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.

Examples of interactive journalism – Week 13

As always, add your own example for extra credit by providing a link in a reply to this post. (You still have three more chances to post, Weeks 14–16.)

The charts in Fewer Helmets, More Deaths (from The New York Times) react to your scrolling. New data comes into the charts and they change. But what’s super innovative about this story is the way it responds on a phone. See the second image below. Be sure to open this on your own phone and observe the differences!

Desktop: Fewer Helmets, More Deaths

Mobile: Fewer Helmets, More Deaths

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 8

As always, add your own example for extra credit by providing a link in a reply to this post.

This week’s example, Empty Desks: Oregon’s Absenteeism Epidemic, comes from The Oregonian, which is not nearly as well known for data journalism as, say, The New York Times. The northwestern news organization has outdone itself on this excellent story about the consequences of kids skipping school, which is on the rise. The map below is just one example of the many appealing interactive charts and graphs in this package.

Oregonian absenteeism story

The graph below shows how the problem of absenteeism increases for high schools (red dots) in comparison with elementary schools (blue dots). Each dot provides more information when you roll over it.

Oregonian absenteeism 2

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 4

As always, add your own example for extra credit by providing a link in a reply to this post.

I’m really excited about this week’s example of interactive journalism: In flight: See the planes in the sky right now, from The Guardian.

Using real-time data, a world map shows all the flights currently flying, everywhere on earth, RIGHT NOW. You can zoom in, and you can also rewind time to 24 hours ago. The package also includes a mini-documentary (see links at bottom edge) about the history of commercial air travel, which, as it happens, started in Tampa, Florida, in 1914. There are some nice data graphics in the fourth section, “Hitting the Limits?”

This review provides a little background about how the package was made.

Screen capture: In flight

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 3

This post has two purposes: (1) To present an example of interactive journalism that I recommend; and (2) To allow you to reply with a new link to an example of interactive journalism that YOU recommend.

It is optional for you to post a link. If you do, it counts toward extra credit (provided it meets the criteria). You can read the details on the Required Work page, under the subheading “Extra credit.” See previous example posts by clicking the Examples link in the sidebar.

Your link and reply must meet the requirements spelled out on the Required Work page.

My example for you this week — Here’s Where Your iPhone Got Lost Or Stolen — is NOT interactive, but it shows you how a journalist used Python to collect data (from Craigslist) and then write a totally original story, with charts. (Your examples still need to be interactive ones.) The charts here could be more beautiful, in my opinion. But the story’s the thing, and the reporter got this story with Python.

BONUS: The journalist, Nicole Martinelli, wrote a separate account of how she used Python to get these data.

Bar chart: Places where iPhones are most commonly lost

Pie chart: Days of the week when iPhones are most often lost

Your Reply

Leave a comment on this post to submit your example for this week.

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.