Some data resources

As many of you know, I have been thinking about this idea of programmer/journalist or journalist/developer or techno-journalist for quite some time.  I’m even applying for a Knight News Challenge Grant to move things forward at TX State in this area. Regardless of whether we get this grant or not, this is the direction I want to push us in. I think there is a great opportunity to carve a strong niche in this field.

I’ve been gathering up some resources around the Web:

Mindy McAdams, Knight Chair at Univ. of Florida, has some good posts on her blog:

Some of the Media Shift articles written by Rich Gordon about their experience at Medill with having programmers in the Journalism Master’s program.

Rich’s most recent post deals with Agile development and journalism – some very astute observations here.

Amy Gahran has some good observations in response as well. But, I feel that there is a subset of journalists that get turned on by the geeky stuff. We need to engage them.

The Medill team’s blog, known as Crunchberry. They’ve done a fantastic job documenting their processes for creating data-driven news presentations.

Like many out there, I’m torn as to which framework I should teach. I am reviewing Ruby on Rails vs. Django.  I took a Ruby class at ONA this past September, so I am leaning in that direction, but I am in the process of trying both.  Here are some resources for this topic:

Adrian Holovaty, Django developer, on Rails podcast

Some Rails vs. Django resources

Charles O’Keefe’s blog posts comparing Ruby and Django – 5 parts

Agile Web Development With Rails book – free book by Adrian Holovaty and Jacob Kaplan-Moss (Investigative Reporters and Editors) – has some great seminars

Presentation on Database-driven Journalism – Lawrence Journal World

Holovaty and Saila – presentation at Web Directions, Old Media, New Technology

And, I plan to spend quite a bit of my Christmas vacation on  This is really fun stuff, and a very fruitful area for both practice and research. I know from experience that if journalism students have the proper instruction, they get energized by this type of work. Technology is about communication and communication is about technology. That’s what it’s all about these days.

More discussion and resources to come on this.



  1. Rich said

    If you’re looking for something that has a slight editorial/journalistic tinge to it, Django is it. I think the Django learning curve is a little more shallow — and the admin for non-technical users is so beautiful, you’ll just die.

    Like all things, it largely depends on your needs, but I find that I probably don’t need to know as much Python for Django as I would Ruby for Ruby on Rails. The Google Code apps are enticing. I’ve been a journalist trucking on Django for about two years, so if you have questions, I’m around.

  2. […] lot of opportunity to create a niche for ourselves in this area.  Here are some more resources to augment my first post, things I’ll be reading over the next few […]

RSS feed for comments on this post

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: