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Lauren Rabaino

Piktochart Launches All-New Interactive Web Graphics Creator

The latest web app in the infographics creation world is Piktochart, which recently released a whole new version of its dashboard to make graphics creation easier and more interactive.

I hadn’t used Piktochart before the recent launch, but I have used and reviewed tools like easel.ly, and infogr.am, and Piktochart is so far my favorite. With an interface reminiscent of Tumblr’s theme selector, Piktochart has a selection of 75 themes — both a mix of free and premium.

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Washington Post Joins Forces With Medill To Help Programmers Earn Journalism Degrees

Computer programmers looking to move into the news industry have a chance at getting their full tuition paid — that’s right, free grad school — at Northwestern’s Medill program, plus an internship at the Washington Post after graduation, thanks to a new partnership.

Washington Post joined the Knight Foundation in the scholarship program that lets computer programmers earn a master’s degree in journalism in a 12-month program at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.  The scholarship program, previously only funded by the Knight Foundation, has so far supported 9 programmers-gone-journalist since 2008, who are now some of the industry leaders:

Spread the word to all your programmer friends.

‘For Journalism’: News Developers Launch A Kickstarter To Raise Money To Teach Data Journalism For All

A new Kickstarter campaign kicked off this weekend with a goal of raising $32,000 to create educational tools for the “next generation of news-application developers.” If they reach their goal, these are the first eight courses they’ll teach:

It’s a lofty goal and a huge commitment from each instructor, seeing as they each have day jobs at high-profile news organizations. The great Dave Stanton will be the ringleader of the group, overseeing day-to-day outreach and helping the instructors stay on goal.
The mission of this project is admirable, and would be one of the best educational resources out there for journalists.  Each course contains an ebook, screencasts, code repositories and forums.
Pledging to their campaign comes with benefits:
  • $5+: You’ll get a Twitter shoutout
  • $20+:  Access to one topic of your choosing
  • $100+: Access to seven topics of your choosing
  • $110+: Every course in the batch plus a t-shirt
  • $500+: Access to all materials for a team of 10
  • $10,000+: All university students/staff get access, plus help strategizing around integration

 Donate here.

P5: ProPublica Invites Newsroom Devs To Hack With Them For 5 Days

In a fellowship-meets-hackathon type model that aims to grow the pool of people doing news application development in U.S. newsrooms, ProPublica is inviting news developers into their offices for a few days each month. The program is called ProPublica’s Pair Programming Project — P5 for short — and applications are open now.

P5 will accept one resident per month to go to New York City for an opportunity to work with some of the best news apps developers in the business.  They’ve won two Pulitzer prizes for their reporting, both of which had heavily data-involved and interactive storytelling attached.

People who are already proficient programmers and are working at a news organization are preferred for the program.  Though there will be some learning and mentorship involved, this residency isn’t for you if you don’t already know how to code. If you don’t have your own project in mind, worry not — you can work on one of ProPublica’s projects.

If you’re interested, you can get more information  on ProPublica’s site. If your skills aren’t up to snuff, maybe think about nudging a traditional engineer or IT person in your newsroom to apply.

10 ‘Budget Balancer’ Tools And Games From Newsrooms Worldwide

As legislative sessions start to kick off in states around the country, newsrooms will undoubtedly be looking for ways to cover various negotiations and budget crises. The idea of a “budget balancing” game is nothing new — lots of newsrooms have tried it — but many have taken their own conceptual approaches. Here are a few different examples:

1. New York Times – Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget

This approach lets users select multiple options (tax increases and spending cuts) then watch on a scale how much money those decisions make in the short-term and longterm. You can read more about the methodology on the Economix blog.

Best feature: See impacts on both the short-term and long-term 

2. LA Times — California Budget Balancer

The LA Times first lets you select a starting point based on how much you’d spend on public schools, and from there, you can granularly reduce or eliminate funding in other areas using a slider. As you make decisions, you watch the remaining deficit drop. Unlike the NYT approach, the LA Times lets the user have more control over the values inputted, rather than basing it off real-life proposals.

Best feature: When you’ve come to a proposal you’re happy with, you can see your breakdown for where money is allocated, then share it on social media.  Read more

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