Two Days In Chicago To Improve Your Tech + Product Management Skills

We're pleased to announce a special two-day gathering in Chicago, September 28-29 where we'll be assembling some great speakers from INN member organizations and beyond to help news leaders better understand how to manage technology and product design in your organization.

The workshop will take place on the campus of Columbia College in Chicago and will be geared toward executive directors and editors, along with news technologists, with the goal of raising tech literacy of leaders at nonprofit and independent news organizations.

The workshop takes place on the two days before the LION Publishers Conference on the same campus to help members save travel costs.

The event is FREE for INN members and we are  pleased to extend registration at a discounted rate to LION member organizations.

Thanks to the generous support of the Mozilla Foundation, travel reimbursements also are available for INN members to attend the training. (Please apply here for travel funds.)

Register here.


These are our confirmed sessions and speakers as of this writing but this is subject to slight change as the event draws closer. All times are CT.

Wednesday, Sept. 28

10 - 10:30 am -  Welcome and introductions. Sue Cross and Adam Schweigert, INN

10:30 - 11:15 a.m. -  Congratulations, you’re a product manager! Journalists love telling great stories and they’ve developed the skills and experience to do it well. But now you have to (also) think about how to distribute those stories, who you want to reach, what impact you want to have and, above all, how to turn that into a business. Congratulations, you’re a product manager! Speaker: Rebekah Monson, WhereBy.Us

11:30 - 12:15 p.m. - Planning and budgeting for tech projects. Tools and techniques to eliminate the guesswork. Speakers: Amanda Krauss, independent consultant and Adam Schweigert, INN

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch (provided) + Lightning talks from attendees and mentors. Prepare a five minute talk and share something you’re passionate and excited about. There’s no requirement for these to be tech related; could be about projects at your organization, side projects or other interests you have to share.

1:45 - 2:30 p.m. - Beyond pageviews: Getting the most out of analytics and impact tracking. An overview of the latest best practices around measurement and impact tracking. Speakers: Lauren Fuhrmann, Wisconsin Watch and Ryan Sholin, Chalkbeat

3 - 4 p.m. - Mentor meetings. Break into small groups and meet with mentors to discuss issues and solutions.

4 - 5 p.m. - Happy hour

Thursday, Sept. 29

10:00 - 10:45 a.m. - Recruiting and managing technical staff. Building and managing a diverse and inclusive workforce plus some general best practices for recruiting, hiring, managing and retaining tech/design talent. Speaker: TBD

11  - 11:45 a.m. - Planning and executing successful data projects. How to plan and budget for data and editorial projects, work effectively with news technologists and create impactful stories that drive change. Speakers: Julia Smith, INN and Fernando Diaz, Reveal/CIR

12 - 12:45 a.m. - User-centered design on a shoestring. How to bring design thinking into your organization without breaking the bank. Speaker: Kyle Ellis, SND

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. - Lunch (provided). More time to meet one-on-one or in small groups with mentors discuss challenges/solutions.

2:30 - 5:00 p.m. - From theory to practice. Split into groups, work through the design thinking process to propose solutions to a design challenge and share your work with the full group.

5:30 p.m. - LION opening reception. All attendees of the INN tech conference are invited to attend the LION opening reception at Film Row Cinema, 8th floor, 1104 S. Wabash, just off South Michigan Avenue in the South Loop. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the bar opens at 5:30.


Rebekah Monson is co-founder and VP of Product of WhereBy.Us, a local media startup that connects people to their cities through storytelling and experiences. Its first publication, The New Tropic, produces an email newsletter, original journalism and events in Miami that reached more than half a million curious locals in 2015. WhereBy.Us achieved profitability in its first year of operation and will scale to new markets in 2016.

Kyle Ellis is a visual journalist turned product owner with a penchant for producing collaborative innovation events for media and civic technology communities. Energized by blue-sky ideation and fulfilled by collaborative execution, Kyle believes that data-driven decision making, a deep understanding of audience needs, and a strong sense of business goals are key to launching products that win. He currently works for American City Business Journals and the Society for News Design.

