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Posts Tagged ‘coding’

How to Achieve These 3 New Year’s Resolutions For Journalists

Thinking ahead a month might seem like an eternity for many journalists in the thick of holiday stories and planning for vacations. But before you hang up your hat on 2013, you should make a plan for how you’ll do better in 2014.

journalismresolutionsWant to be a better journalist? Here are three professional New Year’s resolutions you can make — and keep — for next year, and how to do it.

1. Learn something new

Yeah yeah, this is sort of what journalists do every day for their research. But when was the last time you sat down and took a class, attended a professional conference or just read a book related to your craft? In a world that’s constantly demanding new skills, you’ll soon be irrelevant if you don’t keep up on the trade. Here’s a few ideas on how to do it: Read more

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‘For Journalism’ Wants to Help You Build News Apps, Learn to Code

photo-mainIn the spirit of the animated, multi-faceted debate going on about whether or not journalists should learn how to code, it seems like a good time to help introduce For Journalism, a startup seeking to offer data journalism and programming skills to the journalist of the future.

It’s safe to say which side of the fence For Journalism is on when it comes to the topic of how much technical knowledge writers and reporters should have — they say explicitly that we’re suffering from a “pipeline problem for people with data and programming skills for journalism.”

The project, spearheaded by Dave Stanton, a developer and Poynter technology fellow, provides journalists with curriculum on everything from Ruby on Rails (an open-source coding and programming resource) and Django, to creating meaningful pieces of data for accompanying journalistic work. Courses cost $20 and include an informational e-book, screencasts, code repositories and forums.

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The Debate Rages On: Do Journalists Need To Code?

Do journalists need to know HTML? What about CSS? Javascript? … Python?

The debate rages on, with the flame fueled again this week by journalist Olga Khazan writing about how she resented the time she spent learning how to write bad code in journalism school instead of doing something more in-line with her specific career goal of writing. Her article for The Atlantic led to Twitter debates for and against. The merry go round of yes, no, maybe goes round and round and round.

hernandezquoteI’d join the fray (beyond my comments on Twitter earlier this week) except that I think Robert Hernandez, an accomplished web journalist who actually also teaches at the j-school that writer attended, does a great job explaining why learning code (or at least exposure to it) matters for journalists. As he writes: I’ve had an incredible career because I learn the power behind the phrase “Hello World.” Or as he says later in the post in reference to j-school students who don’t want to learn, “It’s 2013 — are you really arguing against learning technology?” Read more

4 Free DIY Coding Tutorials for the Online Journalist

These days, proficiency in computer science and online coding is just as essential to a journalist’s education as writing, reporting and editing. As our world continues to blur platform lines, knowing programming languages is the easiest way to gain an edge to secure your dream job, take on more responsibilities and become an indispensable tool in the newsroom.

But, there’s one overarching problem when a journalist gets psyched up to code: tutorials and books are often filled with codes and jargon that natively go against the way a humanities mind works. Getting into the material can be difficult, and sticking with it until code mastery can be nearly impossible.

Luckily, in an effort to get people of all ages and backgrounds into online programming, many companies have put together smart, interactive tutorials that explain methods in clear and easy ways. Some of them rely on a story or concept to drive the knowledge across, while others use reward systems and badges to motivate users to sticking with it.

Here are four free, interactive tutorials that you can do at your own pace that will help you learn four coding languages that have rapidly become must-knows in the world of online production and development. All of these courses assume users are complete beginners, so jump in! Read more

Is Learning HTML/CSS ‘Like Learning How to Use Commas’?

How important is it for journalists to know HTML/CSS? How about for journalism students, who will be entering a job market with more digital and fewer traditional job choices? This point has been discussed and debated to death. We’ve talked about it and covered sites and organizations that aim to help teach journalists to program.

But reading a recent post by University of Florida professor Mindy McAdams, it occurred to me how these skills have increasingly become expectations for job-hunting journalists. It’s not been enough for a long time to be a writer or a photographer, you need to be very good at something and at least good enough at others to be competitive in a world where writer’s send standups back from crime scenes and photographers produce slideshows, with intros and captions on the fly. But HTML? CSS? Javascript?

Her post is primarily aimed at journalism educators and why they should learn and teach HTML and CSS so their students are better equipped. But it’s beneficial to all journalists. She writes:

The system we use to present information on Web pages begins with HTML, a markup language that structures the content of the page.

I’m starting with HTML because I know a heck of a lot of journalism educators have never tried to learn HTML, and that’s just wrong. You know how to use a comma? Good, I would expect that. The basic use of HTML is just as important as correct use of commas, and it’s certainly not harder to learn.

The web is littered with comma splices, so certainly not everyone learned that skill. Nor will everyone be willing to learn HTML and CSS. (I say willing because I agree with Mindy that’s they’re very learnable. I taught myself starting when I was 10.) But she’s right, if a journalist wants to be competitive, to place themselves in the best position to land and keep a job, to have the best and most opportunities open to them, they’re going to want to know the basics or be willing to learn.
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