Nieman Report’s Professor’s Corner: Hacker Chronicles

Writing with Kent State University professor Jacqueline Marino, I explore the teaching of collaborative journalism and computer sciences courses for Harvard’s Nieman Report: Professor’s Corner:

It used to be that calling a journalist a “hack” was considered an insult. Now, tack on “-er” and more than likely the reporter will be flattered. Today tech-savvy journalists are mapping stories, figuring out new ways to share mobile-based news, and changing how investigative reporters gather and analyze their information. This expanding digital landscape for news, especially the significance of data and the promise of mobile, means that computer programming is becoming yet another skill to be taught in journalism classes.

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Journalism + Technology: Medill + McCormick

Journalists around the world know that changes in technology have reshaped media. But only a few journalists have taken the time to explore the methods for communicating and collaborating with the technologists who made possible these changes.

Medill Interactive Innovation Project: News Feed

For 12 weeks almost a dozen Medill graduate students and a similar number of computer science students explored these questions while they created potentially industry changing applications.

In a class I co-directed with Dr. Kris Hammond and Dr. Larry Birnbaum from Northwestern University’s InfoLab five cross-disciplinary teams built these five exciting projects, this was how the students described them in their final report:

  • Machine Generated Sports Stories (aka. StatsMonkey): an application that automatically writes sports stories based on box scores
  • News Feed: an iPhone application that presents users with stories of a particular length and topic depending on how much time they have to read
  • EasyWriter: a Microsoft Word plug-in that automatically brings up Internet search results alongside a document based on highlighted text
  • Tweedia: a widget that can be incorporated into a news Web site to enable readers to see real-time tweets related to an article
  • Twitter Publishing: programming that allows Twitter users to automatically receive relevant news links based on their tweets