Fernando Diaz is a senior editor for Reveal, overseeing coverage of labor and privacy and surveillance. He has spent most of his career in Chicago, working at newspapers, magazines and websites, including as managing editor of Hoy, a Spanish-language daily newspaper. He has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Chicago Headline Club and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and The Society for News Design. Diaz is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Lauren Fuhrmann is associate director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Fuhrmann joined the Center in 2011 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At the Center, Fuhrmann leads revenue development efforts as well as public engagement initiatives, including events, social media, newsletter and promotional materials; tracks the distribution and assesses the impact of WCIJ’s news stories; assists with development of donors and writing of grant reports; handles bookkeeping duties; produces photos, audio and video content; and copyedits stories. Fuhrmann is vice president of the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was among five young leaders in the inaugural group of “Future Headliners” honored in 2014 by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

Amanda Krauss is an independent digital consultant who specializes in user-centered strategy and smart product decisions. Previously, she was the Director of Technology for the Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, all-digital news source for Texans. She also worked with the Tribune as an interactive producer, and before that, she developed custom websites, wireframes, and prototypes on WordPress and other platforms. Previously, Amanda was a university researcher and instructor, which gave her a strong foundation in user experience, information architecture, and public speaking. She holds degrees in Classical Studies from the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, and has also co-translated an Aristophanes play, Women in Congress, which was performed at UCLA in 2013.

Ryan Sholin is the Director of Product & Growth at Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering equity issues in education. A former investigative reporter for the Oakland Tribune, online editor for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, trainer and strategist at GateHouse Media, and Product Manager at Gannett, Ryan was also a co-founder of Wired Journalists and a Knight News Challenge winner for ReportingOn.

Adam Schweigert is Senior Director of Product and Technology at INN, leading all of its technology-related efforts, including developing publishing tools, managing content syndication and measuring the impact of members’ journalism.
Julia Smith is the design lead on INN's product and technology team, working on a mix of internal projects (like Largo, our open source WordPress framework/platform for news sites), creating design standards and style guides to help guide our work and helping out INN's 110+ nonprofit members and our consulting clients.

Hope to see you in Chicago!

Nerd Alert 83: Strange, Stranger, Strangest


What we're reading this week

  Adam: This week, an interesting experiment from KPCC using remarketing to convert readers to donors. Some privacy considerations here for sure, but the approach is interesting and it provides some helpful insights into reader/donor behavior.

  Ben: SSH is an amazing protocol, and there are so many things to do with it. (h/t Ryan Nagle)

  Gabe: Paul Blow has some fabulous illustrations for a Washington Post story on ageism and baby boomers.

  Jack: With 75 different newsletters, the Washington Post increased email-driven site traffic by 129 percent over the past year. As news consumption become more personal, and perhaps increasingly opt-in, the humble newsletter may be poised as the next big thing in home delivery.

  Julia: Consider using 18F’s design methods during your next big project. These method cards were the focus of one session at SRCCON, OpenNews’ hands-on journalism tech conference that wrapped up last week. For more from SRCCON, check out the session notes and live transcripts from the event.

  RC: WordPress 4.6 is just a few weeks away from being released. In addition to Shiny Updatesthat let you update plugins & themes without reloading the page, WordPress 4.6 will also detect broken links in the text editor.

  Inndy: Do you want this in binary?


Our newest team member

RCThis week we're excited to welcome RC Lations to the INN team. He joined us Monday as our new lead developer working on Largo and our other WordPress work. He lives in Portland, Maine and comes to us most recently from a marketing firm where he held roles as a developer, project manager, and product manager, focusing primarily on data-driven marketing programs and website performance metrics. Read more about him and say hello!


