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Archive of posts with the category
Profiles

  • How WSJ used data and design to show Americans their polarized politics and media

    If you want to see just how polarized America's media and political landscape has become, you’d have a hard time finding something more compelling than Blue Feed, Red Feed from the Wall Street Journal. The project shows the viewer two hypothetical Facebook news feeds — one that contains content from sources favored by very liberal Facebook users, and a second that contains content from sources favored by very conservative users — each of which contain...

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  • How a holiday shopping story led to an investigation of equal access to retail services based on race

    For those of us who aren’t retail executives or addicted to Amazon’s Prime service, Bloomberg’s story on last-minute holiday shopping in November probably didn’t register. The story basically laid out the number of people the retailer could reach with its new Prime Free Same-Day Delivery service and how it might impact brick and mortar retailers like Target and Wal-Mart during the holiday season. But to the reporters who wrote it, that story provided the kernel...

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  • Transforming type: The changing landscape of digital type design and typography

    I’ve been involved in print design since my high school days of working on the school newsmagazine. It’s where I got my start learning the basics of design, layout, typography, and it’s what became the foundation for all my other design-related ventures. Only within the past school year, however, have I started getting into type design and studying typefaces. Type is a very nuanced field to get into—there’s a lot of history to a practice...

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  • An inside look at The Guardian's effort to document deaths at the hands of law enforcement in "The Counted"

    The Guardian's "The Counted" documents law enforcement killings in the United States. 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...

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  • 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...

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  • 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 site that...

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  • How the Washington Post used data and natural language processing to get people to read more news

    In April, Washington Post announced that it had set a new single-month traffic record, with more than 52 million unique visitors. The figure represented not only a new record, but also a 65 percent year-over-year gain that led other big-name publishers, according to the Post. Publisher Frederick J. Ryan praised the addition of new editorial staffers and awards, and then called special attention to engagement: While unique visitors were up 65 percent, pageviews were up...

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  • How and why NPR made 15 years worth of audio available across the web

    Screenshot of NPR's new embeddable audio player. Last month, NPR announced that it would make 800,000 pieces of audio available to embed across the web. While NPR has offered limited embedding since 2009, the depth and breadth of this project is new. It's the first time that NPR will offer a single embeddable player with access to such a large amount of content. The work to design and build the player began earlier this year and was led...

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  • How Byron Lutz untangled the Calderon family's connections and what it tells us about social network analysis

    On Friday, February 21, 2014, two members of a Southern California family dynasty were indicted on a series of political corruption charges, including tax fraud, money laundering, and bribery. Two members of that family — Tom Calderon, a consultant and a former assemblyman, and Ron Calderon, a state senator — would surrender themselves by the following Monday, both pleading not guilty to the charges. Tied to their alleged wrongdoings was an extensive network of people...

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  • Andrew Golis on launching This.cm and creating a social "magazine experience" on the web

    Occasionally we'll do a Q&A with an impressive maker or strategist from media and its fringes. Each person brings a unique perspective on journalism, publishing and technology. Catch up and/or follow the series here. Up until the end of last year, my daily news experience involved sifting through endless tweets and clickbait on Facebook. When I got an invite to This, a link-sharing social network that aims to “find and share the web’s best stories,...

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  • Pop Up Archive's Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith on born digital audio, search and transcriptions

    "Obligatory question: what shows do y’all love to listen? Give ‘em to me. The more obscure the better." "Oh my god, Miranda. There's this podcast, Serial, that is so good." Unless you've been ignoring the future-of-journalism chatter completely, chances are you've begun to tire of the whole "podcasts were dead and now they are back" discourse. This story is everywhere and it’s not exactly accurate, as they never really were "dead." That said, if you...

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  • Jake Shapiro on PRX, developing Radiotopia and the future of web audio

    Follow the full series of Q&As with smart folks shaping the future of media. Find more articles about podcasts, podcasting and audio on the Web. When I first started researching web audio, I was surprised to find again and again that an organization I’d never heard of was leading the charge, pushing hard on the current state of sound on the internet, and helping the medium into the 21st century: Public Radio Exchange, more commonly...

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  • Alex Blumberg on StartUp podcast, Gimlet Media and the future of podcasting

    Follow the full series of Q&As with smart folks shaping the future of media. Find more articles about podcasts, podcasting and audio on the Web. Alex Blumberg is a man who needs little introduction... At least not much of one within public radio and podcast circles. He's produced stories for This American Life for years and co-founded the award-winning Planet Money. Lately, Blumberg has been climbing the iTunes charts with StartUp, a new podcast chronicling...

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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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  • Journalism's biggest data experiment, EveryBlock, relaunches

    Plenty has been written about EveryBlock since word came last month that the site’s owners planned to revive the site after it was abruptly shut down 11 months ago. But last week OpenGovChicago created a unique opportunity for developers, local news lovers, and open data folks: the chance to speak directly with the Comcast executives in charge of bringing EveryBlock back. The event generated plenty of interest in Chicago, the city that gave birth to...

