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June 09 2010

14:19

Software project/product management training for newsroom managers/editors?

As journalists learn programming and programmers learn journalism and then go to work in newsrooms, shouldn't there also be a parallel movement to offer newsroom managers/editors training in managing the creation of software, which is a role that's going to be a natural result of the journo-hacker thing?

Seems it would benefit both the newsroom editors/managers and the programmers they supervise if the managers had at least passing familiarity with concepts such as Hofstadter's' Law, the virtues of a programmer, extreme programming and most importantly The Mythical Man-Month.

I mean, it just seems to me that the skill set of managing/editing the creation of story and image content on deadline is very different than that for managing the creation (and maintenance!) of Web software on deadline.

Does anyone know if the Poynter/Nieman/Knight Digital Media Center of the world offer such? Or if they've ever?

June 08 2010

23:07

Software product management training for newsroom managers/editors?

As journalists learn programming and programmers learn journalism and then go to work in newsrooms, shouldn't there also be a parallel movement to offer newsroom managers/editors training in managing the creation of software, which is a role that's going to be a natural result of the journo-hacker thing?

Seems it would benefit both the newsroom editors/managers and the programmers they supervise if the managers had at least passing familiarity with concepts such as Hofstadter's' Law, the virtues of a programmer, extreme programming and most importantly The Mythical Man-Month.

Does anyone know if the Poynter/Nieman/Knight Digital Media Center of the world offer such? Or if they've ever?

June 04 2010

18:23

How a Test Suite Can Help Your Open Source Project Grow

At CityCircles, we've been fortunate to work with a local developer who is passionate about our project's goal of developing hyper-local communication tools for mass audiences. Our first implementation of that is a platform for light rail passengers in Phoenix, Arizona.

That said, one person can't carry the entire load, especially as the project inevitably evolves from its humble beginnings and wire frames.

One solution that's worth considering is sinking some funds into a test suite -- a closed environment where other developers who share a vision for the project can develop new features with the approval of the "master" developer. This is the approach we recently took with CityCircles.

Test Suite

In March, we contracted with a local development shop called Integrum Technologies to build a test suite. The project is connected to our code base and includes simulated tasks that other developers can build toward and "test." If these features pass muster in the test suite, then we can push those changes to our code base permanently. If they do not, then the developer can tweak them until they do without ruining the live site.

The test suite took almost three weeks to build and cost us roughly $9,500. (That may seem pricey to some, but good Ruby on Rails developers are not cheap. In our case, Integrum specializes in test suites.) However, for startups, this is a very helpful option for reaching goals of new features and functions on a budget. Open-source software developers that are looking for a "portfolio" piece and are attracted to the project's mission can participate at a fraction of the cost to the project. In return, they receive publicity and, in some cases, a promise of future paid work. The idea is that everyone wins.

Once your test suite is completed, start poking around your local area for developer meetups. Go online and subscribe to developer forums and Google groups. In our case, the project is built in Ruby on Rails. I have joined the Rails community's leading Google Group with the intent of marketing this test suite to developers.

I've also been invited to attend Integrum's weekly "hacknight" meetup in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. Tomorrow night, I'll be there to spread the gospel of the project and hope that our handy test suite attracts the right crew.

Use these test suites to your advantage, as simulators like them can also help create an organic "buzz" around the project as well. Include the developers' names on the open-source software license, too. That will also help.

But be mindful of the pitfalls. Just as there are several developers that may want to participate, they may not have the chops to complete the work in a timely or accurate manner. It helps to have a strong master developer to sign off on their work.

June 02 2010

20:42

Why Journalists Should Learn Computer Programming

Yes, journalists should learn how to program. No, not every journalist should learn it right now -- just those who want to stay in the industry for another ten years. More seriously, programming skills and knowledge enable us traditional journalists to tell better and more engaging stories.

Programming means going beyond learning some HTML. I mean real computer programming.