Work we admire by our journalism peers

This week WNYC announced that is was open-sourcing its Audiogram Generator, a social tool meant to provide podcasters, radio professionals, producers and audio makers an easy way to share their work across social platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

Also, the Online News Association released a WordPress plugin that they use to manage their conference schedule. Looks really promising if you have similar needs!


Come learn with us

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!


Good jobs with good people

INN is hiring a program director and an operations manager.

Texas Tribune is hiring a software engineer.

The Marshall Project is hiring a full stack Ruby developer.

And Mother Jones is hiring an advancement officer for their fundraising and membership work.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Luke Miller's remix of the Stranger Things theme using a massive collection of vintage synths. ?

WATCH: A swarm of crabs is about as terrifying as it sounds.

EAT: An illustrated history of the Philly cheesesteak.

DRINK: 37 summer cocktails.


Nerd Alert 82: News Nerd Events? Alpaca My Bags!


What we're reading this week

  Adam: There is no “one size fits all” solution to digital security, but this list from the Coral Project's Martin Shelton should help you get started.

  Ben: Creating new Chinese fonts is a really complex process because of the number of characters. One side effect? Chinese-language webfont providers scan the page to determine which characters are needed, and only deliver the characters needed on a page.

  Gabe: A reminder to go out and do something that you’re bad at. Not only is it humbling, but it also allows us to engage in flow - enjoying activities for the sake of mastery, satisfaction, and interest.

  Jack: Lists can be handy for organizing things, like Seven Things You Need to Know about Non-Profit Journalism, or How to Start a Grassroots Journalism Incubator from Scratch,  A 10-Step Starter Guide. Numbers to live by!

  Julia: A Single Div is an impressive CSS drawing project that uses just one div (and loads of CSS) to create detailed illustrations – like this cassette tape, this rolling BB-8, and this TARDIS.

  Inndy: Howdy, pardner.


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Ryan Sholin (@ryansholin), Director of Product and Growth at Chalkbeat.
The Bitter Southerner is neither bitter, nor for Southerners only, however you choose to define the geographic and emotional boundaries of the American South. This summer reading rounduphas something for the inevitable beach/lake/stormy days of August, but what really interests me is the intersection of new media experiments here. Crowdsourcing, membership, merchandising, affiliate programs, a content vertical that isn't strictly topical or local... Plenty to ruminate on in between books.

Want to see your name in this space? Be a guest contributor! Read more about how that works and shoot us an email at if you're interested. We'd love to hear from you!


Work we admire by our journalism peers

NPR recently published a virtual reality story about the geological history of Rocky Mountain National Park. Constructing VR experiences in the browser is a first for NPR (and we're guessing for many other newsrooms) so they wrote a helpful post on the challenges they encountered and how they solved them.


Meet your fellow nerds

August 26-28 - The Texas Tribune is hosting a hack weekend to work with Texas voting data and create innovative projects that will help voters make more informed decisions at the polls.

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!


Our projects, manifest

We're pleased to have helped NPR Digital Services with the latest release of their NPR Story API plugin for WordPress. Among the improvements: better documentation, more helpful error messages and a number of under-the-hood improvements. A full list of improvements and what you can do with the plugin can be found in this post over on the NPR Digital Services blog.

Want to work with our team on an upcoming project? We're available for hire and would love to talk with you to see how we can help. Send us an email at with details about your project and we'll get right back to you!


Good jobs with good people

Texas Tribune is looking for a software engineer.

Reveal is hiring two investigative journalists.

Connecticut Health I-Team is looking for a contract data journalist.

The Center for Responsive Politics is hiring an outreach and social media coordinator.

Mississippi Today is looking for a database editor.

In These Times is searching for a contract art and design director.

American Public Media is on the lookout for a digital product designer.


We love you back

Please consider supporting this newsletter with a donation to INN.

Thanks much!


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Perfect week to revisit Bill Clinton's 1992 appearance on Arsenio.

WATCH: We've heard of swan diving. But swan surfing?

EAT: Does anyone really know what's in American cheese?

