Archive of posts from
April 2014

  • Help us improve twXplorer, our Twitter search tool for journalists

    As part of his academic research, graduate student fellow Neil Holt is examining ways in which Knight Lab’s twXplorer might be updated to be more useful to working journalists. This is the first post in a series. Knight Lab is looking to bring its well-reviewed Twitter search tool, twXplorer to the next level over the next three months and we’re hoping you’ll help shape its future by telling us where you’d like to see it go....

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  • Five tips to help you make the most of your first hackathon

    [caption id="attachment_5488" align="alignnone" width="850"] The author's project from HackIllinois.[/caption] Last weekend I participated in HackIllinois, a 36-hour hackathon hosted at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There wasn’t a set theme other than to create something awesome, which left participants open to hack on whatever they wanted — web apps, mobile apps, hardware hacks, and anything else you can imagine. While all this creative freedom sounded great at first, my teammates and I — all first-time...

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  • How the NYT graphics team prepped for and carried out its Sochi Olympics plan

    The New York Times’ graphics team began working on the many explanatory, video-based interactives and composite images for the Winter Olympics many months in advance. When the Olympics roll around every two years, virtually every news site covers it in one way or another. For interactive teams in particular, the Olympic spectacle provides a wealth of opportunity to craft stories that are beautiful, functional and informational. For Sochi many newsrooms put together great packages (some...

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  • 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...

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  • StoryMapJS' GigaPixel tool follows Game of Thrones adventure

    Last week we put the final touches on a StoryMapJS update. As we were wrapping things up, we started to look for fun way to show off the new GigaPixel tool, which allows you to use the StoryMap interface to explain what’s happening in a static image. Eventually we decided to follow the Game of Thrones character Arya through the show’s imagined world of Westeros. The Lab’s operations and project manager (and resident Game of...

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  • Building a content creation ecosystem: journalism and collaboration on the web

    Editorially, one of the first and prominent of the collaborative "pre-CMS" tools, recently announced that it will shut down May 30 despite much fanfare from users. I once worked at a content creation agency in Boston where we churned out an exorbitant volume of content for client companies’ websites on a daily basis. Each writer was responsible for 15-20 stories per day that ranged from 200 to 500 words. We peer-edited and posted all of...

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