Nerd Alert Issue 21: May Day, May Day!


May is here! Hope your week's weather forecast is as happy as this.


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Some great lessons for news organizations from this article on “content-first design” by Steph Hay, one of my favorite bits: “The goal of the prototype is to write the conversation we want to have with someone, then design an experience that best brings that conversation to life, no matter the technology.” What would it look like for news organizations to start the design process by thinking about the conversation they want people to have about their stories instead of the typical homepage, article page, etc.?

  Ben: Is CSS programming or isn’t it? Harry Roberts makes the case for thinking about CSS as a gigantic collection of IF statements. And that’s enough to make me reconsider how I write my stylesheets.

  Dani: A good tip from yhat: 11 Python libraries you might not know.

  Kaeti: As we start building our own style guide, we are thinking a lot about how it will work. This article is a helpful breakdown on how a style guide or pattern library can fit into your team’s process. We’ll aim for hippie colony and see how it goes. (And, as usual, it’ll be open source and we’ll share what we learn along the way.)

  Meredith: Both leaders and citizens are using data to impact change.   Cincinnati, home of my favorite fictional radio station is launching CityStat to move toward positive outcomes, and Emanuel Feld used data a to create a call to action to plant more trees in his neighborhood.

 Nick: You only have to know one thing: you can learn anything.

  Ryan: Tyler Fisher's Source Post Audio in the Browser: Horrors and Joyshas leveled up my knowledge of web audio, making sense of the cloudy world of browser support and (usable) third-party libraries. This is particularly relevant to my interests as I continue work on the PMP WordPress plugin.

  Will: Despite how much technology goes into building a car, it's incredible how closed the software that runs them can be. Rumors suggest Tesla may be allowing hackers at Defcon to "tinker" with their vehicles this year — a bold push to opening their systems and building better cars. As a related bonus, if you've never read "The State of In-Car UX" not much has changed since it was published last April.

  Bert: Do you even lift?

This week's guest contributor: Sean Kirkby, reporting intern at the WCIJ

Long-form stories and data visualizations have their perks, but art can also provide an effective window into controversies. That could be reporting about people giving away personal data — including the last four digits of their social security number — for actual cookies at a New York arts festival. Or it could be a road trip with half a cow, 1,000 balls of wool and other sculptures that reflect investigative reporting on water issues.

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 projects, manifest

We're excited to announce version 0.2 of the Public Media Platform WordPress plugin. Read the release docs here, the readme here and read about what else happened at PMP this past month.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Listen to all of Wikipedia's recent changes. More soothing than you'd think.

COOK: Try this recipe for Lemon Caraway cookies. Literally pulled from my grandma's recipe box.

WATCH: All 43 Foundation episodes — a podcast where tech entrepreneurs spill the beans on their successes and failures.

GIF: Slow and steady.