Nerd Alert 70: Snappy subject line stuns seven; news at eleven


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Unit tests for design systems? Automated style guide audits? Oh yeah. Sign me up.

  Ben: Showing complicated interactions between many different entities is Mark Lombardi's speciality. How would you make his graphics into a responsive webpage?

  Jack: News websites gather lots of valuable user data that reveals interests and trends that could inform the news product and help generate more revenue. The only problem is we’re giving it away.

  Julia: We spent a bit of time this week working on a dynamic sentence generator – this post about  one team’s process for building and testing a multi-language sentence provided some helpful insight (and a pretty visualization of sentence fragment combinations).

  Ryan: Tesla vehicles come equipped with a cabin air filter system hundreds of times more efficient than the auto industry standard. The system is so sturdy that passengers can survive a military-grade bioweapon attack by sitting in a Model S or X. No big deal.

  Sinduja: Will you pay $30 every month to read high-quality local investigations in your community? A startup in Tulsa, Oklahoma believes you will.

  Inndy: Spam? A new form of life? I'm pretty sure that Shiv Integer's uploads to Thingiverse are art. Artistic expression isn't limited to just mammals.


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Christine Zhang (@christinezhang), Knight-Mozilla Fellow at the L.A. Times.

I'm fascinated by this piece from Polygraph, which analyzed the dialogue in 2,000 films by gender and age. It has some compelling stats (only 22% of women in the films they looked at had lead speaking roles), but if you're looking for a definitive statement that Hollywood is biased against women, the writers - Hanah Anderson and Matt Daniels - refuse to make that conclusion. In journalism, that can be a hard pill to swallow: it's like saying the story has no real lede. Actually, the piece itself reads like a condensed version of a research paper, though Anderson and Daniels insist that "This is the Internet. Not academia." True enough, but to what standard should such web-based data stories be held? For me, a former research analyst-turned-aspiring data journalist, this piece is an example of how the news is getting nerdier. But does nerdier mean less journalistic? Take a look for yourself, not least for the amazing graphs (U.S. CTO Megan Smith agrees), and let me know what you think: @christinezhang.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

A screenshot of the results of a failed Texas Tribune campaign finance quiz. The text reads: You scored 1 out of 5! Hey, politics is a crazy world. The good news is that a poor ethical compass never stopped anyone from campaigning.

Congratulations, you're running for office! Learn what you can and cannot do with your campaign's money in a quiz by The Texas Tribune.

From MinnPost: Minnesota's tornado season approaches.


Our projects, manifesting

Pym.js requires pasting <script> tags into the CMS, but not all WordPress authors have that permission. We've created a simple shortcode for placing Pym.js embeds in WordPress.


Good jobs with good people

The Center for Public Integrity is hiring a news apps dev/data journalist.

KTOO in Alaska seeks a digital media editor.

The Texas Tribune is looking for a social media manager.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Are you tired of life on this planet? Listen to folk tunes from beyond this word.

WATCH: A dancing corgi.

CALCULATE: How many pizzas you need to order.

Autobots, roll out.

A shopping-cart-pusher rolls past. On top of it is an Transformer, posed majestically.