Hurricane Irma remote contribution opportunities

This is a roundup of all Irma-related things that people can contribute to remotely: mapping projects, newsroom projects, and so on. Suggest changes to this Google Doc and we'll update this post.

This post originally appeared in the Friday, September 8 edition of the Nerd Alert newsletter.

Nerd Alert 138: What if we all worked together on something?


What we're reading this week

Ben: Content “blocks” are the happening thing. WordPress is working on Gutenberg. Tumblr is moving from plain HTML to the Neue Post Format. ProPublica now runs on Craft, which is built around blocks. What else is out there?

RC: Jake Spurlock’s presentation, A Biased Guide to Managing Bias, is a must read.

Julia: This post on the narrowing gap between design and code suggests that a new era of design etiquette is upon us.

Kay: Designing, developing, and testing for multiple screen sizes has its challenges - including not being able to work with multiple devices at the same time. That’s why I was excited to read about XRespond, a tool made to simplify that process and give you an all-in-one overview.

Inndy: Fear dumb robots.


Helpful projects that you can join

This is a roundup of all Irma-related things that people can contribute to remotely: mapping projects, newsroom projects, and so on:

The above is what ran in the Nerd Alert Newsletter sent on Friday, September 8. We're keeping an updated version of this list over here.



Be in the know

This Saturday, September 9, is the last day to fill out the OpenNews News Nerd Survey.

September 22: Last day to pitch talks to the 2018 Computer Assisted Reporting conference, aka NICAR.

September 23: Data Journalism Bootcamp at CUNY – sign up soon!

September 29: Last day to apply for a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

The logo of Coral Project's Talk software is a text bubble with three hollow circles in it.
The Washington Post is now using Talk, the Coral Project’s commenting platform. It'll help them engage with commenters, instead of the too-common approach of turning comments off.



Good jobs with good people

ProPublica is hiring a senior reporting fellow and a contract animator.

CALmatters is hiring an audience engagement manager.

Reese News Lab is hiring a data scientist.

100 Days in Appalachia is hiring a digital managing editor.

WNYC is hiring a data reporter.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, check out the main INN newsletter and sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday. Two INN newsletters are better than one!



Gather ye rosebuds

READ: I downloaded an app. And suddenly, was part of the Cajun Navy 📲

LISTEN: Bohemian Rhapsody on a fairground organ 🎶

WATCH: A webcam on Miami Beach ⛱

EAT: Do-it-yourself Meals Ready to Eat 🍴

DRINK: Clean water 🚰

PLAY: The Magic Door ✨



Stay dry, friend.

An illustration of a white cat sitting on the edge of a pool, watching the goldfish swim. This is in a garden with lots of cabbage.

WordCamp for Publishers Wrap-Up

Contributor Day Thanks

INN would like to thank the following people for their contributions during Contributor Day:

  • Mike Schinkel for Largo pull requests #1469 and #1466, fixing errors in Largo when running under WP_DEBUG and cleaning up some widgets.
  • Chris Hardie for Largo pull requests #1463#1465, and #1468, fixing syntax problems and WordPress Theme Check issues.
  • Jeremy Green for Largo pull request #1464, fixing a number of translation text domain issues.
  • Mads Holmen, Ben Borie, and Douglas Arellanes for their contributions to the Largo Wiki.
  • Adam Schweigert for continued work on DoubleClick for WordPress.

If you'd like to contribute to the next version of Largo, check out the Largo issue tracker on GitHub. We have a number of issues that would make good community contributions. Also, check out Largo's contributor guidelines and our team documentation!

INN at #wcpub

We'll update this section with transcripts and video as they become available.

Julia's Designing for Customization session provided an overview of the WordPress Customizer, information on how we're building the next version of Largo for Customizer-powered homepages, and ended with a brainstorming session about ways to solve a number of problems through improving customizability. Read her slides and speaker notes, and the prompt from the brainstorming session.

RC led INN's Contributor Day presence, which focused on building the next edition of Largo.

Ben's lightning talk was about all of INN's plugins, starting with the popular ones and wrapping up with the ones we've built for other people.

Kay and Ben were WordCamp for Publishers organizers as well as INN representatives. Kay was part of the Denver team that handled events and logistics, and Ben was part of the publicity team that handled the website, social media updates, and photography.

During Contributor Day, RC worked on Largo and Ben worked on INN's Storytelling Tools plugin.

Nerd Alert 135: Hello from WordCamp!

We're at WordCamp for Publishers this week, so this Nerd Alert is a little light.

