Nerd Alert 151: Go Wild


What we're reading this week

  Ben: Read Atlanta Journal-Constitution intern Stephanie Lamm’s interview about how she mapped an affordable housing project that wasn’t providing useful data. And then read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Georgia News Lab article using that map.

  RC: I recently came across Coveralls, which seems like a really great way to keep yourself accountable about writing unit tests.

  Julia: This week in fun and interesting datasets: Analyzing the Gender Representation of 34,476 Comic Book Characters.

  Kay: Check out this roundup of design and development books to read this summer. There’s something for coders, designers, and engagement managers – I recommend Elements of a Successful Website to everyone.

  Inndy: Swimming with dolphins is SO last year.


Our projects, manifest

Meet the Team: Part 4

This week we get to know RC Lations, the Lead Developer of INN Labs.




Stay in the know

Tickets for WordCamp for Publishers are still available! Get ‘em while they’re hot and say hello to the whole INN Labs team at the event from August 17-19. ?

August 1: Last day to submit a paper to the Computation+Journalism Symposium.

August 18: Last day to apply for the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

Take a look at the latest installment of ProPublica’s maternal mortality series, and read about how the reporters approached crowdsourcing the dataset.

Check out this awesome behind-the-scenes look at how Brian Jacobs of National Geographic built an interactive 3D tour of a 110-million-year-old dinosaur fossil.

The LA Times Data Desk are building a tool to make making maps better. Check it out on GitHub at datadesk/web-map-maker.


Good jobs with good people

Reveal is hiring a radio and digital producer.

ProPublica Illinois is looking for an assistant director of development.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is hiring a network and security engineer.

Chalkbeat is hiring a digital producer.

Texas Tribune is hiring an interactive designer/developer.

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: Animals as Leaders at the Dunlop Sessions. ?

WRITE: Tell the FCC your opinion on Net Neutrality.

WATCH: The hydraulic press channel on YouTube (an oldie, but a goodie).

EAT: Easy Vegan Macaroons.

DRINK: Watermelon Margaritas.


Storytelling Tools Plugin for WordPress

If you're not familiar with them already, The Knight Lab at Northwestern University has built some great storytelling & visualization tools for journalists, all of which are freely available on their website.

Knight Lab Storytelling Tools

You may have already seen some of these tools in action as a reader and not realized what they were. Their Timeline, StoryMap, Juxtapose, and Soundcite tools have been featured in Time, The Washington Post, ESPN, and ProPublica, to name a few.

Even better, the Knight Lab has taken steps to make it as easy as possible for anyone to build these visualizations and embed them on their site. Each tool has its own page on the Knight Lab site that contains either a wizard to guide you through building the visualization or detailed information and examples on how to do it yourself (in the case of Soundcite).

Why We Built The Plugin

When you use the online wizard to build one of these tools, you'll get a few different options to embed the finished product on your website. If you're publishing on Medium, you'll receive a link you can just paste into your editor. If you're using WordPress or another platform, there's some iframe code you can add to your editor. For Soundcite, there are some rather detailed instructions for WordPress users, because you need to include the Soundcite JavaScript file that builds the players.

For non-technical users, relying on code to embed these tools can be difficult, and even prevent people from using these tools. We saw an opportunity here to add first-party support for these tools in WordPress, allowing for the same automatic embeds as Medium and a shortcode for Soundcite. Now, anyone can begin using these tools in WordPress without any coding skills!

More Info

By this point, you're probably thinking, "WOW, where can I get this plugin to start using it myself?!?"

You're in luck - it is freely available on or you can install from the comfort of your own website's plugin section. At that link, you'll also find detailed information about each of the tools and how to use them on your site.

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can always contact us via email, open a ticket on Github, or leave a note for us in the forums. We look forward to hearing from you!

Nerd Alert 114: Enter At Your Own Risk


What we're reading this week

 Ben: "The more you let engagement metrics drive editorial, the more your site will look like a Taboola widget".

 Gabe: Some general tips for talking tech with non-tech people. Don’t assume anything and be ready to explain things in multiple ways, because people have different ways of understanding things.

