It’s hard for a small newspaper with a limited staff to be an online presence. It’s hard (really, really hard) for a small-town journalist to present ideas in innovative ways when the stories are stacking up and the time until deadline is winding down.
Sometimes that gets awfully frustrating.
In September I made my way down to the Online News Association’s annual conference in Boston, and I noticed one thing repeated over and over. If you want to get something done around the newsroom, find an angry person. Find someone dissatisfied with the status quo. Someone who wants change.
And I thought to myself, “Wait, that sounds like me.”
Goodness knows I read enough about the changing face of news, about the continual rush of invention and innovation toward an end nobody’s quite sure of yet. I spend a lot of time awed by the things people are doing with the web and frustrated with the knowledge that I don’t have the resources to do that myself. So the time has come to pair reading with doing, observing with learning and experimenting.
I want to make data apps and break them, make websites and screw them up a little. I want to shake things up. I want to not rely on someone with more programming experience than I have to put together a new website or a data visualization that I imagine. I want to make the things I think of come true, and I want to do it on my own terms.
And in some small way, I want to try and solve the problems that irk both our newsroom and the newsrooms of small newspapers across the country.
How am I going to do that?
Python. Django. Fusion Tables. HTML. CSS. And whatever else it takes.
I’ll be collecting my thoughts and observations and creations on this blog, so please weigh in, cheer me on, and share your own stories!