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Engineering News

Be our design/code/??? intern for summer 2016!

Illustration by viz team intern Annette Elizabeth Allen! Hey! You! With the weird talent! We have two internships on the Visuals team. One is for photo editing, the other, well, it’s weird. We’ve had journalists who are learning to code, programmers who are learning about journalism, designers who love graphics, designers who love UX, reporters who love data, and illustrators who make beautiful things! Does any of this sound like you? Please join our team! You’ll learn a ton and…

We’re looking for a developer to help us build Carebot

By Brian Boyer | December 14, 2015 We’re looking for a programmer to join our team for a few months. Your mission? Break the news’s addiction to pageviews, by bringing meaningful analytics to journalists. Why? At NPR Visuals, our goal is to make people care. To get them to give a shit about tough problems and people they’ve never met. It’s our job to create empathy in world. If that’s our goal, how do we know if we’re…

What makes a great photo editing intern (Apply now for Summer 2016!)

Photo by Rachael Ketterer This is not your standard photo internship! This internship is an opportunity to learn more about the world of photo editing. Our goal isn’t to make you into a photo editor; we view this internship as a chance for you to understand what it is like to be an editor and improve your visual literacy, which can help you become a better photographer. What you will be doing Editing: You’ll be working closely with the Visuals…

Promises in Unity | IMVU Engineering Blog

By Michael Powell The IMVU Unity API makes heavy use of promises, to simplify asynchronous operations. Unfortunately, they’re different from the way things are normally done in Unity, and thus many people using our API have been understandably confused by them. The objective of this post is to alleviate that confusion. We first illustrate the problem we face without promises, then we explore a number of partial solutions, and finally we pull them all together to show just how powerful…

Introducing Elex, a Tool to Make Election Coverage Better for Everyone – Features

“End the elections arms race” has become a rallying cry in American data journalism. Many newsrooms spend tremendous resources writing code to simply load and parse election data. It’s time we stopped worrying about the plumbing and started competing on the interesting parts. We decided it was time we put some code against our beliefs – our contribution is a tool we’re calling Elex. What Is It? Elex is a command-line tool to get election results from the Associated Press Election API…

Do Visual Stories Make People Care?

Since we published Borderland in April of 2014, the NPR Visuals Team has been iterating on a style of storytelling we call “sequential visual stories.” They integrate photography, text, and sometimes audio, video or illustration into a slideshow-like format. My colleague Wes Lindamood already wrote more eloquently than I can about the design approach we took to evolving these stories, and you should absolutely read that. In this blog post, I will use event tracking data from Google Analytics to…

Flickr’s experience with iOS 9

In the last couple of months, Apple has released new features as part of iOS 9 that allow a deeper integration between apps and the operating system. Among those features are Spotlight Search integration, Universal Links, and 3D Touch for iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Here at Flickr, we have added support for these new features and we have learned a few lessons that we would love to share. Spotlight Search There are two different kinds of content that…

We’re hiring a developer! | NPR Visuals

By Brian Boyer | November 06, 2015 Love to code? Want to use your skills to make the world a better place? We’re a crew of visual journalists (developers, designers, photojournalists…lots of things) in the newsroom at NPR headquarters in sunny Washington, DC. We make charts and maps, we make and edit pictures and video, we help reporters with data, and we create all sorts of web-native visual stories and weird data-driven websites. (And yeah, sometimes it’s strange…

The Pympocalypse

Everything was going so well. We finally had a solution for embedding responsive charts inside our CMS. We called it pym.js. We had built a framework around it, the dailygraphics rig, and when that worked for us we shared it with the world. It even worked for member stations. Then there came unexpected implication was something was very wrong. It first manifested in a ticket numbered 97. We took it as nothing important at first. But soon that number was…

Introducing agate: a Better Data Analysis Library for Journalists – Features

It may sound obvious, but the primary role of a data journalist is to analyze data. Whether the analysis is simple or complex, it is our capacity to do this well that makes us valuable in the newsroom. And yet, most of us are still doing it using old-fashioned, error-prone methods. Specifically, we use processes that are: inscrutable (R, numpy); difficult to replicate (Excel, Google Docs, OpenRefine); and wedded to tools that are complex or expensive (SPSS, SAS, ArcGIS). As journalists,…