 Julia: Check out the American Press Institute's report on how Americans decide what news to trust on social media.

 Kay: Uncovering forgotten stories in handwritten text: the Europeana Transcribe project is using crowdsourcing to transform over 200,000 items from WWI into digital data for journalists and historians.

 RC: Check out Foxhound, the first REST API-powered theme on

 Inndy: Boaty McBoatface embarks on its first tour of duty.


Do you have ideas about how to improve the flow of accurate information? Submit a proposal to the Knight Prototype Fund by April 3.

If you're considering pitching a session for SRCCON 2017, the deadline for proposals in April 7 at 11:59pm ET.


Listen up!

As we start to build the next version of Largo, we'd love to hear your ideas, suggestions, and feedback on what you'd like to see included and updated!

For the next two weeks, our Office Hours will feature Largo-specific ideas sessions. This is a great chance to shape our ideas and get that one feature you've always wanted in the next version! We'd love to hear your feedback, so make sure to join us on Friday, March 24 and Friday, March 31 from 2-3pm EST.

All are welcome!


Today's shout out goes to all the Capitol Hill reporters.


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 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

Maplight is hiring a Development Manager.

Searchlight New Mexico is hiring a Senior Data Journalist and Investigative Reporters.

Mother Jones has a Documentary Film Residency.

INN is hiring a Director of  INN Labs.

The Center for Public Integrity is hiring a News Application Developer/Data Journalist.

The Marshall Project is hiring for a Features Editor, Multimedia Editor, Immigration Reporter, Membership Manager, Communications and Development Associate.

The Lens is looking for an Environment Reporter.

Mother Jones is hiring for an Advertising Sales Assistant, Foreign Influence/National Security Reporter, Managing/Production Editor, News Editor, and for a Mother Jones Documentary Film Residency.

ProPublica has a bunch of job openings for their new Illinois office

NPR Visuals is hiring a Summer Intern.

VTDigger is hiring a Chief Innovation Officer and a Social Media / Community Editor.

The Better Government Association (BGA) seeks a Development Assistant, a Board Liaison & Development Associate, and has Internships available.

The Sunlight Foundation is hiring an Operations Manager.

Mississippi Today is hiring a Product/Web Designer and Developer.

The Tor Project is seeking a Communications Director.

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: Four New Gorillaz Tracks. ?

EAT: Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Proscuitto.

DRINK: Elderfashion. ?

WATCH: German grocer Netto-Katzen's new ad.

A heart's a heavy burden.

SSL & 2-Factor Authentication Coming to All Hosted INN Member Sites

The security and performance of our hosted member sites is one of the most important tasks we handle on the INN Product & Technology Team. Our members rely on us to keep their sites secure and accessible so they can focus their efforts on the important journalistic work they're doing.

This week we're beginning a rollout of SSL certificates and 2 Factor Authentication for all hosted members sites. SSL provides encrypted connections to websites, is increasingly becoming the de facto standard for the web, and Google has indicated it will increasingly be viewed as a ranking factor in search. Enabling SSL will mean that all pages will be accessed using https:// at the beginning of the URL (and don't worry, we'll redirect any non-SSL URLs to the safe SSL version).

Two-Factor Authentication is an additional security step we are also making available in the coming months to our hosted sites through Google Authenticator. This will allow you to add additional authentication to your account by using your phone or another app to verify your identity when you log in. We're currently testing integrations of this and will provide public documentation for using this feature once we begin rolling it out on our hosted sites.

If you're a member with an INN-hosted site, there aren't any actions you need to take to enable these features. INN's tech team will be implementing these infrastructure improvements on a rolling basis, and we'll continue to communicate any updates or changes that may affect your site before they occur. If you have any questions, you can always find answers and reach out to us through our support portal.

Nerd Alert 98: They opened this email and YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT…


What we're reading this week.

  Adam: Perhaps more than ever, this is a great time to support independent nonprofit watchdog journalism, particularly at the local and state level. If you’re in a position to donate, here’s a handy list of organizations to help you get started.

  Ben: Did you know that we here at the INN Nerds Distributed Office™ hold weekly office hours that anyone can join? Join us Fridays from 2-3 p.m. Eastern on your computer screen or telephonic communicator as we answer your questions and talk about random things.