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  • Behind the dialect map interactive: How an intern created The New York Times' most popular piece of content in 2013

    NYT's most popular piece of content in 2013 — “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk” generates a personalized dialect map based upon user responses compared to data from more than 350,000 survey responses collected in 2013. How do you create the most popular piece of content of the year at one of the nation’s most prestigious news outlet? Well, for starters, study or consider careers in politics, law, and philosophy before eventually deciding that...

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

    The Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Follow the series. 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...

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

    The Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Follow the series. 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...

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

    [sc:editors-note notetext="The Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Follow the series." ] 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...

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

    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 Times, Entertainment...

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  • Sisi Wei on news games, learning to code, and improving Code with Me

    The Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Follow the series. As a journalist who is about to graduate, I find easy inspiration in Sisi Wei.  She’s a recent Northwestern grad (class of 2011), which is where I’m studying. More importantly she’s already had a big impact in journalism. She's a news application developer at ProPublica and a co-founder of Code with me, taking on the role of...

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  • Clay Johnson on creative technologists, designing with empathy and news as a community service

    The Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Follow the series. In many ways, Clay Johnson is a force of nature. He is best known as the co-founder of Blue State Digital,  his book — “The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption” — and as a full-throated advocate  for open source information in the federal government. In fact, meeting and befriending Clay was the highlight of my trip to Webstock in February. Formerly,...

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  • Civic Needs App helps developers find interesting problems to solve

    At a National Civic Hack Day event in Chicago earlier this month, one thing was clear: a lot of talented developers want to use their skills for a good cause. The problem is that it's difficult to get all that talent collaborating and working on the right problems. That's why Ryan Briones, who does civic development for the City of Chicago, came up with a new idea he calls the Civic Needs App. With the...

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  • Tasneem Raja on growing an interactive news team, skill-sharing and smart approaches to data

    Using the theory ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as inspiration, the Lab’s profiles are Q&As with smart people who are shaping the future of media. Catch up and/or follow the series here. Meeting the lovely Tasneem Raja was the highlight of my week during 2012's South by Southwest Interactive Conference. Formerly a staff writer at The Chicago Reader and the news apps editor at The Bay Citizen, she is now an editor at Mother Jones leading their interactive storytelling team. She is...

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  • Mohammed Haddad on his journey from computer science to Al Jazeera data driven storyteller

    Using the theory ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as inspiration, the Lab’s profiles are Q&As with highly-impressive makers and strategists from media and its fringes, each with unique perspectives on journalism, publishing and communications technology. We’re talking to smart people who are shaping the future of media. Not all of them work in a newsroom, not all are big names, not all have fancy titles, but each is a bright person with something to...

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  • Claudia Núñez on Chicago Migrahack, hackathons and tolerance

    Using the theory ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as inspiration, the Lab’s profiles are Q&As with highly-impressive makers and strategists from media and its fringes, each with unique perspectives on journalism, publishing and communications technology. We’re talking to smart people who are shaping the future of media. Not all of them work in a newsroom, not all are big names, not all have fancy titles, but each is a bright person with something to...

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  • Chase Davis on data-driven decision making for news projects

    Using the theory ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as inspiration, the Lab’s profiles are Q&As with highly-impressive makers and strategists from media and its fringes, each with unique perspectives on journalism, publishing and communications technology. We’re talking to smart people who are shaping the future of media. Not all of them work in a newsroom, not all are big names, not all have fancy titles, but each is a bright person with something to...

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  • Dan Fletcher on Facebook, good content and monetization

    Editor's note: Using the theory ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as inspiration, the Lab’s profiles are Q&As with highly-impressive makers and strategists from media and its fringes, each with unique perspectives on journalism, publishing and communications technology. We’re talking to smart people who are shaping the future of media. Not all of them work in a newsroom, not all are big names, not all have fancy titles, but each is a bright person with something...

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  • Karen McGrane on mobile, content strategy, fixing technology and the media culture

    Editor's note: Using ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as our marching orders, the Lab's profiles are Q&As with highly-impressive makers and strategists from media (and its fringes), each with unique perspectives on journalism, publishing and communications technology. We’re after smart people shaping the ways we communicate with technology, and not all of them work in a newsroom. Catch up and/or follow the series here. I want to be Karen McGrane when I grow up, and you should want to be...

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  • Michael Lopp on Apple, managing humans and disruptive technology

    Editor's note: Using the theory ‘Hire humans. Not skills. Not roles.’ as inspiration, the Lab’s profiles are Q&As with highly-impressive makers and strategists from media and its fringes, each with unique perspectives on journalism, publishing and communications technology. We’re talking to smart people who are shaping the future of media. Not all of them work in a newsroom, not all are big names, not all have fancy titles, but each are bright people with something to...

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  • Evening Edition's big rush to return to slow news

    The beauty of startup life is how quickly things happen. For Evening Edition — a journalism startup dedicated, ironically, to slow news —quick meant taking a spark of an idea from a Wednesday night Twitter conversation, building it, and launching the product four days later. “In less than a week’s time we went from a joke on twitter, to something that was live and people could subscribe to,” says Jim Ray, one of Evening Edition’s co-founders....

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