Meetups in Singapore and Colombia, plus a conference on decentralization in London.
The Global Investigative Journalism Conference comes to Norway this week, plus meetups and trainings around the world.
Lots of activity in the Pacific Northwest this week: Open Source and Feelings Conference, engagement conference, and a chance to learn more about The Coral Project.
Here’s another ICYMI roundup: an inspiring handful of recent cool stuff that deserves another look.
In The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Alain de Botton interviews a number of workers at a biscuit manufacturing company and concludes, unsurprisingly enough, that the place is rather dreary. The difference between a happy home cook and our listless biscuit manufacturing employee comes down to what Ursula Franklin describes in The Real World of Technology as holistic versus prescriptive technologies. In a holistic technology, a single person or small group of people carry through an entire process, from inception to sweeping the crumbs off the floor, making their own decisions and adapting along the way.
As with most of our well-meant advice, we tend to target people at the heights or depths of mindsets—in this case, you on your career path. We don’t do as earnest a job of giving constructive advice for people in the middle, those metaphorically on a plateau or simply soldiering up a small hill.
Don’t let a debrief go to waste. The SF Chronicle’s Michael Grant explains how to dig deeper, solve longstanding communication problems, and support the development and implementation of new ideas.
A newspaper investigation is a messy thing, and it generates a lot of stuff—papers, reports, spreadsheets, interview transcripts—that never sees publication. Should that change now that many publications work primarily online?
The Online News Association Conference comes to LA this week, plus newsgames, git, and other meetups around the world.
Across many days at SRCCON, I heard many people express a common wish: a single piece of software that would unify every piece of knowledge in a newsroom. Reporters’ notes, interview transcripts, style guides, story drafts, published articles, and updated corrections: All of it would be eaten by this wonderful engine. It would store notes and publish stories and accumulate knowledge and even handle permissions.
When I started the interactive team at the Sun Sentinel in 2013, I thought the biggest challenge would be the code. I was wrong. Experimentation, no matter the size, requires creating new processes and collaborating in new ways. For the next two years, I worked closely with reporters and editors to plan, shape and create interactive journalism, retooling the already fantastic journalism coming out of the newsroom to reach audiences in a sophisticated way online. Most of the time we were successful; occasionally it didn’t work out. The biggest thing I learned was that getting things done in a newsroom only works when everyone is on the same team.
QA can be okay. We promise. Here’s how Serious Eats makes QA happen, even with a small team.
Many of us newsroom coders work as one-person bands, whether we’re with big employers or smaller ones. Even with growing interest and investment in digitally native news and the slow fade of the ink-stained wretch archetype, our industry’s reporter-to-coder ratio isn’t in the coder’s favor yet, and informal chat with office colleagues probably doesn’t get too technical outside of New York, D.C., and the Bay Area.
This means we news nerds face challenges different from those of our old-school journalist colleagues and the coder-obsessed startup world. We can’t be content with simply writing code—we have to be simultaneously comfortable with mostly working alone and interfacing with co-workers outside our tribe, and we have to be in charge of our own professional development, without a traditional map.
Our Tour de France 3D interactive brought users right into one of the steepest, toughest, most iconic stages of the race, using WebGL.
While each organization’s culture varies, aggressive deadlines, multi-tasking, and long hours are considered hallmarks of journalism. You can repeat that exact paragraph about the tech industry as well. If you combine them, as many of us do each day, you get something like a three-dimensional chess board of stressors, deadlines, and shifting ground.
Whether you work for a nimble online-only upstart or a still-adapting traditional organization, odds are good that there are processes in your digital product workflow that could use tweaking. Not everyone knows if their team has workflow challenges (or where those challenges are), but the simple act of discussion with stakeholders and peers in other organizations can illuminate pain points big and small, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Learning how others arrange their workflows can achieve a similar goal, plus give you some ideas for how to remedy those pain points.
Vox’s director of editorial products on how to set up the processes you need to run healthy projects and a jubilant team.
For several weeks, the Tampa Bay Times has been publishing Failure Factories, a series exploring the effects of the Pinellas County school district’s decision to resegregate its schools. On the web we decided to try something new: kicking off the series with a D3-powered graphic that used data to show readers how dire the situation is for black students in south St. Petersburg.
We were aiming for a brief and engaging piece that would invest readers in the stories to come. In that sense, our experiment was successful. #FailureFactories was trending in the Tampa Bay region before the first day of the project ran. We heard from readers across the country that they were waiting anxiously for the series, and both the graphic and the 5,000-word first installment in the series have been among the most viewed stories we’ve published this year.
How The Globe and Mail built a top interactive team from scratch, plus the tools and processes they need to keep turning out work that pushes the paper forward.