Another week in the books.

Welcome RC Lations To Our Team!

RC LationsWe're thrilled to welcome RC Lations to the INN team as our new lead developer!

RC comes to INN most recently from a marketing firm in Portland, Maine, where he's held roles as a developer, project manager, and product manager, focusing primarily on data-driven marketing programs and website performance metrics.

He holds a degree in Music Business from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and has been an active contributor to the WordPress community including as an organizer of WordCamp Maine.

At INN, he'll be the lead developer on our Largo WordPress platform and will also help out our members and clients with individual projects to further our mission of building open source tools to serve independent and nonprofit publishers.

He starts with us on August 1 and I hope you'll join me in welcoming him to the team!

Nerd Alert 81: From Ohio, With Love


What we're reading this week

  Adam: With the growing number of third-party platforms vying to be the primary place to publish your content, a word of caution and reminder that no platform is forever. Own your own stuff.

  Ben: Do you use vim? @vimgifs is full of tons of neat commands and tips, presented as gifs with keypresses. Not interested? Read this one Pokémon’s post about color spectra, names, models, spaces, lies, and blending.

  Gabe: The former Trump-Pence logo, but re-designed to align with a grid. Looks better, but still naughty.

  Jack: OK so video is cool and Facebook Live is a threat to cable TV news. Audiences are massively moving to digital, but according to the Reuters Institute it turns out that people worldwide still read most of their news.

  Julia: From the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, this Guide to Journalism and Design is a collection of case studies and interviews identifying best practices in the field.

  Inndy: Why walk when you can crawl?


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Joellen Easton (@jo_in_la), a Product Manager at BDN Maine.

This one is a listen more than a read: Dan Blumberg, director of product at NYTimes, talks about his journey to product management from public radio, and how he thinks about product management in a news context. Dan challenges a lot of assumptions we make about how to help news consumers discover value in what we create and subsequently pay for it.

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!


See  you in Chicago!

We're excited to announce our first in-person tech and product training event for news leaders.

All INN members are invited to join us in Chicago September 28-29 to learn everything you need to know about managing technology and product development at your news organization. Hear from special guest speaker Rebekah Monson of The New Tropic, as well as tech and product staff from a number of INN member organizations and members of our own team here at INN.

It's a free event and we have some limited travel stipends available (thanks to Knight-Mozilla OpenNews). Registration is initially only open to INN members, but if we have space we'll open it up to other organizations before the event (watch this space).

More information, registration and a preliminary agenda for the event can be found on our website. Hope to see you there!


Work we admire by our journalism peers

NPR has released Carebot, a new analytics platform built to focus on a subset of stories with similar characteristics, and deliver meaningful numbers to  a team with a shared purpose. They share the thinking behind the project and have an open source slackbot implementationthat you can take for a test drive.

Also this week, the Vox Product team released a great accessibility checklist broken down by role so you can easily integrate accessibility checks into your design and development process.


We love you back

Please consider supporting this newsletter with a donation to INN.

Thanks much!


Good jobs with good people

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting is hiring an investigative reporter.

ProPublica is hiring a senior reporting fellow.

Hearken is looking for a sales account manager.

And our friends at Upstatement are accepting applications for design and technology apprentices.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Car Talk gets punked by the government.

WATCH: The Warriors (1979). A film about a convention that goes hideously wrong, and the efforts one delegation takes to get home.

EAT: Pre-dunked donuts.

If at first you don't succeed.

Nerd Alert 79: Keep your chin up


What we're reading this week

  Adam: In pushing live video, how ready is Facebook to answer the complicated ethical questions that come along with it?

  Ben: One of the most important things in this list of principles of the keyboard-accessible website is the advice on keyboard shortcuts: “Developers should never unexpectedly change keyboard controls on the user.” What was the origin of the shortcut Command/Control-K to make text a link? I don’t know. But it works that way of every site with a rich text editor that I’ve used, and that’s a good thing.

