Guest Post: Publishing elections results on the cheap

Caitlin Ostroff is the Miami Herald's data reporter and a graduate of the University of Florida. Mike Stucka is the data dork at the Palm Beach Post and is a graduate of Northeastern University, Loyola University Chicago, and a great IRE bootcamp a decade ago. Today, they contribute a guest post to INN Labs about the elections software they built.

Want to get live election results on a shoestring budget? We did. The result is a multi-component package of election reporting tools that ease the way for newsrooms to build their own scrapers, output them in a semi-standardized format and optionally use a frontend for display.

Python code parses through several pipe-delimited text files published by Florida’s Secretary of State to get statewide results, and also scrapes local results for several counties. The key was to adopt pseudo-standards from software created by The New York Times and National Public Radio, who worked together to process election results from The Associated Press.

By building scrapers against the CSV format of the Elex package, it became easy to combine multiple levels of results that could be handled and processed by a single system. You can combine your own scrapers and AP's data — or just your own scrapers, or just AP's data — to get results for your pages. The Miami-Dade County scraper was easily adapted for Kentucky, and Palm Beach County's scraper easily became West Virginia's.

The Palm Beach Post built a front end by baking out the pages using Flask. Three scrapers ran on Election Night and were beaten into more than 500 different widget embeds for 11 newspapers, with each complete scrape-parse-build run taking about 40 seconds total.

The Miami Herald used JavaScript to parse out the results from a JSON file and render them to the Herald’s static media server, using fixed-size iframes of different breakwidths to bring them into its proprietary content management system. The Herald enabled cross-origin sharing, which allowed it to control caching in an .htaccess file.

Part of the Miami Herald's election results page, showing the ballot initiative results for Florida Amendment 13, which would end dog racing.
Part of the Miami Herald's election results page, showing the ballot initiative results for Florida Amendment 13, which would end dog racing.

There's a lot of flexibility: one of us un-called a race from a cell phone while waiting to pick up a kid from school, because the open-sourced publishing tool uses a Google Sheet to allow edits of race names, candidate names, parties, winners and runoffs.

In addition to rendering live election results, this setup also allowed both papers’ newsrooms easy access to data, from the margins between candidates to live vote count changes from newly-tallied votes. The data structures and workflow helped on election night and through a recount process that stretched more than a week. The Miami Herald and The Palm Beach Post used the code to render the current tallies as Florida inched closer to a recount after the election, as well as to drive analysis for reporting.

A screenshot of a line chart, showing that DeSanis, Scott, and Caldwell had high initial leads in the vote count, but their leads declined as more votes came in. Caldwell's lead disappeared entirely, ending up several thousand votes behind the competition.
Chris Persaud and Mike Stucka built a Datawrapper chart of Republican candidates' lead in vote counts, using data from their election handling tool.

Existing widgets ran with stories, and new widgets were fed in near-real-time from the data we'd pulled. The code for whole-election results gave both publications a framework for pulling precinct-level results.

How cheaply done was this? We think we might have gotten about five weeks total to work on this. A much more ambitious project is Politico's open-sourced Civic, on which a development team of five focused for about five weeks each to add improvements. Our effort is far more limited, but likely also a lighter lift to get started with. Weigh your options and see what fits your organization.

Would you like to use our code? The front-end is available now and you can check out the scrapers here and here, and all are released under the MIT License. You can use this code as-is or contribute improvements. We have a sample widget collection here, and implementations at the Herald and the Post. Want to improve the project? We'd welcome that; send a pull request, drop us an email, find us in News Nerdery, call us by phone.

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.

Nerd Alert 95: I put a spell on you…

And now you're mine...


What we're pondering this week.

  Adam: Excellent post from a couple members of Etsy’s engineering team with 10 very practical and immediately actionable tips on how to be an effective ally to women and non-binary people.

  Ben: Shane Bauer was a prisoner in Iran, went undercover as a private prison guard, and then went undercover with a border militia. What will he do next? (Mother Jones is a member of INN; support their journalism by subscribing!)

  Gabe: How to Poison the Mobile User is an important reminder of what not to do when designing for mobile.

  Jack: Credible research shows young adults have a hard time navigating the social media echo chamber, and are increasingly skeptical of news. To address this we might learn something from librarians.

