Skill building to help journos become hacker-journalists

ProPublica, already a leader in investigative nonprofit news, announced the News Applications Fellowship today. This is huge. It is specifically targeted at journalists with an interest in, and facility for, becoming app developers. ProPublica will mentor the fellow and teach him/her how to build apps as a way of testing a hypothesis: "Can a smart, technical journalist with excellent and proven skills in other nerdy newsroom disciplines like graphics and CAR become a news app developer?" I can't think of another opportunity like this, which is targeted at the journalist side of the hacker-journalist hybrid.

Something that comes up a lot at techie meetups is that it can be difficult for beginners to get a real start in web development.

Data, data everywhere: Hacks/Hackers Philly meetup 2

Thanks to everyone who attended our second meetup on data tools and brainstorming for Random Hacks of Kindness.

We began with some mingling and free pizza. It was really encouraging to hear all the enthusiasm for this group as everyone introduced themselves. We also welcomed Dave Merrell of as a co-organizer of the group with me (Erika) and Dana Bauer of Azavea.

For the lightning talks we went from a tool to help you access data (ScraperWiki) to a tool to help make sense of messy data (Google Refine) to a tool to display data (Google Fusion Tables).

Guiding principles: useful, informative, responsive

Every day I make dozens of small decisions about what I think constitutes excellent nonprofit journalism. We all do. Editors, writers, readers, all of us. We decide what work we value with our time. What we ignore.

In that decision-making, we prioritize some principles over others. I prioritize journalism that is: useful, informative, and responsive. Luckily, this work can also create new fundraising opportunities.