  Gabe: Love this photo illustration in a profile about professional de-clutterer Marie Kondo; it captures the organized but joyful quirkiness that is her brand.

  Jack: With social media increasingly important in how people get and share information, it’s also changed how people get news, right? Actually a new study by Pew reports the vast majority of people most commonly share news using an older technology: word of mouth.

  Julia: Learn D3 basics by planting a vegetable garden.

  Inndy: Deal with it.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

This week the Marshall Project published a sobering investigation of private prison transport companies. They also included a guide on how to localize the story for your state.


Our projects, manifest

Congratulations to The Crime Report on launching their new site using our Largo WordPress framework!


Good jobs with good people

Chalkbeat is hiring a growth editor to join their product team.

Texas Tribune is looking for an investigative reporter.

Public Radio International is hiring a data editor and a data reporter.

And our team is still accepting applications for a lead WordPress developer. Come work with us!


We love you back

Please consider supporting this newsletter with a donation to INN.

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

Thanks much!


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Sir Patrick Stewart sings cowboy classics.

WATCH: An incredible short film on cicadas.

EAT: How do you define barbecue?

Welcome Our Summer Apprentice: Gabriel Hongsdusit!

Gabriel HongsdusitWe're excited to welcome Gabriel Hongsdusit to the INN Nerds team as our summer apprentice!

Before joining INN as a summer apprentice, Gabe worked as a graphic designer for Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. His design sensibilities come from a background in print and he's excited about learning to translate those skills to online platforms.

Gabe recently graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's in Linguistics and Mandarin Chinese. During his time there, he was involved with OutWrite Newsmagazine, America's first collegiate LGBT/Queer periodical, and led as Editor-in-Chief from 2014-2015. Through OutWrite, he fell in love with journalism, editorial illustration, and community engagement.

He starts with us in mid-June and will be working on an upcoming revamp of our style guide, contributing to Largo and helping our members and clients with various upcoming projects.

Welcome to the team, Gabe!

Improvements to Largo Support Process

We love helping people get the most out of their Largo sites. As we have more sites using Largo we occasionally have to make changes to how we provide this support.

The help desk system we’ve been using has proven to be a bit confusing and not as flexible as we would like so we’ve decided to make a switch.

Starting this week, and officially launching May 1st we’ll be launching a new support portal at

The new portal includes the ability to create new support requests and adds a knowledgebase of answers to common questions and a community forum to ask questions, propose new features and share success stories with other Largo users.

This change does mean you will need to create a new account. But you can also still open a new support request by emailing

We’re also in the process of revising and expanding the Largo Project documentation, and developing new training resources to answer common questions about setting up and running a Largo website.

The preferred process if you need assistance with your site is as follows:

  1. Visit and search the knowledgebase and/or public forums to see if your question has already been answered (many questions come up time and again and we’ll try to have answers ready to go for you for as many of these issues as possible).
  2. Site administrators or developers may want to also consult the Largo documentation and editors and authors might want to reference our Largo users guide.
  3. If you’re still unable to find an answer to your question and require further assistance. Just open a new ticket and we’ll do our best to help.
  4. In some cases if you request is going to require more one-on-one assistance or custom work we may ask you to pay for this work to help us cover our costs. You can learn more about our consulting services here.

We hope these changes help you to get the most out of your Largo site. If you have questions or suggestions for us, feel free to reach out anytime.

Thanks for using Largo.

Nerd Alert 66: Mama Tried


What we're reading this week

  Adam: HTTPS is hard.

  Ben: Pausing the CSS stuff for a week to ask: What is journalism’s rallying flag? What unites journalists as a tribe? (a long and philosophical read)

  Jack: More than 40 percent of Americans say they are open to buying digital newspaper subscriptions, according to one recent study. Molly de Aguiar and Josh Stearns say we can convince them to pay for news by building relationships with individuals and doing journalism that adds value to their lives.

