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Archive of posts with the category
Team news

  • Software developers interested in journalism: Northwestern and The Washington Post want you!

    Northwestern University and The Washington Post are offering a unique opportunity for two talented software developers interested in applying their programming skills in media and journalism. Here’s the proposition: (1) a full-tuition scholarship to earn a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University, followed by (2) a six-month paid internship with The Post’s world-class engineering team, with the possibility of subsequent full-time employment. These opportunities are made possible by the John S. and James L....

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  • New team member: Divya Sasidharan, developer, mentor, civic technologist

    Earlier this month we introduced you to a new Knight Lab developer (Rebecca Poulson), today we’re happy to introduce you to a second: Divya Sasidharan. Divya joins Knight Lab from Sparkbox, a web agency in Dayton, Ohio, and brings strong technical ability, a history of civic hacking, and a focus on mentorship that will serve her well at Knight Lab. Divya Sasidharan “Divya is a great addition to the Knight Lab team,” said Joe Germuska,...

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  • New team member: Rebecca Poulson, storyteller and developer

    A few months ago we put out a call for two new developers. Today, we’re happy to announce that the first of those positions has been filled. Rebecca Poulson will join Knight Lab later this month as a developer and will bring a unique skill set that includes storytelling, technology, and virtual reality. Rebecca Poulson “Everyone involved in the hiring process at Knight Lab was impressed by Rebecca’s technical skill and, just as importantly, her...

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  • Steve Tarzia joins Knight Lab as a professional fellow

    Last week Knight Lab welcomed Steve Tarzia as a new professional fellow. During his fellowship, under a program supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Tarzia will work to make a gun violence site he founded more sustainable. Tarzia, who has a Ph.D. in computer science and has worked on development teams at several Chicago companies, launched GunMemorial.org in December and will work at Knight Lab for the next three months to...

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  • Former fellow takes project from Knight Lab to VICE as Knight-VICE innovator

    Knight Lab alumni fellow, Farahnaz Mohammed, received a nice bit of news recently, when she learned that she’d made the cut for the inaugural class of Knight-VICE innovators. Mohammed is among four young journalists selected to develop innovative ideas in journalism that’ll be supported by VICE, Knight Foundation, and City University of New York. Farahnaz Mohammed Mohammed, who graduated from Northwestern’s master’s in journalism program earlier this year, will continue work on a platform she...

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  • Seeking developers interested in journalism: New options at Northwestern

    Through a unique scholarship program, the Medill School at Northwestern University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have brought a dozen talented developers into journalism over the last several years. Successful as these scholarships have been, the program could benefit only those technologists who were able to take a year out of their lives to study journalism in Medill's full-time master's degree program. Now that's changed: Money from the Knight Scholarships is...

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  • Pulitzer Prize-winning story features TimelineJS

    For the second time in three years, a Pulitzer Prize-winning story has featured a piece of Knight Lab technology. The TimelineJS instance the Daily Breeze created to "show the superintendent's machinations through the years." On Monday, the Daily Breeze won the prize in local reporting for its work investigating California’s Centinela Valley Union High School District and its superintendent’s outsize salary. Featured prominently in the series of stories was an instance of TimelineJS, Knight Lab’s...

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  • Joe Germuska expands Knight Lab role

    News veteran and technology expert Joe Germuska will take on an expanded role at the Knight Lab as interim director. Germuska has served as director of software engineering for the Lab. He previously co-founded OpenGovChicago and was on the Chicago Tribune News Apps team. Knight Lab executive director Miranda Mulligan will take a job in late January as creative director of National Geographic Digital. Mulligan has led the Lab for two years. “Our faculty, students,...

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  • New Team Member: Heather Billings, Designer/Developer

    Heather Billings 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...

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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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  • Kicking off a new, international fellowship with Manuel Aristarán

    As we traveled to various conferences and events last year, we met a number of fascinating nerds doing digital journalism work in Latin America, Europe and Africa. We learned a lot from talking and hacking with them, but just as we were getting going, the event would end. We wanted more time to talk to these journalists, and even work with them, and we wanted to connect them to our wider community back home. Manuel...

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  • Knight Lab team at NICAR 2014

    Hello, NICAR 2014. It’s lovely to see you all again. Knight Lab’s brought a small(large) crew to Baltimore for this year's annual conference. Some of us are old friends and some of us are just dying to get to know you. So, please, don't be shy. Reach out and say hello! Student fellows: Alex Duner (freshman, developer, journalism) Tyler Fisher (senior, developer, journalism) — Find Tyler at the student brown bag lunch and from 3-4...