If you’re in Denver, come say hi! 👋

If not, never fear! You can follow the events on Twitter at #wcpub, and check out our team's slides here:

You're invited to join us remotely for Contributor Day! The event kicks off tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. MT, and RC will be leading collaboration on Largo. Take a look at the issues on GitHub and jump in wherever you can!


  RC: If you haven’t checked out the WP GraphQL project yet, here’s a great presentation on how and why you’d want to get started using it.

  Kay: Tech platforms have long stood by strict neutrality and freedom of expression. That may now be changing.

  Julia: Some Internet history for your Friday afternoon: The languages that almost became CSS.

  Ben: The processes described in this blog post sound incredibly inadvisable – changing a computer’s operating system in place as it runs, live, without rebooting, in a production environment – but Magento did it, and it worked.

  Inndy: Robot dance party?


LISTEN: Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata

EAT: Blueberry Crisp Tart with Oat Crust

DRINK: Nutella Latte

WATCH: You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse


A dolphin, a whale and a seal bob up and down in the ocean, wearing eclipse glasses, while the sun flicks on and off as the moon passes in front of it.

Nerd Alert 134: What will you listen to this weekend?


  Ben: Jenn Schiffer's essay about not policing code ecosystems makes a good point: it's not a good thing for coders or for code ecosystems if people get chased out for not meeting some arbitrary bar of worthiness.

  Julia: The Schools of Journalism dives into the varying communities in the journalism industry, the “interesting” times we live in, and ways to approach the future.

  Kay: An incredibly inspiring coder.

  RC: The guy who invented those annoying password rules now regrets wasting your time.

  Inndy: The Internet Archive is posting digitized 78prm records, and there are now a couple of Tweetbots: @great78project posts every 10 minutes; @78_sampler posts every 2 hours.


No Office Hours next week — we're all attending WordCamp for Journalists in Denver. If you're in town, come say hi 👋 – and be sure to join us for Contributor Day on Saturday, 8/19, to work on the next Largo release!


It's a map of the United States, with some states more shaded in green than others, according to which have more Largo users.
We’ve collected a partial list of sites using Largo in the wiki on INN/Largo. If you know a site that's not in the list, let us know!


August 17-19: WordCamp for Publishers.
August 18: Last day to apply for the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media.
September 29: Last day to apply for a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship.


Screenshots flicker past of Reveal's Sanctuary interactive, showing: Cook County Illinois, Clark County Nevada, Miami-Dade County Florida, and Chicago.
Reveal's "What makes a sanctuary?" compares policies between different sanctuary cities and states.

The Coral Project just released a set of guides designed to help people in journalism improve their strategy, skills, and understanding for effective community engagement.

ProPublica and have added an additional 1.9 million electronically-filed Form 990 documents to the Nonprofit Explorer database, bringing the total to more than 3 million records.

The New York Times has open-sourced a text-message-based facial-recognition system for members of Congress. It's called Who the Hill.


Center for Public Integrity is hiring a data editor in DC.

The Texas Tribune is hiring an interactive designer/developer.

Chalkbeat is hiring a digital producer.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, check out the main INN newsletter and sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday. Two INN newsletters are better than one!


LISTEN: The Preytorians 📻

WATCH: Surfers playing with a floating dock 🌊

EAT: 17 different home-made ramen recipes 🍜

DRINK: A vanilla and fresh cherry bourbon cocktail 🍸

Watching MP3s being copied is nowhere near as fun.

A record press makes a record by pressing a blob of vinyl between two grooved platens.


Pym Shortcode plugin update: version 1.3.1

Last week, NPR released Pym.js version 1.3.0, and earlier this week released 1.3.1. These feature releases introduced optional scroll tracking, allowing the child iframe to know where the browser is on the parent page. You can read more about how that's implemented, and how it can be used, on the NPR Visuals Team blog post announcing Pym 1.3.0. Pym.js version 1.3.1 added a function getParentPositionInfo to the Pym child.

Pym Shortcode version 1.3.1 brings you the latest version of Pym.js, as well as the following improvements:

  • Adds an id="" attribute to allow setting of custom IDs on embeds, for Github issue #21. The id="" attribute is useful if you want to load a new embedded page inside the iframe and maintain Pym functionality.
  • Adds a class="" attribute to allow setting custom of classes on embeds, for Github issues #22 and #23. The class="" attribute allows you to, among other things, add layout classes to embeds so they take a different shape on your page.
  • Adds a default class name pym to all embed-containing <div> elements output by this plugin, and a filter pym_shortcode_default_class to allow changing the default class or removing it.

