What students said about this course in spring 2014

These are bona fide, unedited student comments from the official UF student course evaluations site. Those with no answer or “n/a” or “none” have been omitted. Students were all undergraduates in journalism or advertising who had no previous programming experience. Only eight students were enrolled in this course.

Qualities of instructor which contributed to success of the course:

“Her enthusiasm and clear description of the course and how much time we would have to devote to it to be successful.”

“She is very passionate about the course and the material which makes me what to learn more about the material as well.”

“Her enthusiasm for the subject material and our understanding of it made difficult course material easier to understand. She was always willing to give additional help, even outside of class and after work hours. The class was also broken down really intelligently so that we had a good foundation for more difficult material later in the course.”

“Ms. McAdams encouragement to play with code helped with my success in this course.” Continue reading

Examples of interactive journalism – Week 16

As always, add your own example for extra credit by providing a link in a reply to this post. (This is your last chance to post an example.)

This week’s example is not journalism, but it’s a neat case of crowdsourcing in the public interest. Also, the design of the site is excellent — you should check it out just to see how inviting and appealing it is.

The New York Public Library presents: Building Inspector

Okay, it’s an odd title — here’s what the site is for: By donating a little bit of time, regular people like you help check a computer’s “guess” at building shapes and addresses. The data comes from old maps of New York City that have been digitized. To make a scanned map searchable (and thereby usable), we need more than just the image of the map.

We’re training computers to do the heavy lifting, and then distributing the remaining quality control tasks to smart, motivated citizens. The goal? To produce a comprehensive directory of old New York (or, as we like to think of it, a time machine).

NYPL Building Inspector

Your Reply

Leave a comment on this post to submit your example for this week. Rules are on the Required Work page.

Make sure your link is correct and functional.

Include the title or headline of the example you are linking to.

Write one sentence about why we should appreciate it.

Examples of interactive journalism – Week 15

As always, add your own example for extra credit by providing a link in a reply to this post. (You still have one more chance to post, in Week 16.)

This week’s example — Time 100: The Most Influential People in the World in 2014 — was designed by students in a Communication and Multimedia Design course at a university in the Netherlands. Spend some time clicking on people and then returning to the grid. Do you have ideas for how this might be improved?

Time 100

Your Reply

Leave a comment on this post to submit your example for this week. Rules are on the Required Work page.

Make sure your link is correct and functional.

Include the title or headline of the example you are linking to.

Write one sentence about why we should appreciate it.

Everyone is bad at this when they get started. Everyone.

I sent a link to this article via email last week or two weeks ago, but I thought I should link it here too, in case you did not read it yet.

Getting a job in journalism code: Two recent grads want to calm your job search fears

It’s such an outstanding article because it’s not all about how the two authors — a young woman who now works at ProPublica and a young man who now works at The New York Times — loved data and code and produced great interactives from the start. NOT.

Instead, it’s about how bad their early work was. How they (and others) look back at their early efforts now and think, wow, that was so poor! They have linked examples. You can look for yourself. And I think you will agree. Really? You got a job with that?

But not long ago, these two successful journo-coders were just like you.

Q: Am I a real programmer? I spend most of my time Googling error messages.
A: Yes. That’s what most of us do.

And I was the same way, once upon a time:

Q: Whenever I see someone write code, it’s like they’ve got everything memorized. Do I have to memorize everything?
A: You do not need to memorize everything. Programmers know what to write next (like exact phrasing of CSS or JavaScript functions) because of repetition, familiarity, and having looked it up time and time again.

You are good enough to do this. You ARE.

Q: I feel like there’s way too much to learn and no way I could learn it all. What do I do?
A: Here’s a secret, everyone feels this way.

There’s lots of advice in the article, so I’ll share just one more and then leave you to read it for yourself:

Q: Do I need to have a website?
A: Holy moly yes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to exist. Heck, Sisi’s website redirects to an about.me site. But the website’s secret goal is to funnel people to your portfolio, which should also be online. … your portfolio is going to be your best champion in getting hired. It’s much more important than your resume (though don’t skimp there, do things like list your skills) …

Be inspired.

Examples of interactive journalism – Week 14

As always, add your own example for extra credit by providing a link in a reply to this post. (You still have two more chances to post, Weeks 15 and 16.)

A total of 18 animated and interactive charts make up this graphic from Bloomberg News: How Americans Die (published April 17). Sure, it’s not exactly a cheerful topic — but there’s good news in there. Our life expectancy has steadily improved since 1970.

How Americans Die chart 2 How Americans Die chart 1

What technologies were used? JavaScript! Specifically, a library called D3.js:

How Americans Die 3

Your Reply

Leave a comment on this post to submit your example for this week. Rules are on the Required Work page.

Make sure your link is correct and functional.

Include the title or headline of the example you are linking to.

Write one sentence about why we should appreciate it.