  Julia: For all our satellite imagery nerd-friends: NASA released nearly 3 million images of Earth, for free. The data is available here.

  Ryan: 18F's open source presence is strong; America is strong. Take your pick from this list of 35 open source projects from 18F, grouped by how each is meant to help make your life easier.

  Sinduja: Almost 70% of Reddit users (likely to be young, male and liberal) get their news from Reddit itself.  A fascinating piece from the Pew research center  on the role of Reddit in the 2016 presidential race.

  Bert: The future is terrifying.


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Alexandra Kanik (@act_rational), Metrics Editor at MediaShift.

Let Lindsey Cook (@lindzcook) and Ashlyn Still (@ashlynstillexplain programming to you like you were a 5th grader. *Bonus* sick info graphics:

BONUS LINK! If you're not quite sure if what you're doing is business appropriate... ask Business Cat.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

The Marshall Project launched an impressive new hub for criminal justice reporting and wrote about how they built it.

Also, congrats to all the winners of this year's IRE awards (including a number of INN members)!


Our projects, manifest

Julia was out in SF this week at the latest SNDMakes event. Her team's project, Babbage, is a low-hassle matching service that structures and schedules half-hour online feedback sessions for projects or career advice.


Good jobs with good people

KPCC is hiring a developer to focus on digital audio workflow and a dev/ops engineer.

BuzzFeed opened applications for the latest round of their open lab fellowships.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Merle Haggard sings Working Man Blues.

LISTEN: Merle Haggard does his impressions of Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Buck Owens and Johnny Cash.

LISTEN: Merle Haggard chills at home and sings three Jimmie Rodgers tunes.

LISTEN: We'll miss you, Merle.

Spring is here. Time to mow the lawn.

Disaster caused by a dog mowing the lawn

Nerd Alert 65: Stop Fooling Around


What we're reading this week

  Adam: An excellent post on the challenges of writing (or at least trying to write) scalable CSS.

  Ben: Adam’s link this week is an excellent follow-up to the last two weeks of CSS links in this slot, so here’s a different post by the same author: The Veil of Ignorance. Use it as a design tool.

  Jack: Is virtual reality a reality for journalism? Probably too early to know where it is in the technology adoption life cycle, but some recent VR projects have shown potential for immersive experiences that lead to deeper understanding. Sounds worthy of our efforts, if it actually can work. Here’s a great set of articles on the state of virtual storytelling.

  Julia: Learn how one news dev went about automating XKCD-style narrative charts – inspired by one of my all-time favorites: The Movie Narrative Chart.

  Ryan: Create shiny interactive maps using OpenStreetMap data with MapHub. Think: Google's "My Maps" but built using open data.

  Sinduja: Writing and getting data by issuing FOIA requests can be a long and complicated process. But the first step to even writing them is knowing what data is available and who to contact in an agency. The FOIA mapper helps you navigate this difficult process by mapping FOIA logs.

  Bert: I would never lie to you.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

story on about the EgyptAir hijacking arrest
Pitch a SRCCON session (before April 20) and help beta test a new version of Tabula while listening to some sweet, sweet tunes on NPR's new (non-flash) audio player.


Our projects, manifest

Mississippi today logoNew INN member Mississippi Today launched their site using Largo. As part of their launch, we helped them get set up with Gravity Forms and Stripe to accept both recurring and one-time donations directly through their site. We'll have a tutorial on how that's working up on our blog next week!


Good jobs with good people

The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund has launched a new fellowship for investigative reporters of color.

Knight Lab is looking for two developers.

And public radio station WAMU is hiring a digital managing editor.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: A ten hour loop of the Girl From Ipanema. Useful for migrations, long deployments and DNS updates.

EAT: How to cook a snake.

DRINK: 3 Floyds' Dark Lord aged in a Jeppson's Malört barrel. (or don't)

GIF: This was too big for the newsletter, but worth it. (we promise)

Time to make our getaway.

dog robber being chased by dog cop