You can download the new version of the Pym Shortcode plugin through your WordPress dashboard, on the plugin repository, or on Github.

If you have feedback on the plugin or would like to contribute to development of the Pym Shortcode plugin, check out our contributor guidelines and join the conversation in the plugin's GitHub issues or in our Slack.

Nerd Alert 131: Robots are people!


What we're reading this week

  Ben: Is it safe to start using CSS Grid? Rachel Andrew, CSS Working Group invited expert, argues yes.

  RC: I’m really excited to check out Alley Interactive’s Voice WP project.

  Julia: The News Media Alliance has called on Congress to allow publishers to negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook – get more details from the New York Times and the Atlantic.

  Kay: INN is a fully remote team, so we’re always looking for new ways to improve our productivity across time zones. The team at Hanno put together a fantastic Remote Starter Kit and we’ll definitely be adopting a trick or two.

  Inndy: I’m a robot (or a puppet, depending on your interpretation of my life), so what I’m about to link to doesn’t apply to me. I’m willing to bet it applies to most of you who are reading this email, though. You’re probably a human, probably using software that probably lives outside your body. You may not have written it, might not own the box it runs on, might not even have paid for the use of the software. But that software is still part of you, right? Give the Universal Declaration of Cyborg Rights a read, and then refresh yourself on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Stop us if you've heard this one before

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled newsletter to inform you that the INN product and technology team has a new brand! Now known as INN Labs, we’re still the same nerds you know and love. Check out our new home at


Our projects, manifest

We've built a WordPress plugin to make using the Knight Lab storytelling tools easier. Now anyone can begin using these tools in WordPress without any coding skills!

Timeline, StoryMap and Juxtapose get oEmbed support, while Soundcite gains a shortcode. Read more about it.


Stay in the know

Last Call registration for the NABJ Annual Convention is open until July 19.

Registration for the AAJA National Convention ends July 19.

Apply for the Grist fellowship program by July 31.

If you're going to SRCCON, sign up to bring board games and teach hobbies.

Today is the last day to buy a ticket to WordCamp for Publishers and still get guaranteed meals, swag, and events access. Here's the full schedule.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

Public Source launched Small Town, Pennsylvania, a beautifully illustrated multipart look into what life is like outside of the big cities.


Good jobs with good people

NPR is hiring a project manager/scrum master, a systems administrator, a web developer, a technology manager, a mobile developer, and a ton of interns.

ProPublica is hiring a data reporter and an editorial designer.

IRE is hiring a training director.

The Marshall Project is hiring a senior investigative reporter.

The Center for Public Integrity is hiring an audience engagement editor.

The Pew Research Center is hiring a DC-based senior developer for WordPress, PHP and JavaScript,

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, check out the main INN newsletter and sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday. Two INN newsletters are better than one!


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Human After All.

WATCH: Google DeepMind learning to run.

EAT: Sun-dried tomato and mozzarella quinoa veggie burgers.

DRINK: Roasted-peach lemonade.

The world's longest-burning light bulb.

People had a choice. They could continue wandering through the endless darkness, an absence of everything they loved, an endless void of disappointment and loneliness ... or they could look down, and embrace what they always have loved.

Meet the Team: Julia Smith, Director, INN Labs

A number of people sit on a sectional couch underneath a projection screen.
Julia, second from left, participated in a data journalism panel during the Walkley Storyology conference last summer.

In part 3 of our "Meet the Team" series, we'll get to know Julia Smith, our awesome director!

Julia joined the team in February of 2016 as our design lead, stepped in full-force as acting director in February, and now guides us all with her fearless leadership.

Julia is a data journalist and technologist who has experience in news design and software development in addition to agency experience. She joined us in 2016 from the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she was a Knight-Mozilla Fellow and news application developer.

And, that's not all! Her work has also been recognized with an IRE Philip Meyer Award and a NATAS Emmy Award for New Approaches in Current News Coverage. Her editorial work has appeared in National Geographic, Reveal, The Chicago Reporter, and The Omaha World-Herald.

Here's some lesser-known facts about Julia, in her own words:

Where are you from?

Omaha, Nebraska.

How long have you been at INN?

1 year, 4 months.

What's your title and what do you do?

Director, INN Labs – I lead this (fabulous!) team, provide direction on product development and client projects, and still do a bit of coding.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Developing innovative products that lay the foundation for independent news orgs to present their best work online.

Where do you get your news?

Podcasts from NPR, Reveal, NYTimes; Twitter for general news from Axios, Washington Post, ProPublica, local sources; Print subscriptions for Bitch Media and the Sunday Omaha World-Herald.

