Life, the Universe, and Journalism


What we're reading this week

  Adam: I’ve long railed against hostile user-experience elements like annoying popups and interstitials. Adding further fuel to that particular fire, Google announced this week that they’ll start penalizing sites that show popups and interstitials to mobile visitors starting in January. Good riddance.

  Ben: If you’re thinking about moving anytime soon, here’s how to create your own WalkScore-style maps for the things in life you truly care about.

  Gabe: Become a better you – through illustration! How Google uses the work of Owen Davey and Maya Stepien to engage users on Google Calendar.

  Jack: CUNY journalism instructor Jonathan Stray says mastering data journalism requires such a wide range of skills – from stats to design to FOIA requests – that it’s impossible to teach in one semester.  So he tried to do it anyway, and here’s his course syllabus.

  Julia: The Sleeper Future of Data Visualization? is an interesting read about using composite photography to create data visualizations without the layers of abstraction commonly associated with the practice.

  RC: There’s a new Citation Importer plugin for WordPress that searches for citation details and imports them for you.

  Inndy: It’s nice to have far-sighted friends in high places.


Come learn with us

September 14 - Join us at 1 ET for our monthly News Nerd Book Club discussion. This month we'll be reading Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green.

September 28-29 - INN is hosting a two-day event for news leaders to discuss everything you need to know about managing technology and product design in your news organization. Travel stipends for INN members are available and we just added some new speakers/mentors. Hope to see you there!


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Andrew Haeg (@andrewhaeg)internationally-known pioneer in crowdsourcing and journalism innovation, and Flag Bearer at GroundSource.

I’m currently swan diving into Chef’s Table, the Netflix series that explores the techniques and psyches of the world’s great chefs. I suspected it might be just an exercise in genius worship and food fetishization. But I’ve been surprised, consumed and moved by the stories of these chefs – by their artistry (brilliantly portrayed by show creator David Gelb), by their respect for their craft and the food products they work with, and by the extraordinary sacrifices they’ve had to make to pursue often grandiose visions.

It had me reflecting on the parallels with journalism, and my own journey towards a vision of making our craft more humble, more human- and community-centered. Understanding how these chefs think is helping me own the fact that I can’t achieve this vision or any vision by myself, and that systems don’t change without people taking extraordinary risks, and experiencing sacrifice and pain in the process. As Dan Barber, chef and owner of Blue Hill restaurant and farm in New York says in his episode, (quoting Wes Jackson) “If you’re thinking about an idea that you can solve in your lifetime, you’re thinking too small.”

Want to be a guest contributor for a future edition of this newsletter? Learn how and shoot us an email at if you're interested. We'd love to hear from you!


Work we admire by our journalism peers

The New York Daily Times first paper published in 1851

The New York Times has published continuously since 1851 so it’s a bit of an understatement to say they have a lot of stories in the archives. Today’s audiences are online, so it’s increasingly important to make news archives accessible everywhere. But as technologies have changed, it’s a big project converting earlier stories to today’s mobile-friendly digital formats. The archives team accepted the challenge, and they were able to convert some 14 million articles published between 1851–2006 into a format compatible with the Times’ CMS.


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Or if you'd rather contribute content over cash, be a guest contributor! Read more about that here and shoot us an email at if you're interested. We'd love to hear from you.

Thanks much!


Good jobs with good people

INN is hiring a program director and an operations manager.

St. Louis Public Radio is hiring a digital and special projects editor.

Investigative Reporters & Editors seeks an interactive news developer.

PBS is looking for a project manager to lead the Ken Burns archive.

KPBS is hiring a news and digital editor.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Telsa Coil Music presents The Cars. ?

WATCH: Alien Dance Party.

EAT: Seitan-Portobello Stroganoff.

DRINK: The Summer Olympics are over but there's still time for a cocktail.

READ: Lifestyle Tweaks for Nerds.

The answer is:

Bill Gates saying Windows