As a journalist, I'm full aware of the reasons why we don't learn programming -- and I'm guilty of using many of them. I initially thought there were good reasons not to take it up:

  • Learning to program is time-consuming. One look at the thick books full of arcane code and you remember why you became a journalist and not a mathematician or an engineer. Even if you are mathematically inclined, it's tough to find the time to learn all that stuff.
  • Your colleagues tell you you don't need it -- including the professional developers on staff. After all, it took them years of study and practice to become really good developers and web designers, just like it takes years for a journalist to become experienced and knowledgeable. (And, if you start trying to code, the pros on staff are the ones who'll have to clean up any mess you make.)
  • Learning the basics takes time, as does keeping your skills up to date. The tools change all the time. Should you still bother to learn ActionScript (Flash), or just go for HTML5? Are you sure you want to study PHP and not Python?
  • Why learn programming when there are so many free, ready-made tools online: Quizzes, polls, blogs, mind maps, forums, chat tools, etc. You can even use things like Yahoo Pipes to build data mashups without needing any code.
  • When Megan Taylor wrote for MediaShift about the programmer-journalist, she asked around for the perfect skillset. One response nearly convinced me to never think about programming ever again: "Brian Boyer, a graduate of Medill's journalism for programmers master's track and now News Applications Editor at the Chicago Tribune, responded with this list: XHTML / CSS / JavaScript / jQuery / Python / Django / xml / regex / Postgres / PostGIS / QGIS."

Those are some of the reasons why I thought I could avoid learning programming. But I was so wrong.

Why Journalists Should Program

You've heard the reasons not to start coding. Now here's a list of reasons why you should:

  • Every year, the digital universe around us becomes deeper and more complex. Companies, governments, organizations and individuals are constantly putting more data online: Text, videos, audio files, animations, statistics, news reports, chatter on social networks...Can professional communicators such as journalists really do their job without learning how the digital world works?
  • Data are going mobile and are increasingly geo-located. As a result, they tell the stories of particular neighborhoods and streets and can be used to tell stories that matter in the lives of your community members.
  • People have less time, and that makes it harder to grab their attention. It's essential to look for new narrative structures. Programming enables you to get interactive and tell non-linear stories.

Jquerylogo copy.jpg

  • You don't have to build everything from scratch. Let's take JavaScript, which is used for creating dynamic websites. Tools such as jQuery, a cross-browser JavaScript library, enable people to create interactivity with less effort. Web application frameworks such as Ruby on Rails and Django support the development of dynamic sites and applications. So it can be easier than you thought.

A Way of Looking At the World

Maybe you're not yet convinced. Even though jQuery makes your life easier, you still need a decent knowledge of JavaScript, CSS and HTML. Django won't help you if you never practiced Python. All of this takes time, and maybe you'll never find enough of it to get good at all this stuff.

Still, we must try. The good news is that it doesn't matter if you become proficient at the latest language. What is important, however, is that you're able to comprehend the underpinnings of programming and interactivity -- to be able to look at the world with a coder's point of view.

I'm still just a beginner, but I feel that this perspective provides you with an acute awareness of data. You start looking for data structures, for ways to manipulate data (in a good sense) to make them work for your community.

When covering a story, you'll think in terms of data and interactivity from the very start and see how they can become part of the narrative. You'll see data everywhere -- from the kind that floats in the air thanks to augmented reality, to the more mundane version contained in endless streams of status updates. Rather than being intimidated by the enormous amount of data, you'll see opportunities -- new ways to bring news and information to the community.

You probably won't have time to actually do a lot of the programming and data structuring yourself. But now you're equipped to have a valuable and impactful conversation with your geek colleagues. A conversation that gets better results than ever before.

So, even though it's probably a bit late for me to attend the new joint Master of Science degree program in Computer Science and Journalism at Columbia University, I can still learn How to Think Like a Computer Scientist using the the free MIT OpenCourseWare, take part in the Journalists/Coders Ning network, and find help at Help.HacksHackers.Com).

And so can you.

******

Are you a journalist who has taken up programming? A programmer with advice for journalists? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments.

Roland Legrand is in charge of Internet and new media at Mediafin, the publisher of leading Belgian business newspapers De Tijd and L'Echo. He studied applied economics and philosophy. After a brief teaching experience, he became a financial journalist working for the Belgian wire service Belga and subsequently for Mediafin. He works in Brussels, and lives in Antwerp with his wife Liesbeth.

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May 29 2010

04:58

Ideas or Examples of NoSQL for News?

Normally, I like my data structured, and that tends to mean some flavor of SQL. But I've been seeing glimpses of NoSQL popping up lately and I'm wondering if anyone here can share a few good uses of NoSQL in the newsroom. A few I've seen:

What else is out there? And what code can you share?

May 22 2010

17:12

How can a news and content platform build a great API

What are some of the characteristics that would make a great news platform API?

May 21 2010

08:47

May 17 2010

10:13

Developers and journalists forging common ground

Back in April 2009 I listened as a group of bloggers at the G20 protests in London sent in reports using the new Audioboo iPhone application. The rules of the game are clearly changing fast, I thought.

