Al Shaw

Deputy Editor, News Apps

Photo of Al Shaw

Al Shaw is a deputy editor on the news apps team at ProPublica. He uses data and interactive graphics to cover environmental issues, natural disasters and politics.

A year before Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Shaw was part of a team that produced “Hell and High Water,” which warned of the region's vulnerability to coastal storms. The project won a Peabody Award in 2017. Shaw's project, “Losing Ground,” about the century-long erosion of Louisiana's coast won a Gold Medal from the Society for News Design. His interactive maps surrounding FEMA's response to Hurricane Sandy were honored with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award. Before joining ProPublica, Shaw was a designer/developer at the political news website Talking Points Memo.

Facebook for News Apps: How We Harnessed the Social Network for ‘The Opportunity Gap’

Embracing 'behavior design'—coupled with our preference for keeping our apps light on database writes—spurred us to integrate Facebook for our news app in a deeper way than we’ve done before.

The Opportunity Gap

ProPublica analyzed new data from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights along with other federal education data to examine whether states provide students equal access.

TimelineSetter: Easy Timelines From Spreadsheets, Now Open to All

Last week we announced TimelineSetter, our new tool for creating beautiful interactive HTML timelines. Today, after a short private beta with some of our fellow news application developers, we’re opening the code to everyone.

Timeline: How One Blast Affected Five Soldiers

TimelineSetter: A New Way to Display Timelines on the Web

As far as we know, there are no good open source frameworks that web developers can use to generate timelines quickly without losing design flexibility. So we made our own.

FOIA b(3) Exemptions

Information about watermelon handlers, avocado importers and caves are some of the categories of information that have been withheld from federal Freedom of Information Act requesters using sections of laws that are otherwise unrelated to disclosure. There are hundreds of such laws, according to data compiled by the Sunshine in Government Initiative. They fall under number three -- known as b(3) -- of the nine exemptions. Use our database to see how extensively agencies use b(3) exemptions.

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