We pushed out the first version of the Open Journalism site in January. Our goal is for the site to be a place to teach students what they should know about journalism on the web. It should be fun too.
Topics like mapping, security, command line tools, and open source are all concepts that should be made more accessible, and should be easily understood at a basic level by all journalists. We’re focusing on students because we know student journalism well, and we believe that teaching maturing journalists about the web will provide them with an important lens to view the world with. This is how we got to where we are now.
In late 2011 I sat in the design room of our university’s student newsroom with some of the other editors: Kate Hudson, Brent Rose, and Nicholas Maronese. I was working as the photo editor then—something I loved doing. I was very happy travelling and photographing people while listening to their stories.
Photography was my lucky way...
npm install get-headlines -g (or without -g global flag)
Most projects I build come from a question, or a few. While part of the excuse of doing this project was to get more familiar with working with node and scraping data, I also wanted to help answer these questions:
- What tools can we build to make people more aware of the world around them?
- What info would be helpful to give a reader to fill in their gaps of awareness?
- What info exists already that we can use?
Ask, then build
I ended up focusing on local news for the following reasons: If an individual is to look at major news sites, for example BBC or the Globe and Mail, their top headlines are usually the same major international stories. There is little to glean about an actual geographical region and it’s pulse unless we start to look at what’s being written in subsets (local) news headlines.
While building this tool I also became aware of how...
You can see a live version of this project here: pippinlee.com/drive-dashboard
This project started with a friend sending me ~51,000 points of data. He’d just bought an adapter that allowed him to start collecting the driving data his car’s computer was producing. Car’s have had computers built into them for quite a while, but only recently has their data become more thorough. The third-party market for accessories for accessing this information has also exploded.
There are also a growing number of products, like Eric Evenchick’s CANtact, that give car owner’s more control over their car’s internal computers.
Most of the work of making data useful is asking the right questions, which leads to being able to build a helpful interface. Along with avoiding chartjunk, filtering out many of the data points was...
One, to many
“You know I never finished university. I’d even tell you, you don’t need university.”
These are the few words I remember from a chance encounter with the critically-minded Cory Doctorow last year while attending a discussion on media at UofT. I don’t remember the actual discussion too much but those words seem to have stuck in my head. It’s been over a year since the event but as the humour in fate would have it, I have decided to take a year off. Not as Cory suggested, leave, but take a year off.
Let’s pause for a second to mention my honest excitement towards academia. This statement isn’t a play to my brave parents or the faculty I’ve had the chance to work with. I honestly believe there’s huge value placed in the research and findings done at the academic level. In fact the small outside of school research project I co-founded, Open Journalism, hinted to me the power of understanding complex problems that meet at the intersection of social, and technological change....