The application allows users to record and upload high-quality sound files in an instant. In the same way that a photo of a plane floating in the Hudson river circumvented traditional channels and made its way around the world online, journalists (including Guardian staff) and bloggers on the ground were able to instantly upload reports on the unfolding activity with the immediacy and colour of front-line reports. I happened to be home ill that day and listened to the action with fascination. Then a contact from ABC News in the States contacted me via Twitter asking me if I knew any of the reporting bloggers and to pass on the direct number of the ABC newsroom. It was quick, energised and direct, and I was immediately hooked.

On the surface, the domain of the journalist and the developer seem poles apart. Journalists trace and shape stories, uncover information, and on a good day bring hidden truths to light. Developers build tools, marshal data and on a good day make the impossible possible. But a convergence is taking place that will ultimately rewrite the rulebook for both camps. Journalists have long been sifting and filtering forbidding mountains of data, looking for a story in the noise. Now they are going further, familiarising themselves with the tools to cohere and present this data, adapting to remain relevant in the new digital space. Developers in turn are doing far more than pushing data around. With rich social media tools and networks available to all, they are starting to report, telling stories with code and changing the way people in the online world relate, work and communicate. It’s a vast social experiment taking place in the production environment of the real world.

Back in March of this year, a small group of developers and journalists met in a pub in Islington to explore this overlap between coding and journalism in an intensely pragmatic fashion – the former teaching the latter the rudiments of web programming over a few beers. Ruby In The Pub was born.

A few days before, I overheard an online conversation between Joanna Geary of the Times and self-proclaimed ‘relapsed blogger’ James Ball. They were discussing the possibility of starting a regular event to get developers and journalists together. They touted Ruby as a possible language and with a speed typical of events incubated in social media circles the venue was sourced and the date decided.

As a Ruby developer (with the penchant for the odd beer) I immediately decided to attend and offer whatever support I could. The first event was warm and freestyle in nature, and the second drew a significantly larger group to the Shooting Star in Spitalfields, including the lead developer of the New York Times. One whole side of the pub was taken over by laptops and energised conversation. Due to the spotty wifi, I hardly managed any teaching at all, but became engaged in a wider discussion around journalism, the digital arena, and the changing media landscape.

Like that difficult third album, the next meet-up will probably define the future of this freestyle session. Ideas will gain traction, people will gravitate to familiar faces or pick up on projects that have been discussed. Karen Barber of Audioboo will be in attendance and has already taken up my offer of help on a project she has been kicking around for a while. We’ll get a drink, sit down, and start building it, responding to feedback from newbies and experienced hackers as we do so. Along the way, the communication channels between both sides will be strengthened and clarified and, what with all the activity on Twitter around the event, feelers of energy will spread out and spark up satellite meetings.

In fact, this has already happened. Paul Bradshaw, a journalist who teaches the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham University, has already activated the wonderfully-named Ruby Tuesday up North and hopefully we’ll see a lot more. In a series of regular posts I will attempt to cover the process as it unfolds, as well as looking at the wider interface between word and code.

There’s no end to this journey, it’s a vibrant buzz of collaboration and exploration. Why not join us?

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May 13 2010

08:48

Poynter Online: How to get data from websites ‘without programming skills’

It’s not enough to copy those numbers into a story; what differentiates reporters from consumers is our ability to analyse data and spot trends. To make data easier to access, reorganise and sort, those figures must be pulled into a spreadsheet or database. The mechanism to do this is called web scraping, and it’s been a part of computer science and information systems work for years.

It often takes a lot of time and effort to produce programs that extract the information, so this is a specialty. But what if there was a tool that didn’t require programming?

Michelle Minkoff offers a simple guide for journalists who want to learn how to scrape data from websites, but don’t know how to start, using OutWit Hub – an extension for the Firefox browser.

Full post at this link…

Yesterday Journalism.co.uk attended a Digital Editors Network meeting to discuss data for journalism and journalists – more to follow on Journalism.co.uk

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April 21 2010

05:22

What's your ideal news apps/interactive team?

Some folks on this list have teams of developers, some teams include journalists, some include designers. So, given the range of skills that could be useful, what would you include in an ideal mix? And what's a good size for a news apps/interactive team?

April 20 2010

03:10

Start a news hack wiki?

Anyone interested in creating a wiki focused on hacks and processes specifically for online news production and CAR? The topic pages could cover things like web-scraping, "How to turn a spreadsheet of names/lat/lngs into a embeddable Google map", or scraping a PDF. I tried out wikia but all the javascript and colors scared me.

