News Apps Essentials

From design concepts to final code, this collection of project beakdowns and Learning articles will jump-start your news apps process—and help you leapfrog common interface mistakes and data problems. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to sharpen your fundamentals, you’ll find plenty here to strengthen your work.


  1. How and Why Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration Rocks

    By Wes Lindamood

    Posted on

    A super-detailed step-by-step look at the big collaborative news apps process behind the NPR/Planet Money T-Shirt Project, from initial concept through user testing and final interface decisions. Long, meaty, and worth reading in its entirety.

  2. Building News Apps on a Shoestring

    By Alan Palazzolo

    Posted on

    A mini-handbook of getting it done without spending a ton of money or time, touching on infrastructure (avoid it as much as you can), automation (do it whenever possible), data storage, modularization, and more.

  3. Design Principles for News Apps & Graphics

    By Lena Groeger

    Posted on

    An introductory course in improving your news apps via classic visual principles: scale, alignment, repetition, contrast, proximity, intuitiveness, and the invisibility of strong design.

  4. How to Make a News App in Two Days

    By Al Shaw

    Posted on

    Al Shaw’s article is an account of a specific project, but it’s also a fantastic primer on the ProPublica way of making news apps in general, organized around four major steps: understanding and acquiring data, cleaning and bulletproofing it, importing it into a database, and designing and building a public-facing app.

  5. Lessons of Running My First News Apps Team

    By Tyler Fisher

    Posted on

    When you build your first news apps while you’re still in college, you learn the basics early on—and without the benefit of an experienced newsroom to support your work. Tyler Fisher on how he learned to get content in early, use spreadsheets, test rigorously, and organize his team efficiently.

  6. Drawing Conclusions from Data

    By Jonathan Stray

    Posted on

    This crash course in data evaluation and interpretation will teach you four major questions to ask when you need to avoid common mistakes and misleading approaches to data journalism and news apps. (Includes a video version of the article and an accompanying repo so you can follow along.)

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