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  • TimelineJS passes 31 million pageviews, 250k deployments

    When we pushed the final design and functionality of TimelineJS out to the world about 18 months ago, it was already a success for Knight Lab. It had been deployed at LeMonde, RadioLab, Gigaom and other big-name publishers. But in the year and half since, TimelineJS become a staple of the the web making world. In fact, early this month the 250,000th instance of TimelineJS was created and deployed. At around the same time reader...

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  • Knight Lab's MozFest 2013 wrap up and link-o-rama

    This post has been updated with additional links to MozFest 2013 content. Kicking off the festival, Friday night begins with a Science Fair at Ravensbourne College. Just like last year, the Knight Lab team took a jump across the pond a couple weeks ago to attend the Mozilla Festival (October 25-27) in London. Still running on fumes from the remaining high felt from our attendance in 2012, the eleven of us were really excited to be there. This incredible...

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  • Meet Chris Williams, programmer-journalist in training and the first Knight/Washington Post scholar

    Chris Williams Chris Williams, a freelance web developer for the past nine years, enrolls in the journalism master's program at the Medill School this week as the first recipient of a Washington Post scholarship for people with programming backgrounds. Williams is the 11th master's student to enroll at Medill under a program established with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to attract experienced programmer-developers into journalism. He is the first to participate in...

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  • Noticias del futuro Knight Lab: My talk at #hhba #mediaparty

    Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires #MediaParty group photo by Ramiro Chanes Last week, my partner-in-crime and the chief nerd around the Lab, Joe Germuska, and I had the privilege to join what just might be the largest Hacks/Hackers gathering in the history of the grassroots journalism organization at the Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires Media Party. The group is reporting over 900 people participated in its three-day gathering, with participants coming from all over North and South America, plus Africa! Ciudad Cultural...

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  • Updates from the past six months, PLUS! Come be a student fellow

    [KICKS OFF SHOES. FALLS INTO CHAIR. LETS OUT AUDIBLE EXHALE.] Oh. My. Guess what?! Last week was my first anniversary here at the Lab. I came to this job with the intention of substantially chipping away at the media-stack, innovative-systems-for-news-publications, journalism-tech "problem." Well, that  expectation was quite naïve. A university is not positioned to produce and support substantial, commercial-level software technology. One can expect ideas and students from a university. The product that a university contributes...

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  • Tyler Fisher on being a Knight Lab student fellow

    In my sophomore year of college, I prototyped a product for a class final project. Thanks to the help and support of the Knight Lab, that modest prototype became a fully realized product in my junior year, and now, it has been used by The Washington Post and WBEZ. Tyler Fisher The full weight of that still hasn't hit me, really. I still find it hard to believe that I have made something of value...

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  • How our university lab is helping prepare future hacker-journalists

    Medill “unicorns” at graduation (left to right): Assistant Prof. Jeremy Gilbert;Hilary Fung; Dan Hill; Sarah Adler; Katie Zhu, Prof. Rich Gordon The Knight Lab produces software -- but not just software. We also help produce a new generation of journalists who can thrive at the intersection of journalism and technology. The lab is contributing to Northwestern's educational mission, while also giving students a platform to prepare themselves to have an impact after they leave. Cases...

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  • On receiving Google Glass: The world – well, the Web – #throughglass

    This post by Knight Lab founding faculty member Owen Youngman originally appeared on his personal blog. Glass, meet Owen. Owen, meet Glass. Wednesday, June 19 — my grades turned in, and commencement yet to come — I headed to Google’s Chelsea Market space in New York City, across the street from the massive New York headquarters building the company bought for $1.9 billion in 2010 (check out Andrew Blum’s book “Tubes” to learn an interesting reason the...

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  • What is Knight Lab? Technology, editorial content and events

    Knight Lab has three major buckets of output – technology, events and editorial – all dependent on the other two for success. Immediately following the announcement of our new blog, my inbox was flooded with questions like these: Is Knight Lab making a content play? Are you all trying to be Nieman Lab? Reporters' Lab? Short answer: No. As this journalism nerd lab evolves, we have found it necessary to expand the definition of our output....

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  • Trying to find your place in the future of news? Find it with a Knight Lab writing fellowship

    Hey, reporters, writers, and bloggers! The Knight Lab has a few fun paying reporting gigs open and we’d like all you bright Northwestern students to apply. The job will give you the opportunity to learn more about technology in journalism, make connections in the news and technology industries, and add professional clips for your portfolio. As a Knight Lab editorial contributor, you’ll help the Lab cover interesting people and cool projects from around the industry,...

