that grew out of skateboarding in the 1980s and 90s. 2004
- Punk Planet Books: The book publishing arm of Punk Planet magazine, a partnership with Akashic Books. 2003-2007
- Punk Planet Magazine: A music, politics, and culture magazine chronicling the fiercely independent culture of punk rock. 1994-2007
I Can Come and Speak
I give keynote presentations that keep people talking. I can speak about technology and people, the current state of journalism (and its future), independent production, making things that matter, or whatever else you'd like me to come talk about (I mean, within reason). I'm represented by the Chartwell Speakers Bureau so click through and get in touch.
Oh yeah, also there's this
I was on the Colbert Report.