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:heather billings

Newsroom love stories start with collaboration and communication

This twice-weekly exchange has been going on since my first editor’s meeting two years ago when I first joined the editing team of North by Northwestern, Northwestern’s online student-run news magazine: “We’re going to do a story on the architecture on campus for this Sunday,” a section editor declares excitedly at the editorial meeting. “It’s going to be interactive. It’ll be so cool!” “That’s great,” a managing editor responds. “Have you talked to

New Team Member: Heather Billings, Designer/Developer

We are pleased to announce that Heather Billings will be joining the Lab as a designer and developer. Heather comes to us from the Chicago Tribune, where she has been a member of the News Apps team for the past three years. I’m very excited to have the chance to work with Heather again. When we brought her onto the team at the Chicago Tribune, I was already impressed by her smart, humane, and generous presence on social media. The

How to learn to code: Tell everyone, then ask questions

The second you decide to learn to code, let everyone – your parents, your grandparents, your Twitter followers – know. Coding might be portrayed as a loner activity in the media, but I’ve found that when coding your best friend is the universal coding community. I built my first portfolio site with the help of learn.knightlab.com last fall. The feat took me a year to complete. In hindsight, I realize that part of

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

Design thinking on Chicago’s crime data — Chicago Crime Hack

paper prototype from chicago crime hack

On Saturday the Knight Lab hosted its second in a series of three Chicago Crime Hacks, which help hackers explore Chicago’s crime data via the Chicago Tribune’s Crime API. This weekend, in addition to all the usual hack day activities, attendees participated in a unique design thinking exercise. After a brief bit of instruction from Joe Germuska, Heather Billings and David Eads about how to navigate the API, curious hackers, students, Knight Lab fellows and members from the