April 09 2010

14:00

This Week in Review: The iPad has landed, WikiLeaks moves toward journalism, and net neutrality is hit

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week’s top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

The iPad unleashed: If you’ve been anywhere near a computer or TV this week, it’s not hard to determine what this week’s top journalism/new media story is: Apple’s iPad hit stores Saturday, with 450,000 sold as of Thursday. I’ll spare you the scores of reviews, and we’ll jump straight to the bigger-picture and journalism-related stuff. There’s a ton to get to here, so if you’re interested in the bite-sized version, read Cory Doctorow and Howard Weaver on closed media consumption, Kevin Anderson on app pricing, and Alan Mutter and Joshua Benton on news app design.

If you’re looking for the former, The New York Times and the current issue of Wired have thoughts on the iPad and tablets’ technological and cultural impact from a total of 19 people, mostly tech types. We also saw the renewal of several of the discussions that were percolating the weeks before the iPad’s arrival: New media expert Jeff Jarvis and open-web activist Cory Doctorow took up similar arguments that the iPad is a retrograde device because it’s based around media consumption rather than creation, strangling development and making a single company our personal technology gatekeepers. In responses to Jarvis and Doctorow respectively, hyperlocal journalist Howard Owens and former McClatchy exec Howard Weaver defended those “consumers,” countering that not everybody consumes media like tech critics do — most people are primarily consumers, and that’s OK.

Meanwhile, two other writers made, judging from their pieces’ headlines, an almost identical point: The iPad is not going to save the news or publishing industries. Leaning heavily on Jeff Jarvis, The Huffington Post’s Jose Antonio Vargas made the consumption argument, saying that consumers want to tweak, question and pass around their content, not just passively consume it. And Harvard Business Review editor Paul Michelman contended that publishers are trying to retrofit their media onto this new one.

News business expert Alan Mutter and Poynter blogger Damon Kiesow offered some tips for publishers who do want to succeed on the iPad: Mutter wrote a thorough and helpful breakdown of designing for print, the web and mobile media, concluding, “Publishers who want to take full advantage of the iPad will have to do better by creating content that is media-rich, interactive, viral, transactional and mobile.” Kiesow told news orgs to consider what the iPad will be down the road as they design.

There was also quite a bit written about news organizations’ iPad apps, most of it not exactly glowing. Damon Kiesow provided a helpful list of journalism-related apps, finding that not surprisingly, most of the top selling ones are free. The high prices of many news orgs’ apps drew an inspired rant from British journalist Kevin Anderson in which he called the pricing “a last act of insanity by delusional content companies.” Poynter’s Bill Mitchell took a look at early critical comments by users about high prices and concluded that by not explaining themselves, publishers are leaving it to the crowd to make up their own less-than-charitable explanations for their moves.

As for specific apps, Poynter’s Mallary Jean Tenore was wowed by USA Today’s top-selling app, the Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum compared The New York Times’ and Wall Street Journal’s apps, and news industry analyst Ken Doctor looked at the Journal’s iPad strategy. Finally, the Nieman Journalism Lab’s Joshua Benton found three intriguing news-navigation design ideas while browsing news orgs’ iPad apps: Story-to-story navigation, pushing readers straight past headlines, and the “cyberclaustrophobia” of The New York Times’ Editors’ Choice app.

Is WikiLeaks a new form of journalism?: On Monday, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks posted video of civilians being killed by a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad in 2007. In a solid explanation of the situation, The New York Times’ Noam Cohen and Brian Stelter noted that with the video, WikiLeaks is making a major existential shift by “edging closer toward a form of investigative journalism and to advocacy.”

Others noticed the journalistic implications as well, with Jonathan Stray of Foreign Policy wondering whether WikiLeaks is pioneering a new, revolutionary avenue for sourcing outside the confines of traditional media outlets. On Twitter, Dan Gillmor posited that a key part of WikiLeaks’ ascendancy is the fact that unlike traditional news orgs, it doesn’t see itself as a gatekeeper, and C.W. Anderson declared the video and an analysis of it by a former helicopter pilot “networked journalism.” If you want to know more about WikiLeaks itself, Mother Jones has plenty of background in a detailed feature.

Net neutrality takes a hit: In the tech world, the week’s big non-iPad story came on Tuesday, when a federal judge allowed Internet service providers some ability to slow down or regulate traffic on their network. It was a huge blow to proponents of net neutrality, or the belief that all web use should be free of restrictions or institutional control. The FCC has tried for years to impose net neutrality standards on ISPs, so it’s obviously a big setback for them, too.

