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: March 2014

StoryMapJS Beta gets a fresh look, MapBox maps, and a new gigapixel image tool

Back in December we released an alpha version of StoryMapJS, our tool to help journalists tell better stories with maps. Since then it’s been adopted by a number of journalists and deployed around the world — helping to tell the stories about boarding school runaways in England and chart the impact of the debt ceiling debate in the U.S. among many others. We have been refining StoryMapJS and rolled out a few bug

Kicking off a new, international fellowship with Manuel Aristarán

As we traveled to various conferences and events last year, we met a number of fascinating nerds doing digital journalism work in Latin America, Europe and Africa. We learned a lot from talking and hacking with them, but just as we were getting going, the event would end. We wanted more time to talk to these journalists, and even work with them, and we wanted to connect them to our wider community back

How humans make crime data apps more compelling

Chicago Tribune homi

I’m constantly in awe of the newest “data-driven news app.” I ooh and ahh at choropleth maps and play around with filters, marveling at what I’ve always thought to be the product of exclusive scraping, APIs and D3. I didn’t really think beyond the data wrangling and visualization toolkit. When the Los Angeles Times launched a redesign of The Homicide Report, I marveled at that, too. But this time, instead of concentrating on

Five data scraping tools for would-be data journalists

Scraper's user interface

This past Fall, I spent time with the NPR News Apps team (now known as NPR Visuals) coding up some projects, working mainly as a visual/interaction designer. But in the last few months, I’ve been working on a project that involves scraping newspaper articles and Twitter APIs for data. I was a relative beginner with Python — I’d pair coded a bit with others and made some basic programs, but nothing too complicated.

Preserving interactive news projects with Newseum, OpenNews and Pop Up Archive

On Sunday, March 2, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, the Newseum and Pop Up Archive hosted a one-day conference focused on solving a fairly new problem: How to preserve the new breed of complex interactive projects that are becoming more prevalent in news. While print newspapers are relatively well-preserved, we as an industry do a poor job of preserving interactive databases and online data visualizations, and they are in danger of being lost to history. Inside

A beginner’s guide to collecting Twitter data (and a bit of web scraping)

As a student fellow at the Knight Lab, I get the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects. Recently, I’ve been working with Larry Birnbaum, a Knight Lab co-founder, and Shawn O’Banion, a computer science Ph.D. student, to build an application that takes a user’s Twitter handle, analyzes their activity and returns a list of celebrities that they tweet most like. It’s not an earth-shattering project, but it is a fun