Joe Germuska

Chief Nerd

Joe runs Knight Lab’s technology, professional staff and student fellows. Before joining us, Joe was on the Chicago Tribune News Apps team. Also, he hosts a weekly radio show on WNUR-FM – Conference of the Birds.

Posts

Posts by Joe Germuska

  • Introducing StorylineJS

    Today we're excited to release a new tool for storytellers.

    A screenshot of a StorylineJS instance StorylineJS makes it easy to tell the story behind a dataset, without the need for programming or data visualization expertise. Just upload your data to Google Sheets, add two columns, and fill in the story on the rows you want to highlight. Set a few configuration options and you have an annotated chart, ready to embed on your website. (And did we mention, it looks great on phones?) As...

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  • A Google Spreadsheets change affecting TimelineJS users

    Google recently changed something about their Sheets service which is causing many people to run into an error when they are making a new timeline. Note: there should be no impact on existing timelines! After this change, many of you click on the "preview" and get this message: An unexpected error occurred trying to read your spreadsheet data [SyntaxError] Timeline configuration has no events. There is a straightforward work-around, but it requires those of you who have...

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  • A few small improvements to StoryMapJS

    Based on research and user testing, we're making a number of small changes to StoryMapJS. We think they make the tool easier to use, but we wanted to explain the changes for any veteran users who might notice them. Thumbnail preview First, we made a simple change to the media section: you'll now see a thumbnail preview of whatever media you've attached to the slide. This should make it easier for people to know what they are looking at...

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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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  • Introducing the StoryMapJS Alpha, now with an authoring tool

    Where? is one of the fundamental questions journalists set out to answer, but often, the maps produced to accompany stories feel flat, or are hard to interpret. StoryMapJS is a new Knight Lab tool to help you connect the places of your story into a media-rich narrative. Like its sibling, TimelineJS, StoryMap makes it really easy to illustrate your work with photos, videos, sound, tweets and more. And today it's easier still: a couple of months...

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  • Announcing StoryMapJS developer release — a new tool for storytellers

    TimelineJS is the Knight Lab's most popular project, and is one of the most widely used interactive storytelling tools on the web. Today we're excited to announce an early-access release of its sibling, StoryMapJS. Like TimelineJS, StoryMapJS is primarily developed by Medill professor Zach Wise, based on his experience developing interactive news projects at The New York Times and the Las Vegas Sun. While TimelineJS makes it easy for you to tell stories based on...

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  • TimelineJS — Now with even more Knight Lab

    From the beginning, TimelineJS has been a project of Northwestern University Knight Lab. However, when Zach Wise first set out to create it, the Knight Lab had a less developed software process and identity, so Zach presented Timeline as a product of his personal Verite.co website. Since then, two things have happened: TimelineJS has become wildly popular, and the Knight Lab has established cohesive design guidelines and a more methodical software development process. In the...

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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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  • Introducing Neighborhood Buzz

    Neightborhood Buzz, Chicago, O'hare, Science tweets As social media have become a regular part of daily life, people have wondered what they can learn about themselves and their communities from the millions of messages posted online—especially on Twitter, because it is so public and so conversational. Many projects in this space begin by selecting tweets for analysis based on who tweeted or specific terms used in the tweets. Students in our Fall 2012 Innovation in...

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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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  • Untangled: New Lab project aims to improve browser-based knowledge management for journalists

    When we canvassed the community at News Foo late last fall, many people described tools they'd like to see which help journalists manage and make sense of data. These suggestions encouraged us to make a specific 2013 initiative we're calling "Reporters' Notebook," in which we'll look at existing tools and imagine new ones. As one step in brainstorming possibilities, we returned to a student project called Untangld. This project came out of our collaborative innovation classes,...

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  • Moving the Needle 2012: Kickstarter journalism and alt. approaches

    This week we have been taking time to acknowledge what we think are significant achievements, advances and cool projects from the past year in the technology + journalism space for our Moving the Needle 2012. The recently published Tow Center report, "Post-industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present," documents the collapse of the long-standing advertising subsidy, pointing out the need for new business models. Today, we look at a few new approaches: For a few journalism projects, Kickstarter provided a...

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  • Moving the Needle 2012: Our news nerd community

    It's not as though 2012 was the year in which a digital journalism community popped fully-formed into the world. However, looking back, there are some developments in our world which deserve to be called out. For this installment of our Moving the Needle 2012 series, we take a look at some of the best. As always, we expect we've missed a few, so please fill in the gaps in the comments below, or on Twitter...

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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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Tagged

Posts tagged with Joe Germuska

  • 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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  • Event recap: Kickstarter for Journalism

    On Friday, Knight Lab co-sponsored an event with Kickstarter and Cards Against Humanity, whimsically entitled "How to journalism in a Scary World if you don’t have a Fancy Grant." The event brought together journalists and other storytellers to talk about how they’ve supported their work and the various funding models you might be able to use as well. Nicole He was on hand to make a pitch for Kickstarter, which last year launched a journalism category. It’s obviously...

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  • 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 the interactive...

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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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  • What I learned building my first news product, JuxtaposeJS

      Just in time for last week's Online News Association Conference, Knight Lab announced the launch of JuxtaposeJS, a lightweight, easy-to-use, image comparison tool. Any product launch is exciting and I'm excited to see how journalists use JuxtaposeJS to tell stories. But from a personal perspective JuxtaposeJS is more than just a tool — it’s the first tool I’ve ever built from start to finish. It was also my first major Javascript project and I...

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  • Introducing the StoryMapJS Alpha, now with an authoring tool

    Where? is one of the fundamental questions journalists set out to answer, but often, the maps produced to accompany stories feel flat, or are hard to interpret. StoryMapJS is a new Knight Lab tool to help you connect the places of your story into a media-rich narrative. Like its sibling, TimelineJS, StoryMap makes it really easy to illustrate your work with photos, videos, sound, tweets and more. And today it's easier still: a couple of months...

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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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  • 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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Projects

Projects Joe Germuska has worked on.

Studio Projects

Studio projects Joe Germuska has worked on.

  • Audience Engagement and Onboarding with Hearken

    Students are working closely with the team at Hearken, and are gaining valuable insights into how important audience engagement is to our media landscape.

  • Historical Census Data

    Census Reporter is a tool that helps journalists find and understand data from the US Census American Community Survey (ACS), making that data much more easily accessible and digestible. However, it only presents data from the most recent ACS releases.

  • Open Data Reporter

    “Open data” might be a buzzword, but there are still significant obstacles to taking advantage of valuable datasets. They can be hard to find, hard to clean, and hard to manage. Human-centered design and a little coding energy can make it substantially easier for people to find stories and explore data. This team will approach a high-value public data set and aim to make the data more usable.

  • ProPublica Illinois

    Students will design, develop, prototype and test one tool for community engagement, with a likely focus on the listening and information gathering stage.

  • Writing and Designing for Chatbots

    Students will examine conversational user interfaces—that’s to say, using chat as a medium to interact with a bot.