  Gabe: Icons are prevalent in UI/UX design, but they are deceptively simple. What makes a good icon?

  Julia: Martin Shelton is a security researcher and OpenNews fellow – read his thoughts about security compromises in journalism and his recommendations for securing your digital life like a normal person.

  RC:  CUNY Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis sends out A Call for Cooperation Against Fake News.

  Inndy: Don't be fooled by fake bots.


Good jobs with good people

INN is hiring a Support and Community Lead.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, the main INN newsletter had 24 job openings this week. Check it out and sign up here if you'd like to get that in your inbox every week. Receiving two newsletters from INN is twice as good as one!

We're sorry to hear that so many of our friends were let go at Fusion/Univision this week. If you're hiring, you can find a list of folks looking for work here.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Two Dots iPhone game soundtrack (also available on vinyl) ?

WATCH: Macy's Day Parade.

EAT: The Best Apple Crisp Recipe. Or, if you're hosting Thanksgiving, try a Turkey Porchetta!

DRINK: How to make your own hard cider at home (it's very easy)


No newsletter next week, so have a great Thanksgiving!


Nerd Alert 97: Happy Thoughts & Puppies


What we're reading this week.

  Adam: About a year ago now, Kelsey Proud wrote that 2016 would be a turning point for public trust in the media. We’ve still got a month and a half. Let’s get to work.

  Ben: Play Mario Kart in your browser, implemented mostly through CSS3! (via Elliot Bentley)

  Gabe: is one of the most unique and visually interesting sites that I’ve come across (and how about that URL?) Each story feels like a playful exploration of typography, white space, and grids. I especially like the layouts for two stories about Yukio Mishima and Beyoncé.

  Julia: Break out of your filter bubble. The WSJ’s Blue Feed, Red Feed project is still up and running, and you can read about how it was built. (Thanks to @jaspar for the reminder.)

  RC:  "By living and making decisions in an open source way, we can reclaim the humanity that is so easily lost when we let technology come between us."

  Inndy: Don't want your old tv anymore? Give it to a robot.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

EndRun, The Marshall Project's custom-made content management system, is now available on Github. EndRun's design flexibility allowed the team to create projects like Crime in ContextThe Next to Die, and many of the spectacular graphics reporting seen on The Marshall Project. Its functionality led to The Marshall Project being named "World's Best Designed Website" by the Society for News Design.


Good jobs with good people

INN is hiring a Support and Community Lead.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, the main INN newsletter had nearly 30 job openings this week. Check it out and sign up here if you'd like to get that in your inbox every week. Receiving two newsletters from INN is twice as good as one!


Gather ye rosebuds


LISTEN: 12 Bit Blues, the Kid Koala blues album made almost entirely with a sampler & turntables ?

WATCH: The Nov. 14 Supermoon: The Closest Moon to Earth Since 1948 (IRL)

EAT: Homemade Caramel Apples

DRINK: Cardamomagin


Nerd Alert 96: Steve Zissou Gets Broadband


What we're reading this week.

  Adam: As we start the process of redesigning Largo, I’ve been reading a lot about BEM (block element modifier) CSS patterns to bring more structure to our markup and styles. This post has some great tips regarding common BEM gotchas and how to avoid them.

  Ben: Are you voting in the US general election? Read up on ProPublica’s Electionland project and how you can participate, and then send them a text after you’ve voted. Are you covering the US general election? Become an Electionland partner!

  Gabe: What’s the difference between product and marketing illustrations? Marketing illustrations are meant to excite and captify your audience, while product illustrations are for making information more easily digestible.

  Julia: The Coral Project and Bocoup teamed up to build an open-source, embeddable election interactive that allows news organizations to capture their readers’ emotions surrounding Tuesday’s election.

  RC:  The forthcoming release of WordPress 4.7 will extend support for custom page templates to all post types (including custom ones) and add support for video headers in themes. Hooray!

  Inndy: Coming to a underwater habitat near you! The Ocean's Robots May Soon Enjoy High-Speed Internet.


