A Northwestern University joint initiative of Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science. Northwestern University joint initiative of Medill & McCormick School of Engineering.
Blog: August 2013

A guide to online tutorials for the code-curious journalist

“I definitely think that coding now is a kind of a literacy, no matter what position you are in,” – Louise Ma, WNYC’s data news interaction designer, in CJR Here’s a fact: The occupation of newspaper reporter was recently rated by one career services website as the No. 1 worst job of 2013. With a negative six percent projected job growth and a painfully low median salary, it’s become clear that the concept the “traditional”

Journalists! We’re building a tool to help you discover obscure relationships and we’d like your help

Can new software help journalists do a better job of gathering, organizing and making sense out of newsworthy information? That’s the question the Knight Lab has set out to answer through our Untangled project. When Joe Germuska wrote about Untangled in April, we were imagining a multipurpose “browser-based knowledge management” tool that would help journalists keep track of information they found online. Since then, we have explored this idea through a variety of

User testing: how news designers and developers add context to quantitative data

Last week I wrote about how news organizations use A/B testing to help iterate on design elements such as page layout and headline writing-style in order to increase reader engagement. The technique provides essential information about what a reader is doing, but it does have limitations. “When you’re only looking at metrics you see the what, but you don’t see the why,” said Steve Mulder, director of user experience and analytics at NPR

Ethan Marcotte on web design, accessibility and why it matters to journalists, digital storytellers

My career has been blessed with many mentors, but few have had a more profound effect on my work, and my career, than Ethan Marcotte. We worked together on the imagining, responsive design, prototyping and launch of The Boston Globe’s new website — BostonGlobe.com — in 2011. In 2012, he was named in Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” Formerly, Ethan worked as a designer for Happy Cog, and many of his clientele have been journalism-oriented publications, including People Magazine, New York Magazine and (of course) The Boston Globe. Read on to learn more about his perspective on web design, accessibility and how digital storytellers and publishers grow audience and increase reach.

New journ-tech community in Miami + Follow-up to the Code with Me Miami workshop

Code With Me Miami aimed to teach 18 local journalists basic HTML, CSS and jQuery so they could make better web stories. Several participants have gone on to do just that in their newsrooms, but that small workshop has paid far bigger dividends than any of us could have anticipated six months ago. One of the most unique aspects of Code With Me is its community spirit. The workshop was jam-packed with information, but the learning model and activities were made to be social, approachable and, well, fun. By the end of the weekend, participants and mentors had made connections that have since flourished …

Disqus helps Knight Lab gather feedback on Refine—Better Commenting

Earlier this week Disqus published an article about Knight Lab’s Refine—Better Commenting technology. The post is the first semi-tangible result of a conversation we started with Disqus many months ago and one that might help shape the future of the technology. Refine—Better Commenting basically takes high-volume comment feeds (think CNN, where certain stories attract thousands of comments), analyzes them and provides users unique insight into what’s being discussed most. From the Disqus post: