Nerd Alert Issue Five: Another Year, Another Newsletter

We're starting off 2015 by dropping a ball of our own. It's full of links.


What we're reading this week

Adam: I love this idea from basecamp about how to foster conversations across your company and avoid the types of cliques that naturally form as a team grows. Super relevant for journalism organizations who want to keep their tech, design and product teams integrated with the rest of the organization.

Ben: Google announced in August that they had started to use HTTPS as a factor in determining where sites showed up in the search listings. It’s not a major factor yet, but at some point in the future you’ll want to start using HTTPS. WordPress-based sites can use Zack Tollman’s recently-released HTTPS Mixed Content Detector plugin to help find content that isn’t loaded over HTTPS, which readers’ browsers may be blocking. The plugin even supports WP-CLI.

Denise: What good is open government data if very few members of the public know how to access or analyze it? This post argues that the future of open data is collaborative. “Having vast stores of government data is great, but to make this data useful – powerful – takes a different type of approach. The next step in the open data movement will be about participatory data.”

Kaeti: "Put simply, nobody grows without feedback." Building a review process that isn't about ego or blame — or about grabbing credit — is one of the most important things an organization can do. This post from InVision has great ideas about how to design a healthy team and make space for productive feedback.

Meredith: Both in response to evolving technology and an appetite for the finite, it appears newsletters are making a comeback and Wired UK highlights a few. You kind reader are, as always, ahead of the curve.

Ryan: Want to see the most atrocious valid HTML class and id names in existence? Check these out. Just to be absolutely clear, I do NOT endorse using these id and class names in your markup.

Will: It’s Friday! Which means the weekend is ahead and it’s time to find something to waste your time away online. Remember those MS-DOS games you played as a kid? This week The Internet Archive put thousands of these old DOS games online, playable right in your browser! I for one will be playing hours of Pinball Magic.

Bert: It’s only a matter of time.

This week's guest contributor extraordinaire:

Jessica Plautz, Travel Editor at Mashable and lover of all things Murder, She Wrote.

Ev Williams, current CEO of Medium and former CEO of Twitter provided an insightful backstory behind his recent quote, which became simplified to him saying he didn't "give a shit" if Instagram had more users than Twitter. As is common with soundbites, that wasn't the whole story, and his explanation is actually a look inside how the biggest social media companies are approaching measuring audience. His thoughts are worth a read, though his inability to settle on one metric echoes the struggles I've heard from a lot of organizations, and reminded me that everyone is still trying to figure this all out.

Each week we ask someone from outside our team to contribute a link, tool or idea. Are you our next guest star? We think you might be. Send us a note at


Our work, manifest

In case you missed it before the holidays, Ryan wrote a great post demystifying test-driven development (the latest in our effort to bring more rigor to our WordPress development work) and Kaeti wrote a review of a few design feedback tools we’ve been testing.

screenshotsWe’re also excited about the launch of another couple INN member sites using the next version of Largo. Congratulations to Voice of OC and Chicago Reporter on the launch of their new sites this week!

Finally, next Wednesday is our January News Nerd Book Club, where we’ll be talking about Ida Tarbell’s All in the Day’s Work. It’s not too late to start reading and join us!


Work we admire by our journalism peers

John Keefe (WNYC) has been making updates to his weatherbot. We're thinking about filing an issue - "enhancement: make the weather less crappy."


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Light in the Attic has released a collection of music off the grid, nearly extinct music, Native North America. Meredith recommends listening to Willy Mitchell and Desert River Band - "Kill'n Your Mind "

COOK: The dawn of a new year always makes us want to see what’s cooking in the Y2Kitchen. And while you’re eating like it’s 1999 you can drink like it’s 1899.

GIF: This weather amirite?


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