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Post IRE wrap-up + shameless self-promotion

Posted by on Jun 13, 2010 in Blog, theory | 2 Comments

UPDATE: This update brought to you by Vegas airport wi-fi.

Added additional female programmer to my list below, thanks to a tip in the comments from the ever-present-in-my-life Derek Willis *waves*.  Do any of you know others I should add to the list?

Also fixed minor typos and omitted words, and added a few links I meant to include.  Omissions resulting from blogging at 3:30 am.  Painted blue skies inside IRE hotel messed up my sleep pattern more than usual — although it’s pretty messed up to begin with.

If we just met in the last few days at the awesome Investigative Reporters and Editors conference, welcome! (And if you’ve been following for months, weeks, days or hours — thanks for putting up with me!)

I had a marvelous time this week meeting new people, learning new things, and even teaching a little bit. It’s so invigorating to see how much great work is being done.  The minds of some of the greatest folks in investigative journalism are your classroom.  I’m delighted and honored that once in a while these same brilliant minds ask me about easy tools to help visualize data sets (*cough* Many Eyes, Google Fusion Tables *cough*).

I got some new ideas for my LAT work, and posts both here and at poynter.org. Although I do have to admit, I’m getting antsy having stepped away from coding for three whole days already. May be time to pick up a project at the airport while traveling.  Funny that about a year ago, I couldn’t have written a line of Python.

Now, some quick housekeeping notes. I will be occupied with graduation activities most of this coming week, although I may write a bit.

I am working on a couple of posts:

  1. Bit off more than I could chew during my IRE lightning talk — so I’ll write more on what you can do (and how you can do it) to make your databases more “discoverable.”  That means making it easier for people to find their own stories.
  2. A walkthrough of the static Google Chart API, which some have asked for. I’ve been messing with it a lot at work, colleague Ben Welsh has a great post on this here
  3. 2 leftover Data Delvers I STILL haven’t posted (sorry, Cheryl Phillips and Andy Boyle — this has been going on for too many months…)  That’s where I post interviews with CAR specialists, data visualizers, and other data journalists in the field.
  4. Summary posts from some IRE workshops.  Partially on what was covered, but more on WHY it’s important.
  5. Let me know what you want covered.  Only learned what I have thanks to so many IRE/NICAR folks.  I’m eager to pay it forward, and I love writing about anything data-, programming- or journalism-related.  Curious how something works?  Ready for a rant on a topic?  Lemme know.

In the meantime, especially for the benefit of new readers and folks asking how to get started on programming-journalism, I’d like to replug my posts on what belongs in a data journalism curriculum, and how to go about teaching yourself data journalism.  Also, look just below this post on the main page for my thoughts on taking charge of your own journalism education.

Also, for those asking about my favorite resources, I highly recommend all the blogs I list in the right rail, although I have other favorites yet to be added.

In the past few days, a few people asked what I dub “the gender question.”  IRE continues to be dominated by white males, just as the programming world, and programmer-journalist world, is.  Yes, I’m one of two three female programmer-journalists employed at newspapers that I know of.  UPDATED: (The others is are Jacqui Maher of the New York Times, who I’ve chatted with, and Jackie Kazil of the Washington Post, who Derek Willis just mentioned in the comments.)  There are others at some of the investigative not-for-profits springing up, such as California Watch.  I don’t ignore the disparity, I don’t dwell on it.  If you want more detail, I’ll discuss it, but please read this post first, which summarizes my thoughts.

I’ll also take this opportunity to mention once again that I’m writing about data journalism for Poynter.org, when I have the chance.  Thankfully, my editor exercises a great deal of patience with my less-than-stellar adherance to deadlines (sorry!) I’ve written three pieces so far:

  1. Miami Herald Marks Anniversary of Mariel Boatlift with Database of Passengers, Vessels
  2. Dig into Archives and Memories to Present Primary Data on Historic Anniversaries
  3. How to Scrape Websites for Data without Programming Skills

Thanks for your patience with my lagging activity. Please bear with me, and I’ll get even more active in the coming weeks, I promise.  The jetsetting tends to drag me away.

« « J-school: It’s relevant but demands you take charge

Data Delver: Cheryl Phillips, Seattle Times » »
  • http://blog.thescoop.org/ Derek Willis

    To your list of female programmer-journalists, I’d add Jackie Kazil at the WashPost.


  • Kathleen

    As long as you’re keeping a list, you should add Katharine Jarmul at USA TODAY. This caught my eye because I’m taking a grad course in computer science this summer and can’t help but notice I’m one of the only females. If you haven’t read this already, you might enjoy this piece on women in tech — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/technology/18women.html?src=tp Also, I saw your LAT Prop8 piece the other day – nice work! http://projects.latimes.com/prop8/