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.

City Hall Monitor seeks to help reporters find newsworthy documents

City Hall Monitor's filter allows users to find non-routine documents quickly.

This week we’re happy to announce a first iteration of City Hall Monitor, a project designed to help reporters in Chicago find unique, newsworthy documents among a slew of mundane government paperwork. Currently, a journalist who searches the city’s archives is likely to be buried under a pile of boring documents that are unlikely to provide much journalistic value (think approvals for awnings or sidewalk cafés and notes of congratulation or gratitude). Though

How I built my first mobile app scraper

An example of Charles when it is allowed to capture details about HTTPS requests from Whatsgoodly.

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”

Richard Perkins was the 1000th person to be added to The Guardian's "The Counted" project.

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

The website for the US Digital Services Playbook looks like anything but a typical government website. Find it at playbook.cio.gov/.

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?

snapchat

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