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  • How I got my journalism project funded in 10 easy steps

    International Women’s Day is always inspiring and encouraging. But this past March 8, was even more special. That's the day I found out a project I co-founded, Boxx Magazine, had been chosen as one of the winners of the McCormick Foundation’s New Media Women Entrepreneurs (NMWE) grant! Selena Fragassi and I had talked about creating a music magazine highlighting women since our days at Venus Zine in 2010. After watching the documentary Hit So Hard...

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  • We have a new look — and strategy — for the Knight Lab's blog

    Knight Lab's responsively-designed relaunch I am so excited to pull back the curtain on our brand, spankin' new blog design and I'm not sure that we could be more eager to get going. It is a pretty new toy that, in contrast to our old site, will allow us to participate more substantially in the dialogue that is already taking place within our geographically diverse community of journalism-technologists. More importantly, our new name, visual identity,...

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  • Aaron Salmon joins Knight Lab as professional fellow

    It all started with Quake II. Aaron Salmon and his gaming buddies — his “clan,” in the parlance of the game — played the first-person shooter game feverishly in the mid 90s when they decided what they really needed was a website to track scores and records. Salmon built it, reverse engineering the whole thing using view source and eventually filling it with clan member profiles, achievement badges, downloads of maps, and screenshots of clan...

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  • Scott Robbin joins Knight Lab as professional fellow

    What does it take to make Crain Chicago’s 40-Under-40 list? Well, for Scott Robbin it took creating a new way for millions of people to listen to music online while keeping a neighborly eye out for his fellow Chicagoans. All of which makes the Knight Lab very happy to have him as part of our inaugural class of professional fellows. Over the past six years Robbin has done great development work for Twitter, Adobe, and...

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  • Knight Lab's NICAR 2013 wrap up

    Photo by Pete Karl II At the beginning of the month, most of the Knight Lab team participated in the Investigative Reporters and Editors annual computer-assisted reporting conference, NICAR, in Louisville, Feb.  28 - March 3. In its twentieth year, this conference educates journalists on tools and skills for digging deeper into stories and online publishing. Throughout the conference, the team participated in a bunch of sessions. Rich Gordon and Larry Birnbaum reviewed open source licenses and talked with DocumentCloud's Ted...

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  • Numbers and narrative: A computer scientist at NICAR

    NICAR 2013 was my first journalism conference and, as a computer scientist, I can't help but wonder what the implications are of this unprecedented NICAR showing — the largest ever attendance at the conference. The world is changing, to be sure. We are no longer in an age where it is okay to be afraid of mathematics. Everyone from the worlds of journalism, government, and business must become math savvy and computer literate. Today, even some...

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  • NICAR Lightning Talks: A round-up

    Undoubtedly the most attended session at NICAR 2013, the Lightning Talks provided a delightful relief from the heavier (thought certainly worthwhile) information-laden talks that make up the bulk of the conference. Eleven journalists took on the challenge of presenting a topic of their choice in five minutes or fewer. It was lighthearted and fun, but concise but valuable. There’s a rumor that a video of the talks will appear sometime soon (and pictures have surfaced),...

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  • Spreadsheets bridge gap between developers and reporters

    This is my first NICAR, but someone mentioned that NICAR 2012 was “The Year of the Map”, with panels, tutorials, and discussion otherwise centered around new, exciting tools like Mapbox and Leaflet. We invented new terms like BoyerMaps and used the rest of the year to make some incredible map-based news apps. If NICAR 2013 has a theme among its divergent, widely varied sessions, it is the resurgence of an antiquated tool: the spreadsheet. From...

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  • Highlights from NICAR's Year in CAR presentation

    This morning’s Year in CAR presentation at NICAR 2013 provided a great look back not only at some of the great investigative work of the last year, but also some really good visualizations and presentations. The full slide deck from Mark Horvit and Megan Luther’s presentation should be on the IRE site soon, but below are some of my favorites from their list of 2012 data-driven highlights. Click through for some of the great work...

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  • Knight Lab gears up for NICAR

    On Wednesday the Knight Lab will head to Louisville for NICAR. It’s the biggest gathering of our tribe and we couldn’t be more excited. The schedule is stacked with sessions on everything from data visualization to basic Python programming to building news apps with Django. A few Knight Lab staffers and faculty will add their insight to the mix at the following sessions: Mobile + DataViz: Friends or Frenemies: Miranda Mulligan will talk about data...

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  • Spark Camp: Design – Recap and thoughts

    Around the beginning of the year, I participated in a Spark Camp, this time themed around design and designers – which was the fourth in a series which has already covered themes like "real-time," "data" and "money" – and hosted in Palo Alto, Ca., on Jan. 11-13. Lunch and the Spark Camp idea wall in the atrium – d.school at Stanford University Hosted in conjunction with the d.school at Stanford University, campers were asked to focus the weekend's...

