News Nerd Roundup, Dec 2

Newsroom code and projects that caught our eyes

The Guardian looks even closer at cases of people killed by police in the U.S.

Here’s a few things that made us pause, over the past few weeks: beautiful, haunting, or otherwise fascinating pieces from the journalism code universe.

The County

(The Guardian, December 1, 2015)
The County is the first of a five-part series, unpacking the chilling numbers tallied by The Counted, the Guardian’s database of people killed by police. Here the Guardian zooms in on Kern County in central California , with in-depth reporting and layers of history underlying the body count.


(Mashable, ongoing)
Mashable tweets each victim of last month’s shootings in Paris, harnessing Twitter’s broad reach while hammering reverent gravitas into each brief tribute.

One Block screen shot

One Block

(New York Magazine, November 16, 2015)
New York Magazine’s tour of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood is a labyrinth of stories, memories, and voices, punctuated by images of residents stepping through their own front doors. Each resident’s vantage point becomes the fulcrum for a shifting Brooklyn.

Gauging a Warming World screen shot

Gauging a Warming World

(Washington Post, November 30, 2015)
Scientists know that climate change works as a system, full of dependencies. This interactive shows how the pieces of the machine all fit together, with an aesthetic that captures the industrial roots of the issue while making interconnectivity more apparent.

Fusion Image Machine screen shot

The Political Image Machine

(Fusion, November 10, 2015)
Tens of thousands of photos are being shared by presidential candidates on social media, and this is Fusion’s attempt to tag all of them. It’s a lofty goal with some quirky outcomes, but it’s a totally fascinating whirlwind tour of the imagery that’s sluicing through candidates’ feeds. Here’s how the Fusion team made it.

Texas Tribune screen shot

How Many Texans Resemble You?

(Texas Tribune, November 27, 2015)
With just a few drop-downs, this interactive shows users how they do (and don’t) resemble basic demographic characteristics of their fellow Texans. Its simple approach and easy interface can raise complex questions about race, ethnicity, and belonging.

The Evolution of Editorial Design and Visual Storytelling

(ProPublica, November 30, 2015)
This podcast with ProPublica’s David Sleight talks to Khoi Vinh, former digital design director for the New York Times. Hear Vinh’s observations about the intersection of design and the business of news, and how, as a technology evolves past its early stages, a beautifully wrought design becomes the product’s value.

Other Worthy Diversions

Tumble into old news with the just-launched American Archive of Public Broadcasting. And, speaking of the past, farwell for real to Flash.

Explore the blurring borders between interactive documentaries and digital journalism, with this curated playlist released last month by the MIT Open Documentary Lab. Or dig into what makes a successful interactive, with new research from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Teaching git can be fraught with bad metaphors and confusing terms. Here’s some tips to set your newsroom mentees on the right path.

And if you missed our most recent Community Call: We got a sneak preview of Elex, a New York Times and NPR collaboration to make election data easier to work with. Check it out in the call notes, around line 76.




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