For the second year, the ProPublica News Applications desk has a unique opening for a ten-month-long fellowship as part of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews program. The OpenNews fellow sits with us in our newsroom and works on everything our full-time news apps developers do, from daily graphics to larger apps and open source projects.
When building news apps, good software practices don't go out the window; but something else becomes more important — the content and the story.
Since Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the NSA’s surveillance programs, the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that part of his congressional testimony was “erroneous.” But that’s not the only questionable comment by administration officials.
Today we're announcing a new open-source project that aims to make web scraping simpler. It's named Upton, after labor journalist Upton Sinclair, because the project started as part of our intern investigation.
Upton is a web-scraping framework packaged as a RubyGem. It abstracts away some of the common parts of web scraping so that developers can concentrate on the unique parts of their project.
If you’re a software developer looking to make more of a social impact with your talents, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for you to break into the field of journalism! But what’s it like?
Writing software in a journalistic environment is still pretty new so different newsrooms do it differently, but we’d like to share with you what it’s like to be a news applications developer at ProPublica, why we all love the work we do here, and why we think newsrooms are an exciting place to be right now.
Here’s our list of 10 reasons why programmers should join us and develop for the newsroom:
The recent disclosure of sweeping surveillance by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has prompted a new wave of legal challenges to the U.S. government’s intelligence-gathering programs.
Today we’re releasing a new open source project, which will enable any organization with a DocumentCloud account to do crowdsourcing using documents.
Since we wrapped up our Free the Files project after last year’s U.S. election, many people and organizations have asked us how they could build their own web applications like Free the Files to crowdsource their caches of documents. The full Free the Files codebase is undocumented, a bit messy and isn’t easy to deploy in environments other than our own, so we decided to extract the salient bits into a Rails plugin we’re calling Transcribable.
We as journalists can learn a lot from video games. They can help players explore unfamiliar worlds and experience stories, almost literally, through the eyes of another person. Designed well, video games guide players to feel emotion and conflict, as well as learn the intricacies of complex subjects and systems. They engage users in a highly meaningful, memorable and influential way.
But video games don't require an expensive console system or high-end computer. They can be powered up on our smartphones and on Facebook, and many people who would never call themselves gamers are playing games and getting familiar with how the medium works. And it's not all just escapist fun — there's a community dedicated to exploring how games can be used in education.
As journalists, games can be a great tool for us to use to reach, inform and engage our readers.
ProPublica has created a timeline to appreciate the key moments and often differing aims of the government’s judicial and legislative branches in the ongoing clash over civil rights.
The complaints against Condé Nast, Warner Music and Gawker Media are the latest in a rising tide of lawsuits brought by unpaid interns, many of which are still in progress.
This week’s P5 Resident is Aram Chung.
Aram is currently a dual master’s degree candidate at Columbia University’s joint journalism and computer science program. Aram, who is from Seoul, South Korea, graduated with a degree in mathematical sciences with a minor in industrial design at KAIST in Daejeon, South Korea, where she was also a reporter and editor at the KAIST Herald, the English-language campus monthly newspaper.
Every day I was at the three-day Games For Change conference this week, I learned about new and innovative games built to suit the needs of education and social change. I could have written about almost all of them, but here are four that are especially noteworthy to those of us thinking about building games for news.
Cameras were not present to capture Tiger Woods pulling out of his driving and hitting a fire hydrant, then a tree in 2009, nor to see his wife smash a car window with a golf club and drag Woods out of the vehicle. So to simulate the events of the story, a Taiwanese news service called Next Media Animation created an animated video of the ordeal, complete with shattering glass.
Since then, the company has produced similar videos based on celebrity news and even breaking news. At the time, I thought that these videos might actually catch on, and simulated reality would fill in the gaps when we couldn’t get real video footage. But they didn’t, at least not in the United States.
Yesterday at the Games For Change Festival’s day-two demo session, I saw a game in progress that took animated scenarios to a new level, and it really opened up some ideas for journalism.
If you think about it, positive social impact is a goal that’s similar to ours as journalists. Naturally, as I listened to the diversity of presentations today dedicated to social reach, education, impact and even fighting censorship, I found many lessons that apply to what we’re doing in newsrooms.
FEMA’s released new, preliminary flood insurance maps for New York City, which specify how likely areas are to flood. The new maps, which replace maps that used data from 1983, double the number of structures in flood zones.
The evolution of the National Security Agency’s dragnet under Presidents Bush and Obama.
The sixth ProPublica P5 Resident is Joanna Kao.
While the tools and techniques to present large datasets in graphics and news apps may differ from project to project, the basic design principles stay pretty much the same. Many might pretty familiar – even if you’ve never studied design formally, you probably know some of them instinctively. Let’s name them, explain why they work and see how other designers use them. Once you recognize the concepts, you’ll become more conscious of when and how to use them in your own projects.
We’re looking for the next great News Applications Fellow to work with ProPublica’s world-class news applications desk.
It's a great fellowship for, among others, a coder who's civic-minded and interested in working with journalistic problems and data sets, or a j-school grad who wants to tell stories with code, or a digital humanities student looking to try their skills in journalism. You’ll work side-by-side with the best newsroom developers on the planet, on some of the biggest and most innovative projects in investigative and data journalism. You will leave here a better journalist, a better designer and a better developer.