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  • Pair-programming-ish learning model and Code With Me Miami thoughts

    First, this post is incredibly tardy, yet I am going to publish it anyway. This Lab-hosted event was just too cool! Two weekends ago, Feb 2-3, Knight Lab hosted a Code With Me workshop at the University of Miami's School of Communication. This was the second of the two-day introductory web-making workshop for journalists offered by co-founders and Medill School alumns Tom Giratikanon and Sisi Wei. The first one was hosted by NPR in D.C. last...

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  • What j-schools can learn from music conservatories: CompJ

    Was Computation + Journalism an academic conference or an industry conference? It's hard to say, especially when nearly every panel through its two days featured a working journalist and an educator, and an equally diverse audience pressed questions from many ends of the field. Unsurprisingly, the debates that came to the fore early and often centered around that intersection between educators and practicing journalists. As a student in a journalism school, I paid special attention...

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  • Creating hacker journalists: Medill and WaPo announce partnership

    Last week the Washington Post and Medill School of Journalism announced a partnership to offer programmers scholarships to study journalism at the school. The hope, of course, is that those programmers will eventually bring their technical skills to news organizations around the country. “We need to have more technologists who speak journalism and have hands on experience with it,” says Rich Gordon, a Knight Lab co-founder and the Medill professor who founded the scholarship program....

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  • Computation + Journalism demo projects

    This week a few Knight Lab staffers, students, and faculty made it to the Computation + Journalism Symposium at Georgia Tech. It’s been a great couple of days filled with new ideas, lively Twitter debates, and plenty of new faces. One of the highlights so far has been the demo presentation Thursday night. We thought these innovative projects and ideas deserved some attention beyond the conference so we’ve collected descriptions and screenshots of as many...

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  • Knight Lab student fellow lands at Twitter

    Katie Zhu Northwestern senior Katie Zhu had no journalism experience coming into college, just a love for writing and English. Almost four years later, Zhu has become a promising young journalist in the digital news world, combining her journalism major with a computer science major that has led to a bevy of journalism internships and an engineering job with Twitter. This technological leap from journalism was first inspired by an interactive project on the North...

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  • Automated journalism prototypes

    The Knight Lab takes new, innovative ideas wherever we can find them — conferences, quick chats with industry folks, academics, students, etc. But one of the surest places for us to look is Northwestern’s Innovation in Journalism and Technology class. Sure, it’s close to home, but it’s also unique because we get to see prototypes in action — a rarity when discussing ideas and innovation in journalism. As Larry Birnbaum, a Lab co-founder who co-teaches...

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  • NewsFoo 2012: What we learned, where we're going

    We wanted to take advantage of the great brains assembled at last week's News Foo event, so we proposed a panel to suss out "big questions in journalism" that the lab should tackle. As might be expected from an unconference, the conversation ranged a lot more widely than our official topic. For starters, a number of folks had general questions about how the Lab works: Who are your stakeholders? Will your tools mostly be journalist-facing...

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  • Ignite #NewsFoo 2012: 'Design is the missing link'

    Over the weekend, some of the Knight Lab team participated in News Foo, an unconference at the Cronkite School of Journalism, hosted by O’Reilly Media and the Knight Foundation. It's in its third year, deliberately maintains small – somewhat controversial – attendee list of about 150 "campers," all of which are involved in technology and/or journalism an interesting ways. It was overwhelming and exciting and we feel incredibly grateful have had the opportunity to participate. I...

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  • New team member: Director of Software Engineering

    Joe Germuska We are pleased to announce that Joe Germuska will be joining the Lab as the Director of Software Engineering. He joins us from The Chicago Tribune, where he has worked as a news apps developer for the past couple of years, and brings with him twenty years of software design and development experience. We are all atingle with excitement. In his tenure at The Chicago Tribune, Germuska was instrumental in building out their crime, elections and schools applications, among...

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  • Knight Lab's MozFest 2012 wrap up

    Last week, a significant portion of the Knight Lab team was fortunate enough to join the Mozilla Festival in London, November 9-12. This incredible event, hosted by the Mozilla Foundation, is in its third year and intends to motivate an entire generation of web makers. As far as we can tell, they are doing this job well. In fact, during the Sunday morning keynote, Mozilla's executive director, Mark Surman shared an anecdote that an attendee had likened #MozFest to #SXSWi in its early...

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  • MozFest: Turning data in to a story in three hours? Almost.

    This year at MozFest, I responded to a “call for help” from three African nations to solve the mysterious drop in life expectancy they experienced. In a session called “Data Expeditions: Scout the Data Landscape with our Data Sherpas” (organized by a caped Michael Bauer) all participants split into groups to research and tell a story. My group, made of people with diverse backgrounds, reminded me how valuable a wide variety of skill sets can...

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  • Oh, the places you'll go, Hacker Journalists!

    My, how far we've come. We, meaning the OpenNews community. A little over a year ago, I was sitting in Berlin with 20 amazing, talented individuals — five of whom were to be the first OpenNews fellows — and five of the best news organizations in the world. Gunner, Michelle Thorne, Mark Surman, Ryan Merkley, Dan Sinker (and his beard) were all in attendance. We called our event #hacktoberfest, and it was the penultimate stage...

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  • One person's work, another's new idea at MozFest

    I have a rocky relationship with note taking. In middle school, my teachers encouraged me to copy their presentation slides word for word, insisting that putting pen to paper would help me retain information. I quickly realized that I would learn nothing that way, and I still struggle to note important and interesting events because in the most interesting moments, note-taking is the last thing I want to think about. This weekend, MozFest showed me...

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  • Dan on Data at MozFest

    I spent a lot of time at MozFest thinking about data and how we can use it as journalists. Here’s a quick recap of the sessions I attended and the lessons I learned. Data Expeditions More than 50 journalists and engineers followed a group of  “data sherpas” in to a role-playing game-style hack on datasets in the “Data Expeditions” session. The three-hour session was intended to be a hack and teams — consisting of storytellers,...

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  • @KnightLab gets a new voice

    Stephen Autar Stephen is the Knight Lab’s newest student fellow and he’ll be running our Twitter handle for the next several months. We’d originally planned to shamelessly steal the @Sweden model, recruiting a rotating cast of slightly off beat, moderately offensive contributors. But the idea has evolved over the last few weeks, and we think will Stephen will be running the show through the end of the year and maybe longer. So, who is Stephen?...

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  • The Knight Lab goes to Menlo

    Last month, we kidnapped the entire Knight Lab team on a road trip to Michigan to visit Menlo Innovations and take their popular course Project Management: The Menlo Way—or as we fondly to refer to the trip, forced family fun time. Normally a three-day workshop, Menlo arranged a one-day intensive course for our small group. Located in large, open-floor-planned basement with concrete floors and a sizeable glass wall at the entrance, Menlo is unlike the...

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  • Following @Sweden's bold example

    Remember all the fun and trouble caused when Sweden gave regular old citizens control of @sweden on Twitter? Yup, we do too. And since it seems like the embarrassment to entertainment value bends toward entertainment we’re doing the same thing with @KnightLab. Starting next month @KnightLab will be handed to Northwestern students for a month at a time. Since Northwestern students are a pretty bright lot we’ve got some confidence that we’re making a good...

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  • Knight Lab wins an Online Journalism Award for Congressional Primaries

    The Knight Lab won an award at the Online News Association conference in San Francisco last week! We won in the Planned News/Event category for our work on Congressional Primaries. The project was a ton of work and literally everyone in the Lab contributed code, research, partnership development, or publicity so it was nice to get some recognition for such a collaborative effort. Thanks also to the broadcasters and publishers around the state who adopted...

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  • Miranda Mulligan to head Knight Lab

    EVANSTON, Ill., June 28, 2012 — Miranda Mulligan, a seasoned innovator in journalism, education and news web design, has been named executive director of Northwestern University's Knight News Innovation Laboratory. The lab, which brings together journalists and computer scientists, aims to develop innovative technologies to be used by journalists, publishers and citizens locally, in the U.S. and abroad. Miranda Mulligan "This is an incredible team to be joining, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to further...

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  • Congressional Primaries 2012: ONA award submission

    In early 2012 the Knight News Innovation Laboratory at Northwestern University developed CongressionalPrimaries.org, a suite of technologies to help news organizations around Illinois cover the Congressional primaries. Sixteen news organizations used the Lab's tools to augment traditional election coverage or to present readers with ready-made profiles of every congressional primary candidate in Illinois who had a social media footprint. There were 25 contested primaries in Illinois this year – the first campaigns in districts that...

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  • A Welcome to the Lab's Advisory Board

    Because we're located at Northwestern University, the Knight Lab has the benefit of frequent interaction with a bunch of really smart and creative students and faculty. With the hiring of relationships manager Ryan Graff, we've begun to gear up our ongoing dialogue with publishers in the Chicagoland area. But everyone can use some outside advice, and to help us in that task we've assembled an advisory board of talented individuals with deep expertise and diverse...

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