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.

How a young developer stumbled in to journalism and landed at FiveThirtyEight

Dhrumil Mehta

On Friday, FiveThirtyEight announced that Dhrumil Mehta (a former Knight Lab student fellow) would be joining their team as a database journalist. It was fun news for us to hear, particularly when you consider that a year and half ago journalism wasn’t even a small part Mehta’s career plan. At the time, Mehta was a senior here at Northwestern and six months from completing a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (with a cognitive science

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

Ethan Marcotte (Photo by Marc Thiele)

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.

Callie Schweitzer on audience hacking, the future of social media editors, and the benefits of authenticity

callie Schweitzer

It seems strange to say now, but a month or two back Callie Schweitzer wasn’t anywhere on my radar. Her name first appeared in my inbox along with a compliment and a bold suggestion for Knight Lab’s Q&A series. And then, suddenly, she was everywhere. She moved from VOX Media to her new gig as director of digital innovation at TIME. Then she crafted a series of insightful posts on the need for authenticity online, how we find news, and a touching, personal account of how she became a journalist. Oh, and she made the Forbes 30-Under-30 list.

Travis Swicegood on leaving startups for journalism, book publishing, and advice for aspiring hacker journalists

Travis Swicegood

Two weeks ago Travis Swicegood announced he’d taken a job at the Texas Tribune that some of us might’ve assumed he already had: news apps and data editor. After all, Swicegood has been a staple and leader in the news developer community for a few years now, publishing two books, speaking at conferences, and shepherding Armstong, an open-source news platform. All that time he’d been director of technology, responsible for everything from keeping the servers up as Texas Tribune provided one of the few live streams of Texas Sen. Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster to wrangling data for the site’s famous salary database.

Accidental journalist Jennifer Brandel on taking assignments from listeners and the need for positive news

Jennifer Brandel

If Jennifer Brandel is an “accidental journalist,” it’s a very happy accident. Brandel’s Curious City project has become a thriving component of the audience engagement program at WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station. Recently, the Knight Foundation recognized the promise of Curious City with a grant to package the project’s technology in hopes of making it easier to extend the program to new cities. Before joining WBEZ, Brandel was an editor and writer for Mule

Mark S. Luckie on finding inspiration, testing ideas, and the importance of asking Why?

Mark S. Luckie

The Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Follow the series. The first eight years of Mark S. Luckie’s career have been rich with accomplishment. For starters he founded and sold 10,000 Words. Then he penned The Digital Journalist’s Handbook, which was published in 2010 and is now in its third edition. He’s also held a variety of writing and technology jobs at the Los Angeles