  Julia: The folks at CSS-Tricks got a little festive this week, featuring posts about “spooky” dark UX patterns and CSS selectors “from beyond the grave.” Happy Halloween, everybody.

  RC:  If you build design prototypes for mobile devices, check out Facebook’s newly released Origami Studio, which integrates with Sketch and allows you to live preview your interactive designs on your phone.

  Inndy: Nothing's gonna stop us now.


This week's guest contributor


Our guest this week is Helga Salinas (@helga_salinas), Social Media Producer at The Seattle Times.

Under Our Skin, a project by The Seattle Times, is a great example of how digital tools like videos and interactive elements can work together to allow someone to engage and experience nuanced ideas at their pace. The project is meant to start a conversation on how race is talked about by trying to define phrases like “white privilege” and “microaggression." It is not intended to offer definitive answers. One way to do this was to structure the commenting form in a way that would elicit thoughtful and honest comments.

The conversational nature of the project allowed for its content to be resurfaced and retooled after its initial publish date. Shorter videos were made for sharing via Facebook at pertinent times. In addition, the team behind Under Our Skin has been invited to speak and demonstrate the project at local events, including festivals, university panels and community councils. At these events, the videos help facilitate these difficult discussions in person.

That being said, I have to give a shout out to the amazing people who were a part of the project from the beginning. #FF:@audcarls, @callmeshirleyq, @laurenfrohne, @CorinneChin, @tyrone_beason, @anikaanand00, @gawlowski, and @LShawST. We invite you to visit the project and email us your thoughts at

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

Mozilla's Open Innovation Toolkit is a comprehensive collection of methods and best practices for product development. The toolkit is "an invitation to the wider open source community to keep building on and improving the innovation process for our open, distributed communities." Find out how you can contribute here.


Good jobs with good people

INN is looking for an operations manager.

The Center for Public Integrity is looking for a news app developer/data journalist.

The Marshall Project is looking for a social media editor.

Pew Research Center is looking for a UX specialist.

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: Bobby McFerrin and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra sing the William Tell Overture.

WATCH: A story about a girl who lives in a simulation.

EAT: Halloween ramen.?

DRINK: The Black Diablo. ?

It was a graveyard smash!


Nerd Alert 87: Last-Minute Labor Day Newsletter


You'll be grilling hot dogs on Labor Day, right?

  Adam: In a world filled with looming deadlines, over-filled inboxes, always-on chat and incessant push notifications, a reminder that very little of what we do in the tech industry is truly urgent.

  Ben: Brian Boyer's quote about the similarities between programming and cooking in this transcript is worth a read. Keep an eye out for the full interview, publishing next summer.

  Gabe: Our understandings about gender and sexuality are increasingly become more nuanced. How should journalism reflect that? CJR has a thoughtful thinkpiece about preferred pronouns, outing ethics, and inappropriate interview questions.

  Jack: The Dropbox hack was the real deal, and sorry to be using the Dad Voice but it’s time to get serious about password management. Here are some great free options.

  Julia: Gotta love how “Pantsuit” is the name for the UI pattern library behind Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

  RC: Ideas and Insights from the Data Team at Automattic is a new blog that gives insight into the data challenges of running’s massive multisite installation.

  Inndy: Un robot qui cuit des muffins.



C'mon over!

Our guest this week is Alexandra Millatmal (@halfghaninNE), coding instructor at Omaha Code School.

In both my personal and professional realms, I spend a great deal of time thinking about race, representation and marginalization, and how I can make my local tech community more welcoming and inclusive.

One way we try to address this at Omaha Code School is by structuring a conversation about the state of the tech industry (and our roles in it as individual developers) into our beginning coding curriculum. Our goal is to make a space for uncomfortable truths and disagreement in that conversation – much like what I see in the "Under Our Skin" project from the Seattle Times.

A particular piece of the project that I enjoy is its commenting feature, which prompts users to select an option describing how the video made them feel and then frame their comment around that feeling. I find a lot of value in thinking about how we can better structure our conversations on race and identity in the United States, and I would love to know if the team found that this approach had an impact on the quality and tone of the comments they received.

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!


