Using Google spreadsheets as your database

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010 in Blog, data visualizations | 22 Comments

UPDATE 2/7/12: The whole, copyable script has been added to the bottom of this post, at the request of a few folks. Hopefully that’s helpful. The database is a key part of data journalism.  We spend a good amount of time making structured of the unstructured, and then we need to shove it somewhere so […]

Tools to help bring data to your journalism

Posted by on Nov 8, 2010 in Blog, data visualizations | 6 Comments

NOTE: This entry was modified on the evening of 11/9/10 to deal with typos and missing words, resulting from posting this too late the previous night.  Sleep deprivation isn’t always a good thing — although it allows one to do things more fun than sleep.  Like play with data. Note to self: Be more careful […]

We must understand our news content as data

Posted by on Oct 16, 2010 in Blog, data visualizations | 2 Comments

Building data-driven websites has many different applications, and to say that I’m close to mastering all the needed techniques would be a lie.  But if there’s one thing I learned from my “summer” internship at the LA Times, it’s that with some persistence, curiosity and masterful Googling, you can find what you need to know. […]

Heading to PBS: Dreams do come true

Warning: This will be long, and sappy, and sentimental, and all things cliche. But, hopefully, it’s still uplifting and interesting. My “summer” internship at the LA Times is almost over. It’s lasted from April until now, and I could stay longer. I swore you’d have to drag me out of “dream internship” kicking and screaming, […]

The power of linkable data apps (my second LAT app)

Story of my life: This is a few weeks overdue. Launched a new app at the beginning of this month, tracking Prop 19 campaign contributions, which you can see at

Hosting #wjchat — Finding the story in the data

UPDATE: More later, but if you missed the geekery and fantastic exchange of knowledge that you get with a phenomenally sharp, inquisitive and dedicated group like the #wjchatters, you can find the transcript here. Tomorrow, Wed. Sept. 8, we’ll be discussing “Finding the story in the data” at #wjchat, and I have been tapped to […]

First LAT app (or the butterfly on my windowsill) So, there’s that. First launch! My checklist: Figure out what part of journalism inspires me. CHECK (Data, programming) Find place where I can learn about it from others, but have freedom to try out my ideas and learn from knowledgeable and patient folks. CHECK (LAT) Use this opportunity to learn enough about programming to […]

Data Delver: Andy Boyle, St. Petersburg Times

The last Data Delver I have on tap is Andy Boyle.  If you’re in the online journalism sphere on Twitter, you know this name, or at least, @andymboyle.  But let’s say you don’t.  If I introduce him as a reporter, that’s not the full picture.  A developer?  That’s not it either.  Web-savvy journo?  Still, nope.  […]

Data Delver: Cheryl Phillips, Seattle Times

Programming note: This Data Delver series was a lot more regular before I actually became a “Data Delver.” This is one of two interviews that’s been sitting in my draft pile.  I spoke to Cheryl Phillips back in March 2010, and the below interview should be interpreted in that context.  Sorry for the delay, Cheryl, […]

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

I love journalism shop-talk chat, really.  Of course, I’d rather be DOING the journalism, but it’s important to see where others are at, and it’s kind of fun to feel like part of the club, and dream about the future.  The #wjchat chats on Twitter emerged about the same time my data journey started, but […]