CodeActually

During the final stage of the Knight Fellowship, I have worked to refine my ideas for teaching journalists how to code. I have developed the site CodeActually.com and have continued to design content in the areas of HTML/CSS, JavaScript, interactive charts, web scraping and web frameworks. I will begin posting content to the site in the next few weeks and will continue to consider additional features, such as video tutorials and code simulators. Throughout my year at Stanford, I have had the opportunity to observe computer science courses and meet with computer science faculty and Silicon Valley professionals. I have isolated the specific programming skills that will be most meaningful to journalists and have compiled a range of examples to illustrate the need for programming skills in the journalism profession.

Cindy Royal

Knight Talk: Cindy Royal

Cindy Royal is on a mission to persuade journalists to learn how to code -- and she's creating a way to help them.

I have greatly appreciated the advice of professors and professionals in the Bay Area that include Dr. Jure Leskovec, Dr. John Ousterhout and Dr. Mehran Sahami of Stanford, David Wright and Simon Rogers of Twitter, David Cohn of Circa, Burt Herman of Storify, Katie Zhu of Medium.

Next steps

I plan to continue work on the project by further developing tutorials, videos and code repositories. I will be able to test the CodeActually.com tutorials when I return to teaching at Texas State University as I work on TexasMusicViz, a project using data to tell the important stories of music in the community. Through sponsorships from the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education and Google, I have secured initial resources to continue this effort.

Takeaways

  • Innovation is much more than technology. There are new approaches and processes. It takes time and should be an ongoing practice.
  • A range of technology skills that include computer programming are going to be required across many academic disciplines and workplace roles. Having these skills is a valuable literacy for the future.
  • You never know who is paying attention to your work. Stay focused, be patient and good things will happen!

CodeActually.com is the result of a year long effort to resolve a challenge to journalism.  Learn more about this challenge during the exploration and refinement phases of the process.