The happening things

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 23 - The deadline for submitting talk proposals to the 2017 CAR Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

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!

October 14 - The deadline for applications to the Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship at Cambridge.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

An illustration of a cop pulling his pistol out of its holster, with the text: Unholstered: When Texas Police Pull the Trigger - a project by the Texas Tribune.

The Texas Tribune launched Unholstered, a database of police shootings in Texas. Check outtheir summary of the data, the problems with the data, or download the data to run your own analysis.

NPR's Visuals Team announced version 1.0.0 of Pym.js this week, bringing better support for responsive iframes in a number of Content Management Systems, and introducing a canonical CDN for the script.



Good jobs with good people, doing good work

INN is hiring a program director and an operations manager. is hiring a junior full-stack software developer.

Mississippi Today seeks a database editor.

And Mother Jones is hiring a designer for print and digital work.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, the main INN newsletter had 29 JOB OPENINGS this week. Check it out and sign up here if you'd like to get that in your inbox every week. We'll pretend to not be jealous.


Kick back and relax

LISTEN: Telsa Coil Music presents The Cars ?⚡️?

WATCH: Super Mario World in 81,032 Dominoes. Mesmerizing.

EAT: The best way to grill your Labor Day hot dog.

DRINK: Labor Day marks the end of summer, but it also honors the American labor movement. How about a beer made by organized labor?

It's not a delay of game if the umpire is dancing, too

A looping gif of a segment of a Japanese baseball game. The pitcher, the batter, and the umpire appear to be dancing, because of how the gif loops.

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.

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.

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 52: Break it ’til you make it


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Browse the web like it’s 1999.

  Ben: Version numbers should be Breaking.Feature.Fix, not Major.Minor.Patch.

  David: Photon is effectively Bootstrap for Electron-based desktop apps: It’s the missing link for rapidly integrating common user interface patterns into your HTML5 app.

  Jack: Climate change is global, so why shouldn’t journalism about climate change be global too? And maybe even build a new model of republishing with several dozen newsrooms around the world.

  Kaeti: Finding better color palettes for data visualization.

  Ryan: Elon Musk recently announced plans to host a Hyperloop competition next year at SpaceX headquarters in which competitors are to arrive with fully-functional, half-scale "fifth mode" transportation prototypes for a demo on SpaceX’s test track. Development of this speed-of-sound mass transportation system is well underway with over 300 teams around the world submitting design plans. (h/t ThomasJThoren)

  Bert: No thanks.


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Jonathan Stegall (@jonathanstegall), user experience engineer at MinnPost:

I've been writing CSS for more than a decade, and I usually think I know how to float items next to each other. But I spent more time than I'm comfortable admitting wondering why Chrome wouldn't float two fieldsets next to each other at 50 percent width, and then I ran into this. Min-width to the rescue.


Our projects, manifest

We are so happy to announce the release of Largo 0.5.3!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Adam and Ryan recapped their experience at SNDMakes in Austin.


Good jobs with good people

Chalkbeat is hiring a full-stack engineer.

The Google News Lab Fellowship looks pretty interesting.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: I see the light.

WATCH: And now for a brief intermission...

FOOD: Finally, it's punch season.

Nerd Alert 50: Nerdiversary!


Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of this newsletter. Have you been subscribed that long? Tell us your newsletter stories!


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Last week at SND Makes in Austin, Chris Coyler (of CodePen) blew some minds with his lightning talk on SVG animations. If you’re like me and fairly new at working with SVGs, here are some good tips on creating and exporting them for the web.

  Ben: Creativity is about asking questions.

  David: Jack has been exploring image optimization to keep INN member sites lean and fast. This shell script uses Homebrew and ImageOptim to shrink images using lossless libraries that don’t alter any pixels.

  Jack: After the adblockolypse, revenue for news may have to rely more on voluntary contributions from consumers. How to do this? Maybe make them Tipsy.

  Kaeti: Relevant to my interests: writing CSS on growing teams.

  Ryan: Among PHP’s 5,000+ built-in functions, you’ll find metaphone: a function that can compare two strings to determine how similar they sound.

  Bert: Let's paint some happy little robots.


This week's guest contributor

Our guest this week is Sean Flynn, the integrations developer for and a recovering journalist.

