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: 2015

How I built my first mobile app scraper

Scraping web pages is a well documented process. There are plenty of guides on how to pull information using plugins like Python’s Beautiful Soup or browser extensions like Kimono. Many web applications even provide public APIs for gathering information, such as Facebook’s Graph API. Yet, there is a growing set of popular mobile apps that do not have a public API. Apps like Yik Yak, Tinder, and others contain a wealth of information

An inside look at The Guardian’s effort to document deaths at the hands of law enforcement in “The Counted”

On Nov. 15, Richard Perkins was fatally shot by officers in Oakland, California. His death marked the 1,000th entry in The Guardian’s The Counted’s database that now includes more than 1,063 names. The project launched June 1, and has quickly won acclaim for its relatively robust law enforcement killings database, which is generated via tips submitted on the Guardian website or on social media. In fact, in October, James Comey, the director of

The challenges awaiting journalists heading toward virtual reality

While virtual reality has just recently emerged as a storytelling tool for journalists — The Columbia Journalism Review even calls it “journalism’s next frontier.” — filmmakers and gaming enthusiasts have been experimenting with the technology for much longer. To get a sense of where the technology might be headed and the challenges journalists are likely to face as they adopt the technology, I talked with two people who have been working with VR

Uncle Sam’s digital makeover and the lessons it holds for publishers

In September, 18F, a team of designers and developers within the General Services Administration (GSA), and the United States Design Services (USDS) released the US Web Design Standards, a project that aims to unite all government websites under a single set of guidelines that guides visual design and user experience. This idea of creating a brand focused on simplifying something as infamously monstrous and unfriendly as digital bureaucracy was ambitious to say the

Big tech wants to help journalism. What’s that mean for creative storytelling and the user experience?

As a typical #millennial I get most of my news from the organizations and friends I follow on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also started regularly checking Snapchat Discover for curated entertainment content at my fingertips. This year, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Snapchat and Apple all released new news aggregation and presentation features and apps for mobile. There are so many new ways to get your daily dose of news and information that it can be

No soft focus: Behind the design and launch of Broadly

When Broadly, Vice’s female-centric vertical debuted on August 3, 2015, I was struck not just by the kinds of content they were putting out, but also by its clean yet personable design that complemented its unique voice. Unlike the heavy black color scheme and font weights of Vice Media’s other sites, Broadly was bold in its use of color, typography and grids. I was curious about how Vice designed and launched Broadly, a