When I began my career as a journalist, I lived for the thrill of the chase. I loved tracking down news stories and writing them with all the speed, accuracy and fairness that journalists are taught to use. I loved getting stories first and making them amazing from the beginning to the end of their run, wherever they lived — in print, on air or online.
After a couple of years in the field and three semesters of grad school, I have realized that it’s no longer quite enough for me.
When I was an intern at NPR, I was given the chance to learn web production skills. Though I had worked with online journalism somewhat in college, interning for the Digital Media Arts desk at a news organization that places a lot of value in their digital presence gave me a new sense of what journalism could be and the endless possibilities that present themselves online.
I had the chance to work with flash interactives and learn HTML, developing basic coding skills along the way. I also dug through piles of data, statistics from federal and district prison bureaus, to distill stories for Intern Edition, NPR’s now-defunct show that was reported and produced entirely by interns. I learned to take everything I knew about journalism and apply it to different platforms, testing the waters over and over until I could consider myself a genuine digital journalist.
My graduate classes at Georgetown and my work at WTOP as a digital editor have reinforced my passion for and knowledge of digital journalism. But while my work is fulfilling in its own way, I want to push the boundaries further. Surrounded as I am with friends that are techies, geeks and nerds (and being one myself), it seems only natural that I should learn various coding languages and apply them to my storytelling methods.
I have a strong desire to learn more coding skills to use as I tell stories and dig through mountains of numbers, putting my math- and science-oriented side of my brain to work. I want to innovate. I want to learn new skills as a digital journalist while enhancing the ones I already have. Poring over large data sets and figuring out how to display the stories that I find in them may seem boring to some, but it sounds like the adventure of a lifetime to me.