Regular expressions can be both a valuable tool and a serious headache. Netscape developer Jamie Zawinski once said, “Some people, when confronted with a problem, think ‘I know, I'll use regular expressions.’ Now they have two problems.”

Zawinski’s frustrations are common, but there is hope! RegexOne has an interactive tutorial that will teach you the basics of regular expressions, and there are a number of invaluable cheat sheets floating around the internet. Pete Freitag wrote one that I used heavily when I was just starting out.

When you’re ready to graduate from interactive tutorials into daily use, provides a free online regular expression tester, while UltraPico’s Expresso has proven itself as an invaluable (free!) offline regular expression design and testing tool. And if you just want to shake the rust off your regex skills, how about a few rounds of regex golf?

Just don’t try to parse HTML with regular expressions.


Good jobs with good people

St. Louis Public Radio is looking for reporting interns this spring.

Maplight seeks a data editor.

Public Source is hiring an interactives and website developer and two editorial positions.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

The WordPress REST API: An untechnical guide for non-developers.

What is the WordPress REST API? Why is everyone else so excited about it? What can you do with it? From Torque and WPEngine comes a free white paper answering all those questions.

Also, the NPR Visuals Team ran the analytics on their photo slideshow stories.What they found out may surprise you.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: A concert celebrating 25 years of Studio Ghibli.

COOK: Macaroni Grill's rosemary bread.

GIF: Meet Jennifer, the hockey robot learning to ski:

A gif of a knee-high robot with skis and poles, awkwardly propelling itself across a powedery snowpack near a building.

Nerd Alert #46: Cubs Win World Series!

Back to the Future Day feels like the distant past.


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Not a new conversation by any means but a good reminder that traditional articles are not necessarily the best way to format and deliver news. And a bonus: what thinking beyond the article could mean for the news/tech ecosystem.

  Ben: What if HTML elements could change styles based on the element’s size, not the viewport’s? Marc Schmidt’s CSS Element Queries library is a proof-of-concept. How would you use this functionality?

  David: Webfonts have been vital to display crisp icons with small file sizes.This series explores some of the pitfalls.

  Jack: We all know governments can’t do anything right, like providing real time hyperlocal open data and engaging citizens to improve their neighborhoods. OK that’s actually awesome.

  Kaeti: Helpful Sublime Text settings for designers.

  Ryan: "The problem with calendars is that they are additive rather than subtractive." Every time you add a meeting to the calendar, you’re subtracting an hour from someone's life.

  Bert: shoo bee ooo bee doo wop!


This week's guest cotributor

Our guest this week is Meredith Broussard (@merbroussard), who teaches data journalism at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University.

The most remarkable story I read last week was Adrienne LaFrance’s story “Raiders of the Lost Web” in The Atlantic. Look at this great line from the beginning: “You can't count on the web, okay? It’s unstable. You have to know this.” The piece is beautifully written, and it covers the counterintuitive truth about digital archiving: for years, we’ve been told that the Internet is forever. It’s not. I was excited to see this story because I’ve been involved for the past two years with a group of scholars, journalists, and archivists who are thinking about how to archive the many wonderful, technically complex works of digital journalism that are being created every moment. Coincidentally, the same week, we scholars published a special issue of the Newspaper Research Journal in which we explore the many nuances of how media companies are dealing with or might better deal with the “first draft of history” represented by digital journalism. Software preservation is unexpectedly complicated. As digital journalism evolves, archiving the news starts to look more and more like archiving software. I’m delighted that people are starting to think seriously about how we can effectively preserve innovative journalism.


Good jobs with good people

Religion News Service has an immediate opening for a full-time Web Developer.

The Center for Investigative Reporting is hiring an Editor in Chief for Reveal.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is hiring a server administrator/web developer.

The Data News team at WNYC is hiring an Interaction Designer.

Elsewhere in public radio, WBEZ is hiring a number of new roles on their digital team.


Work we admire by our journalism peers

The Texas Tribune takes an immersive look at the new Texas space race.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Rammstein, a cappella.

COOK: Oreo rice. (or, on second thought, maybe don't cook that)

DRINK: The cocktail at the end of the universe.

GIF: So close!