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Engineering News

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,…

Jurassic Hack at Yammer – We Are Yammer – Medium

Our Hack Days are a great tradition at Yammer, giving everyone who works here a chance to work on anything they want, in exactly the way they want, in the pursuit of fun, learning, camaraderie, and an ever better product. Our 13th Hack Day, back in July, was no different. Follow the exciting journey of a group of new employees — among them engineers, analysts, and designers—as they experience their very first Hack Day, work on their hacks, and find out what…

Parsing complex social study data

NPR’s #15girls project looks at the lives of 15 year old girls around the world. The reporting team was interested in using data from the World Values Survey (WVS) to help inform the reporting and produce a “by-the-numbers” piece. Analyzing the World Values Survey data represents a fairly typical problem in data journalism: crunching numbers from social science surveys. Social science surveys have some typical features: The data is in proprietary/non-standard formats like those used by Stata or SPSS. The…

2015 Pack Expo Las Vegas Recap

by Rich Lindgren, CPPChainalytics Recently Chainalytics’ packaging engineering team attended the PACK EXPO trade show in Las Vegas.  This year’s show featured more than 1,800 exhibitors and 30,000+ attendees. Our team of packaging consultants canvased the floor for the better part of three days to find all things new and cutting edge in packaging industry. While I’ve attend several Pack Expo shows in Chicago, this was actually my first year attending the packaging industry’s west coast version.  General impressions on Las Vegas vs.…

How to apply to an internship at NPR Visuals

We want to see your best work. Here’s how. Cover letters All candidates must submit a cover letter. Your cover letter should be a statement of purpose. We’re interested in what you’re passionate about and why you’re passionate about it. (Most cover letters tell us that you are hardworking, passionate and talented, etc. And that you love NPR. We don’t need you to tell us that.) Tell us what you care about and work on. Tell us why you are…

How Innovative Product Packaging Solutions Can Save Money

By Rob Kaszubowski, Packaging Engineering Manager Who knew you could actually damage a product while placing it into its protective packaging? But that’s the exact problem Chainalytics packaging engineers recently tackled for a construction materials client. The company’s heavy vinyl lined products were being scuffed and scratched when slid into their secondary packaging for shipment—creating significant costs from damage returns, warranty repairs, and service calls.  But abrasion during loading wasn’t the only problem: Products were often damaged during unloading from…