«Class of 2014

Cindy Royal

Cindy Royal

associate professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas

Question: Develop an online training platform for teaching coding and data skills to journalists.

Cindy Royal thinks journalists should learn computer programming, and she wants to help them gain these skills in an environment that provides context and support. She spent the past year observing the curriculum and teaching methods within Stanford’s Computer Science department and met with a range of educators and professionals in Silicon Valley. She has isolated the skills that journalists need and has created a series of tutorials for her CodeActually.com website. Throughout the fellowship, Royal taught coding workshops for the fellows and at area universities and organized events and meetings with Bay Area contacts. She wrote an article “Are Journalism Schools Teaching Their Students the Right Skills?” making the case that media professionals need to realize they work in technology. Royal believes that being able to code will provide journalists with a foundation for telling new stories, in new ways and by engaging users. In 2014, she received the Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education and was named the Charles E. Scripps Journalism and Mass Communication Teacher of the Year by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Scripps Howard Foundation.



An online initiative to help journalists gain basic coding skills.

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.

About Cindy

Fascinated by a co-worker’s demonstration of HTML, Cindy Royal started her first website in 1996, a concert review site called onthatnote.com. This hobby inspired a career change to focus on the effects of the internet on communication and media. After 13 years in the technology industry, she enrolled in the journalism program at the University of Texas, earning a Ph.D. in 2005. She now teaches web design and leads digital media efforts at Texas State University. Royal is most proud of her students’ accomplishments, with many having gone on to digital media careers at The New York Times, Austin American-Statesman, Blackbaud, Spredfast, Homeaway, SXSW and more.

Information on this page is from the fellowship year.