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNET all have solid summaries of the case and its broader meaning, and The Washington Post takes a look at the FCC’s options in the wake of the ruling. I haven’t seen anyone directly tie this case to journalism, though it obviously has major implications for who controls the future of the web, which in turn will influence what news organizations do there. And as Dan Gillmor notes, this isn’t just a free-speech issue; it’s also about the future of widespread broadband, something that has been mentioned in the past (including by Gillmor himself) as a potentially key piece of the future-of-news puzzle.

Murdoch rattles more sabers: As his media holdings continue to prepare to put up paywalls around their online content (The Times of London was the recent announcement), Rupert Murdoch made another public appearance this week in which he bashed search engines, free online news sites and The New York Times. There is one thing he likes about technology, though: The iPad, which he said “may well be the saving of the newspaper industry.” Staci Kramer of paidContent astutely notes that Murdoch’s own statements about charging for content imply that it will only work if virtually every news org does it. Meanwhile, Australian writer Eric Beecher argues that Murdoch’s money-losing newspapers subsidize the power and influence that the rest of his media empire thrives on.

In other paid-content news, the Chicago Reader has an informative profile of the interesting startup Kachingle, which allow users to pay a flat fee to read a number of sites, then designate how much of their money goes where and trumpet to their friends where they’re reading. Also The New Republic put a partial paywall up, and newspaper chain Freedom Communications took its test paywall down.

Reading roundup: I’ve got a pretty large collection of items for you this week, starting with a couple of bits of news and finishing with several interesting pieces to read.

Columbia University announced a new dual-degree master’s program in journalism and computer science. Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired has a deeper look at the program’s plans to produce hacker-journalists who can be pioneers in data visualization and analysis and device-driven design, along with a couple of brutally honest quotes from Columbia faculty about the relative paucity of computing skills among even “tech-savvy journalists.” Just about everybody loved the idea of the program, though journalist/developer Chris Amico cautioned that more than just dual-degree journalists need to be hanging out with the computer scientists.  ”The problem isn’t just a lack of reporters who can code, but a shortage of people in the newsroom who know what’s possible,” he wrote.

Down the road, this may be seen as a turning point: Demand Media, which has been derided lately as a “content farm” will create and run a new travel section for USA Today. As Advertising Age points out, USA Today isn’t the first newspaper to get content from Demand Media — the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gets a travel article a week — but this is collaboration of an entirely new scale.

Now the think pieces: Here at the Lab, former newspaper exec Martin Langeveld updated his year-old post asserting that more than 95 percent of readership of newspaper content is in print rather than online, and while the numbers changed a bit, his general finding did not.

In an interview with Poynter, Newser’s Michael Wolff had some provocative words for news orgs, telling them readers want stories online with less context, not more (as several folks asserted a few weeks ago at SXSW) and saying he would’ve told newspapers way back when not to go on the web at all: “[Online readers'] experiences have changed and their needs have changed, and I just don’t think traditional news companies are in a position to really understand that kind of change or to speak to it or to deliver it.”

At The Atlantic, Lane Wallace wrote that journalists’ (especially veterans’) strongest bias is not political, but is instead an predetermined assumption of a story line that prevents them from seeing the entire picture.

And lastly, two great academically oriented musings on media and society: Memphis j-prof Carrie Brown-Smith wonders if social media furthers our cultural knowledge gap, and University of Southern Denmark professor Thomas Pettitt talks to the Lab’s Megan Garber about the Gutenberg Parenthesis and society’s return to orally based communication with digital media. Both are great food for thought.

January 19 2010

07:59
07:57

December 02 2009

18:22

How Programmer/Journalists Craft Their Own Study Programs

After writing about the skills a journalist/programmer might need, I thought it would be interesting to see what college students are learning. For the most part, journalism education has not caught up with the innovations taking place in the industry. Many programs don't offer more than an introduction to working with the web, so some students have to teach themselves.

Remember the sidewalk scene from "Reservoir Dogs" that showed a group of tough guys walking down the street? They're all out to do the same thing, but none of them are what you'd expect. The same seems true for aspiring programmer/journalists.

I spoke to six college students who are combining self-taught programming with elements of journalism education. Most work at their student papers, but only two are journalism majors. These students are putting what they know and love together in ways their formal education -- and in some ways the industry as a whole -- hasn't caught up with yet.

