An Internship In Review

Today wraps up my summer internship with INN. I started May 7, according to the folder of daily journals I started for this internship. That day, I wrote my job description:

  • Improve documentation of Largo for end users and developers
  • Contribute to Project Largo
  • Contribute to member projects
  • Other duties as assigned

It's actually a pretty good summary of what I've done.

I worked on improving the documentation for the Largo Project WordPress theme, before I started working on the Largo Project.

I learned that GitHub project wikis are secretly git repos that you can push to, and that it's possible to keep a GitHub repo for collaboratively working on the wiki.

I started a browser-based version of INN News Apps Developer Ryan Nagle's responsive table creation Python script, and brought it to a stable working version. Play with it on GitHub Pages.

I wrote a custom WordPress page template for an INN member. It uses custom post metadata to choose a category of posts and a title for that category, and renders those with some other posts in a page designed to be embedded in an iframe. It uses NPR's pym.js to make sure the iframe is the right size. I learned about pym.js from the responsive table project.

For a different INN member, I built a widget that queries the Sunlight Foundation Political Party Time API for fundraising events in their state. It shows a list of events and politicians benefiting from them, and stories written by the member about those events. The query response is cached to prevent hammering the API, and the widget itself is cached, to cut the number of times the expensive rendering operation has to run.

In between, I contributed CSS fixes to Largo and to INN member websites, tested the INN deploy-tools repository, and learned a lot of things about PHP and JavaScript.

If a paid internship learning web development tools and techniques while helping non-profit news organizations perform investigative journalism is your sort of thing, you should apply for INN's fall and spring internships. It doesn't really matter where you live or work from, as long as you have an internet connection and are willing to learn.

Next week, I'm moving to Idaho, to write for the Progressive Dairyman website for the semester. Follow my adventures on Twitter @benlkeith, or my occasionally-updated blog