Who or what inspires you?


What are your hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy visiting museums, playing piano, and searching for the best sour beers.

What's your favorite part of working remotely?

The flexibility to work from anywhere.

What's your favorite or most unusual place you've worked from?

Most unusual: the backseat of a moving Subaru somewhere on I-29 between Omaha and Kansas City.

Favorite place: Oakland, CA.

What's your Myers-Briggs personality type?


Favorite kind of pie?

Apple – not at all exciting but totally delicious.

What cartoon character would you be?

Schroeder from Peanuts.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Time travel.

Are you a dog or cat person?

Dogs, definitely. Kittens are cute from a distance.

Favorite album or book?

Lateralus (Tool).

Favorite place you've traveled to?

Queenstown, NZ – it's super beautiful.

Most recently used gif?

A woman dramatically turns to face the camera, and points at you. She speaks, and as she does so, words appear in the background: YOU GOT THIS.

Describe yourself in 5 emojis or less.


Office Hours June 30: INN WordPress Plugins

We'd like to hear from users of our WordPress plugins this week during our open office hours. Join us from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern in our weekly video chat and in the notes to talk about what you want to see from our plugins.

We maintain:

We'd love to hear what feedback you have on the plugins and ideas you have for their future development.

Join us from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at

Or by telephone: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 298 377 456
International numbers are available.

Notes for this week's office hours will be in this etherpad.

Our ongoing office hours schedule is in this Google Sheet.

More about our office hours:

Nerd Alert 126: Do Self-Driving Cars Dream of Analog Pedestrians?


RC: Why printers add secret tracking dots.

Julia: Stardust is a GPU-based data visualization library. These examples look pretty powerful.

Gabe: Jane Solomon used Python to analyze gun emoji pairings for all you linguist nerds. ?

Kay: Populace uses data from social media and other sources to display crowd densities - making it easier to find breaking stories. Read more about it here.

Ben: An update to the survey of newsroom boundary servers I ran a couple weeks back: only five found so far. If you know of any others, please add them to the list.

Inndy: I like the idea of cars talking to each other.


Office Hours today will feature our very own Kay Lima talking about the Google Search Console. Join us at 2 p.m. Eastern on Zoom:


B Cordelia Yu is a content and editorial strategist who is "totes available to join yer product and community teams."

The Personal Democracy Forum was last week and the speaker who excited me most was Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister, on stories from the future of democracy. She told us how civic hackers and journalists are using open data to educate about public policy and are building tools for inclusive participation to create the country’s laws†. The speaker before her, Colin Megill, talked about how they’re using machine learning to scale the process.

Normally I’m skeptical of folks touting tech as a solution to social complexity, but Taiwan’s civic hackers, journalists, scholars, and policymakers are coming together to create spaces for direct public participation in policymaking. Coming out of authoritarianism 30 years ago, their journos are sussing out what it means to be a free press in the time of the Internet—without our institutional baggage. So as I watch Taiwan, I wonder what it would mean to evolve our work from broadcasting truth to partnering with communities to discover truth and become bridges to speak to power.

† Is Taiwan a country? It’s complicated.

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.


Tickets are now on sale for WordCamp for Publishers!

Investigative Reporters and Editors' annual conference is in Phoenix next week, and Julia will be there. Say hi!


A neon sign, red lettering "OPEN" surrounded by a light blue circle.

Last week, we linked to a security article on Source. This week, we get to link to the entire Security Week on Source. It’s got a guide to practical paranoia, an interview with the Director of Newsroom Security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and a training guide for digital security in newsrooms. Give ‘em a read!


The Coral Project is hiring a Lead Engineer.

National Geographic is hiring a Director of Cartography.

WBEZ is looking for an Interactive Producer.

The Federal Elections Commission seeks an IT Specialist.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, check out the main INN newsletter and sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday. Two INN newsletters are better than one!


LISTEN: Beethoven’s Sonata No.29 in B-flat Major, "Hammerklavier" ?

READ: Oil's Pipeline to America's Schools: Inside the fossil-fuel industry’s not-so-subtle push into K-12 education from The Center for Public Integrity.

WATCH: A Ghibli double feature.

EAT: Merguez with herby yogurt.

DRINK: Plenty of water.

A large truck drives along a dirt track until it smashes into a large metal pipe. The bumper goes under the pipe, the hood goes over the pipe, the truck comes to a stop in a cloud of dust.

From 2014, a truck barrier test.
No robots were harmed.