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The ProPublica Nerd Blog

NEW MAP!
NEW GRAPHIC!

Housing Segregation: The Great Migration and Beyond

Explore the great migration of African Americans from 1940 to 2000 and segregation in Northern cities.

NEW GRAPHIC!

What Kind of Body Scanner Does Your Airport Have?

Nearly 100 backscatter scanners were removed from major airports recently to speed up lines. See if they’re still in use at your airport.

New Year’s Resolution: Learn to Code

A year ago I didn't know how to code. I had a journalism degree and had made some graphics, but I would have been hard-pressed to explain the difference between Ruby and JavaScript, and I was pretty happy when I got the YouTube video to embed correctly. I considered myself pretty technical but generally avoided the command line.

When I did start learning, I was amazed by how much was out there: introductory videos, explanatory blog posts, tips and tricks and step-by-step guides. If you're a journalist who wants to make a news app or a student interested in learning to code, you have plenty of paths to choose from.

Use Our Nursing Home Inspect Widget on Your Site

Nursing Home Inspect

We’ve updated our app with new data and a new design, making it easier to find nursing home problems in your state.

Why (and How) We Use Creative Commons for Our Stories

Anatomy of a News Map

A little over a month ago, Al Shaw and I made an interactive map of the “Great Migration” of African Americans from the rural south to northern cities during the 20th century. The housing discrimination suffered by African Americans in their new cities led to calls for reforms, resulting in the Fair Housing Act of 1968. But as the fantastic reporting by ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones shows, the federal Housing and Urban Development agency has fallen short of its requirement to take affirmative steps to curb segregation in America’s cities and provide fair housing for everybody.

To accompany the story we wanted to make a map showing the Great Migration itself. We also decided early on that it would be the lead art for the article.

Pair Programming Participant #2: Ricardo Brom

The second participant in ProPublica's Pair Programming Project is Ricardo Brom from La Nación in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

New Open Source Project: Daybreak, a Simple Key/Value Database for Ruby

Pipeline Safety Tracker

Every year the nation’s oil and natural gas pipelines suffer hundreds of ruptures and spills. We map major pipeline accidents from 1986 to the present.

P5 Project Application

Pair Programming Participant #1: Julius Troeger

On Monday the first participant in the ProPublica Pair Programming Project started. He is Julius Troeger from Germany.

How Much Did Independent Groups Spend Per Vote?

Although an unprecedented amount was spent by outside groups in an effort to influence the 2012 campaign, the candidates with the most super PAC funding were defeated Tuesday. Here’s a look at how much outside groups spent per vote in a few of the notable races.

Election Day Interactives We’re Watching

Here's a list of amazing interactive election day projects our colleagues at other organizations have launched.

Message Machine: Tracking Political Targeting

Political campaigns send many variations of each email to supporters. We’ve been collecting emails from political campaigns and tracking the variations. You can be a part of this project by forwarding political emails you get to emails@messagemachine.propublica.org.

How ProPublica’s Message Machine Reverse Engineers Political Microtargeting

ProPublica has been collecting political emails for a project we call the Message Machine, with the help of more than 600 readers who have shared demographic information with us and who have so far forwarded us more than 30,000 political emails. The Message Machine identifies and classifies many different emails as different variations of a single email blast, to highlight and analyze the ways in which campaigns use their sizable databases to customize their messages based on what they know about each recipient.

We’ve been publishing our collection for a few months, and today we are publishing the latest results of our analysis. The Machine uses techniques from Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to analyze every email our readers forward to it.

Introducing a Free the Files API

Get a Free the Files Widget

Our Free the Files project is tracking political ad spending in 33 battleground television markets around the country.

Want to track how many files have been freed around the country or in your market? Use this form to generate a custom widget to put on your site. Fill in how wide you'd like the widget to be (we suggest 300 pixels), and select either "All Markets" or a specific market from the dropdown menu. Then click "Get Code." Copy and paste the code in the box below into your site. This widget will automatically stay up to date as we track political TV spending through the election.

Free the Files: Help ProPublica Unlock Political Ad Spending

Outside groups are spending millions of dollars hoping to influence political campaigns – but they’re hard to track down. Detailed information about spending is locked in documents filed at TV stations across the country. Help us uncover this spending by reviewing documents.

The News Apps Team

Hack With Us

ProPublica hosts newsroom developers -- or developers who want to see what it's like to work in news -- for 3-5 day job shadowing residencies called the ProPublica Pair Programming Project, or P5.

Download Our Data

Use ProPublica's data -- cleaned, categorized and often created from multiple sources -- in your reporting and research.

Use Our Code

Explore Our Work