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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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  • Resources to build and deploy web applications quickly

    Beginner coders often look to learn specific languages, like JavaScript or Ruby on Rails. While this is important to understand concepts like control flow and functions, as learners become more comfortable with these technologies, their focus shifts from tutorials and side projects to designing solutions for real-world problems. These solutions typically include common core features that start to require backend and devops experience: data and user storage, a presentable user interface, and a live link...

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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 JuxtaposeJS, an easy way to compare two frames

    We’re pleased to announce JuxtaposeJS, a new Knight Lab tool that helps journalists tell stories by comparing two frames, including photos and gifs. JuxtaposeJS is an adaptable storytelling tool and is ideal for highlighting then/now stories that explain slow changes over time (growth of a city skyline, regrowth of a forest, etc.) or before/after stories that show the impact of single dramatic events (natural disasters, protests, wars, etc.). For example, check out this NASA image...

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  • Googling for code solutions can be tricky — here's how to get started

    Mad Libs was driving me mad. In order to learn JavaScript earlier this quarter, I set out to build a web application that would mimic a game of Mad Libs and immediately got stuck. The idea was that the game would prompt you to enter a set of random words according to specific parts of speech, and then return to you a story whose blanks had been filled in with those words. Cue a hilarious...

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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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  • How to: Portfolio sites for journalists, GitHub makes them cheap and (kinda) easy

    Time and time again, new journalists are told to market themselves and make a brand for themselves. The new media heroes of the day have all done it — Nate Silver and fivethirtyeight, Andrew Sullivan and The Daily Dish, Brian Stelter and TVNewser, Matt Thompson, Kat Chow, Touré, Danyel Smith — the list goes on. Sometimes, though, all you need is a static site to tell people who you are and what you do — a personal, or portfolio site with contact info and...

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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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  • A journalist's beginner guide to code and web proficiency

    It's really easy to make it through journalism school without picking up a stitch of coding knowledge. But you know this already. Hacker journalists have written article after blog post about how the new crop of journalists needs to sit down, plug in and plain learn the essentials of the web. Well, some of us are listening. [sc:pull-right pulltext="All you need is a computer, the Internet and the will power to add some new abilities...

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  • TimlineJS deployed more than 1,500 times, new features

    In March the Knight Lab released TimelineJS. By June, journalists around the world had picked it up and used it to tell some of the biggest stories in the country. All told, more than 1,500 sites have used the technology. With all that adoption TimelineJS’s developer, Zach Wise, has added new features, resources, and even a new license that hopefully makes TimelineJS available to even more people. First, a quick overview new features: Languages — TimelineJS...

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  • TimelineJS picked up by storytellers worldwide, some examples

    Back in March the Knight Lab partnered with Medill Associate Professor Zach Wise (a former staffer at The New York Times and part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Las Vegas Sun) to launch a product that was then known as Timeline. In the 2.5 months since the launch, Timeline has grown and adapted to user needs and the marketplace. For starters, the name changed from Timeline to Timeline JS – a move that...

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  • Journalists begin adopting TimelineJS

    About three weeks ago the Knight Lab introduced Timeline – a tool that enables journalists to quickly and easily create good-looking, interactive timelines. Word of Timeline slipped out a few days before we formally announced the product on Twitter on March 21 and followed up with a press release on March 23. A week later Twitter feedback made it clear that Timeline’s developer and Medill faculty member Zach Wise had created something particularly useful. Links...

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  • New tool: An easy way to build attractive timelines

    Timelines are a great tool for drawing readers into stories and the Knight Lab is pleased to introduce a great tool for creating them. Our timeline builder was created by Zach Wise, who last year joined the Medill faculty from the New York Times.   In teaching students to deploy timelines, Wise found there wasn’t a satisfactory tool that met current needs.  Working with the Knight Lab, he created one of his own and it’s now...

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