A Northwestern University joint initiative of Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science. Northwestern University joint initiative of Medill & McCormick School of Engineering.

Open your heart to open source

LET’S REWRITE THIS AS THE INTRO TO A CROSS-POST FROM TRAVIS SWICEGOOD   Perhaps it was the remnants of the Kentucky bourbon, but sitting through the Saturday, 9 a.m. “How Can We Get the Widest Impact Out of Software Projects?” NICAR session with panelists Larry Birnbaum (professor of computer science at Northwestern and a Knight Lab co-founder) and Ted Han (lead developer at Document Cloud), and moderated by Rich Gordon (journalism professor at

We have a new look — and strategy — for the Knight Lab’s blog

Knight Lab new blog look, responsive design

I am so excited to pull back the curtain on our brand, spankin’ new blog design and I am not sure that we could be more eager to get going. It is a pretty new toy that, in contrast to our old site, will allow us to participate more substantially in the dialogue that is already taking place within our geographically diverse community of journalism-technologists. More importantly, our new name, visual identity, redesigned and re-launched blog are all symbolic efforts of the significant shift in strategy and focus …

Aaron Salmon joins Knight Lab as professional fellow

aaron salmon headshot

[do action=”editors-note”]I interviewed Aaron on a Monday before he had coffee… I just wanted to point that out.[/do] It all started with Quake II. Aaron Salmon and his gaming buddies — his “clan,” in the parlance of the game — played the first-person shooter game feverishly in the mid 90s when they decided what they really needed was a website to track scores and records. Salmon built it, reverse engineering the whole thing

Scott Robbin joins Knight Lab as professional fellow

scott robin photo

What does it take to make Crain Chicago’s 40-Under-40 list? Well, for Scott Robbin it took creating a new way for millions of people to listen to music online while keeping a neighborly eye out for his fellow Chicagoans. All of which makes the Knight Lab very happy to have him as part of our inaugural class of professional fellows. Over the past six years Robbin has done great development work for Twitter,

Designing newsrooms for digital: No more silos, try pods

As a programmer-journalist studying journalism/computer science, I’ve found myself at the “intersection of journalism and technology” or in the emerging field of computational journalism. I used to think the technical stuff was the hard part. I spent my time trying to grasp scope in JavaScript, scraping webpages or learning the MVC framework of the week. But here’s the thing — programming? That’s actually the easy part …

Chicago Crime Hack, day one

A group works at the Knight Lab's Chicago Crime Hack Day.

The Knight Lab hosted its first ever hack day on Saturday and about 15 civic-minded hackers showed up to tinker with the Chicago Tribune’s Chicago Crime API. The day started with a quick round of introductions from a diverse group. Some were professional developers with day jobs building software for trading firms or IBM, while others were self-described apprentices and hobbyists. No matter, everyone seemed excited about getting to hack on Chicago’s crime