Phillip Smith on Muck Rack

Phillip Smith

Oaxaca, Oaxaca
Covers:  data journalism, news and innovation, journalism, technology, hacking, data visualization, publishing and innovation
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How Journalists Can Think Like Programmers PBS Mediashift Idea Lab

How Journalists Can Think Like Programmers

I'm working on a fun little project at the moment that involves pulling data out of a Google Spreadsheet that is being curated by a team of journalists. The interesting thing about this project is that it so clearly illustrates the difference in thinking between people who regularly work with databases (herein called programmers) and those who use them less frequently (herein called journalists). In this particular case, the spreadsheet was initially developed by a more technically inclined editor, but -- nonetheless -- it exhibits some humorous and illustrative shortcomings, which we'll explore here.