Max Cutler

Max Cutler is a junior at Yale University, majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

Although he doesn't have a background in journalism, he has been a freelance web developer since 2003, and is now the online development manager for the Yale Daily News. Cutler is in charge of creating and maintaining new features for the website.

During an interview, Cutler told me that he got involved at the Daily News because he was interested in doing more creative, unique projects. To that end, he has worked on Courant News, an online publishing platform for college news organizations built with Django, the Python framework that has become popular in the programmer/journalist niche.

His work on Courant News also got him involved with CoPress, an organization that provides support for online college media innovation.

Cutler's web skills are self-taught; he learned by finding like-minded groups online and working on various projects. He's picked up Flash development, PHP, Java and C.

"Once you learn a couple languages, you can pick up new ones pretty easily," Cutler said.

Albert Sun

albertsun_s150.jpgAlbert Sun is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in mathematics and economics.

His interest in journalism (despite his majors, which he says confuse everyone) is in how information gets from one place to another.

He worked at The Daily Pennsylvanian (Penn's student paper) as a reporter and then as the web editor-in-chief, and just completed an internship at the Wall Street Journal.

Sun learned to program in middle school.

"I had a really boring French class and started programming on my calculator," Sun said. He is also mostly self-taught, although he has had a few classes in theory and algorithms at Penn. He has experience with PHP, Python, ActionScript 3 and Java.

Sun is also a member of CoPress.

Andrew Spittle

andrewspittle_s150.jpgAndrew Spittle is a senior at Whitman College, majoring in politics.

He recently became interested in journalism when he applied for the web manager position at The Pioneer, Whitman College's weekly student newspaper.

"I kind of lucked into the job with some minimal knowledge and used it as a way to build my experience and start experimenting with things," Spittle said. "I've also been working with CoPress since late Spring."

Though Spittle is largely a "front-end guy," meaning he works with (X)HTML, CSS and Javascript, he has also done a lot of custom work with WordPress, is learning PHP, and is also teaching himself how to develop applications for the iPhone.

"I think that in many ways being a Swiss Army Knife-type is more important than knowing one thing or language," Spittle said.

Whitman is in a liberal arts college, so there aren't any programming classes offered. Spittle learns through trial and error, and by reading lots of online documentation. He's interested in the intersection of programming, design, and information.

"I would be interested in working on app and site teams," Spittle said. "The reporting aspect of journalism doesn't interest me as much as designing an experience and presentation for the information."

Daniel Bachhuber

danielbachhuber_s150.jpgDaniel Bachhuber is currently taking time off from college, interning with Publish2, a company that creates tools for collaboration and linking, and running the business of CoPress, of which he is the executive director.

Bachhuber is almost completely self-taught. He took a high school course in C++, and also uses PHP. He wants to learn Python and has been looking at ActionScript and Flex as well.

He learns by working on projects and picking up the core concepts along the way. His interest in programming comes from a "desire to make something cool happen," he said during an interview.

One of his recent projects, EditFlow, is a WordPress plugin for user and workflow management.

Will Davis

willdavis_s150.jpgWill Davis is a sophomore at the University of Maine, majoring in journalism.

He helped start a newspaper in high school and learned PHP in order to build the website. Davis served as the online editor and is now the executive editor of The Maine Campus. He also works with CoPress, and his desire is to use his paper's website to engage readers, rather than just put print articles online.

Davis developed a custom theme and plugins for WordPress, including Courier, a plugin that manages email editions. He created custom tag pages for the site, called Campus Currents, which draw from a wiki that anyone can edit. He is always looking for ways to increase interactivity.

He wants to be a full-time reporter and have a role that enables him to create special online features.

Andrew Dunn

andrewdunn.jpgAndrew Dunn is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism.

He uses programming in his reporting. For example, Dunn has used Python to parse databases and clean up data. He is currently teaching himself Django.

Dunn's interest in programming comes from his father, a programmer for IBM. He has also been inspired by the work of Matt Waite of the St. Petersburg Times.

"I really love old shoe-leather journalism," Dunn said. But he sees programming as another tool for reporting.

Dunn created a Data Center for The Daily Tar Heel, where he is editor-in-chief.

In "Reservoir Dogs," Mr. Pink is the only one to survive the carnage of his craft. But these students are more likely to follow their paths to success because they have the initiative and drive to learn the skills that are largely still untaught in journalism.

Megan Taylor is a web journalist whose work focuses on combining traditional and computer-assisted information-gathering with multimedia production to create news packages online. Megan tells stories in English, HTML/CSS/, ActionScript, PHP, photos, video and audio, and blogs at her personal site.

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