Our projects, manifest

This was a busy week for us!

You can read all the details on our blog,
but here's a quick summary of what we launched:

Largo 0.5.5 Released
This is a big release that we've been working on for the past nine months or so, and it includes a lot of new features we think you'll love – as well as a bunch of smaller improvements and bug fixes. Learn more about features and improvements in our release announcement.

Mississippi Today Redesign
Mississippi Today has a brand new design and logo, and Gabe put together a writeup on the header redesign process for the site.

City Limits ZoneIn Series
City Limits is providing special coverage for NYC Mayor de Blasio's rezoning project across the city with a newly launched series titled ZoneIn: The Future of NYC Neighborhoods.

Kinsey Confidential
Earlier this week we also launched a new website for Kinsey Confidential, a project of the Kinsey Institute and School of Public Health at Indiana University.

One more Largo site launched this week, The Observatory. This is a project at the University of Wisconsin journalism school that is teaching students how to improve their fact-checking while also developing a statewide resource to hold those in power accountable.

If you'd like to work with us on improvements to your website or any other project you're planning, get in touch.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

Shout out to all you news nerds working this election. You’ve done great stuff, you’re doing great stuff, and you’re going to survive election night. Remember to take stretch breaks.


Good jobs with good people

INN is hiring a Support and Community Lead.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, the main INN newsletter had over 30 job openings this week. Check it out and sign up here if you'd like to get that in your inbox every week. Receiving two newsletters from INN is twice as good as one!


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Check out the first two songs from the to-be-released Hamilton Mixtape ?

WATCH: The New York Public Library’s Book train

EAT: Avocado Chorizo Toast

DRINK: Mexican Tricycle


Week 3: Getting to know Our Members, Largo, and Better Productivity

This week I spent a lot of time on our member sites getting to know our members and the work they’re producing. There is a lot of fantastic journalism happening here!

Member Stories

I found the Sunlight Foundation asking readers to "Help us find political dark money in your state”. I found Mongabay reporting on illegally sourced lumber from Peru. I even found journalism directly influencing policy in PineTreeWatchdog’s piece on "State to reconsider hiding oil train data" - and that’s just 3 articles out of the hundreds of stories that our members are reporting on each week!


In addition to diving into our member sites, I’ve also been getting more acquainted with our Largo theme framework that’s powering a lot of these news sites.

As I explore how our members and community users are using Largo to build their news sites, I’m gaining a lot of insight and ideas for the future of Largo. You’ll likely see my name pop up a lot more in the Largo github repo in the coming weeks, but in the meantime if you have any ideas or feedback for Largo, I’d love hear them!

Working Remotely

Il_pomodoroI’ve been really enjoying the transition to remote work, but I also spent a lot of time reading about the pros and cons before I jumped in. The one thing I read over and over again about working remotely is the importance of planning your day with structure. While I’ve tried to keep a decent schedule for starting and ending the workday, I did find that I felt like I needed a little more structure. To help, I turned back to a strategy I had tried out a few months ago - the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique has you break up tasks into 25-minute segments, and schedules short breaks in-between to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge. The idea here is that you can heighten your focus during your work times, and compile your distractions and the mental rest you need into a smaller window, resulting in much higher productivity. I’ve been trying this out for a few days and it’s really helped - even just in allowing me to better plan how long I’ll spend on each task. If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro Technique, or have but haven’t tried it out yourself, I’d highly recommend it!

Week Two: VVV & Lots of Required Reading

I'm just about to wrap up my second week here at INN, and I'm continually reminded of the importance of writing documentation.

This week I spent a lot of time working with our Vagrant setup, or as my friends put it, "How are things going over there in the matrix?".

I've been testing out VVV, a Vagrant setup that allows you to build virtual machines designed for WordPress work. Getting up to speed with this, and determining how it can work with our existing workflow has involved reading a lot of reading tutorials from others, and writing our own instructions for our unique workflow.

I could not imagine doing this with out the great support and documentation of others - something that I'm trying to emulate as I write our own documentation for using VVV.

Aside from that, I've been reading more of our documentation, getting to know our members, and I'm excited to explore more of our Largo sites next week!