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We're creating educational materials for the next generation of news-application developers. Python, Ruby, maps, devops and more.
We're creating educational materials for the next generation of news-application developers. Python, Ruby, maps, devops and more.
380 backers pledged $34,358 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

Wow, two years went by fast!

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During the last 24 months, we’ve had ups and downs and sideways.

More than 600 lovely humans have worked through the video tutorials to some extent. Hundreds more attended training sessions during the last two Online News Association conferences in Atlanta and Chicago. We’ve heard from a bunch of folks who learned from and continue to reference the awesome material from Michelle Minkoff, Jeremy Bowers, Ken Schwencke, Mike Tigas and Ryan Pitts at, as well as Jen Lindner, Kaitlen Exum, Kawandeep Virdee, and others from conference workshops.

We’re hard at work on an aggregation service, and you’ll be updated when the public beta is ready in August. Interested in just data visualization? We’ll help you find it. Looking for in-person training in your city? We’ll help connect you. Not sure what you need? We’ll have a best-of-the-best feed as well.

We originally planned to generate ebooks and other more permanent editions by partnering with the folks at Publet started as a create-once-publish-everywhere platform, and this worked very well for our initial content release. Over the last 18 months, Publet pivoted toward a reading-analytics product, and the featureset diverged from what FJ needed. As a consequence, generating more permanent editions was going to require a bunch of manual production.

As we were trying to take a multi-platform publishing approach, our biggest challenge emerged: upgrades. We pondered ways to allow the content to stay current to framework versions, but we couldn’t find a reasonable solution other than re-recording everything for each minor-version release. Django, for example, was 1.4 when Jeremy recorded his material. Now Django is at 1.8. We played with annotation and commenting options, but nothing was good enough. We wanted the material to be very approachable, and digging out syntax changes from annotations is anything but friendly. Jeremy and everyone poured so much heart into their first round of content. Re-recording is not sustainable, nor is it fair for instructors to feel compelled to keep everything current in perpetuity.

But the world moves forward! NICAR has seen record attendance year over year. ONA continues to bolster its technical training during conferences. SND is paying serious attention to the design aspects of digital journalism both through its conference program and the amazing SNDMakes series of prototyping events. Universities are hiring data faculty, and existing faculty are stepping up to include data topics throughout the curriculum.

There are more and more places for people to learn, discuss and be inspired by data journalism. From the onset, we specifically did not want to create content that was competing with initiatives from other organizations. We wanted to fill training gaps until our journalism communities organically filled these gaps.

Does this mean we’re closing down the FJ shop? No!

There may be tons of training and content from journalism organizations and creators now, but we still see the need of an editing function to bubble up the best training, and to provide context for why the training is useful, for whom it is most useful, and what problems the training could help journalists empower themselves to solve.

We want to thank you all so much for your continual support through the good and bad so far. We’re hopeful that our next steps will continue to empower journalists, as well as surface the amazing work across all the permutations of modern data and visual journalism.

Best, Dave and the FJ Crew

JavaScript and Hardware coming; search

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Hi everyone,

The incomparable Travis Swicegood had job changes recently, so we just couldn't get together on scheduling to record the JavaScript for Journalism course that worked in his schedule. It took me a little while to lock down a suitable replacement instructor.

Nick Sergeant (of EngineYard) will be working with us to teach JavaScript fundamentals along with Node, MongoDB and some Angular. Nick worked with Ryan Sholin to build ReportingOn several years ago ( He was a senior developer for GateHouse Media from 2006-2009. Nick is awesome.

As a bonus to all Kickstarter backers, we recorded the start of Hardware for Journalism during NICAR with Zach Supalla of Spark ( This one was a ton of fun. We built an air-quality sensor (among other projects) and walked around the conference valet area to measure emissions of taxi tailpipes. I'm going to try and edit that in the next two weeks to get something up for you. 

Along this journey, tons of folks have asked if we will ever expand into multimedia, social and other journalism areas. Probably not but who knows. The mission has been to make materials with journalistic context that fill gaps in training offerings from our professional organizations. However, I did start to notice there isn't a solid, single place to go to find training options.


The inventory is small, and there is design work still to be done, but hopefully you can see where we are going -- creating a place that you can filter through all possible training from all the professional organizations, meetup groups and whomever else is awesome enough to send me a message and spreadsheet of training events. 

The coolest feature is that you can save all of your searches and set notifications. Maybe there is no d3 training in Atlanta right now, but if an event ever hits our system, you'll get an email notification to register. All results link directly to the hosting organization. Again, we are not trying to compete with professional organizations but instead be a third party that helps connect journalists with training.

Thank you all for your patience throughout this effort. 

If you work with a professional or training organization and have a list of events I can add to our search, please get in touch.


Dave and the FJ crew

Open for backers


Hi all,

Thank you so much for your patience as we've been collecting the For Journalism materials and trying to get some system in place to properly deliver to you.

Activation email are en route.


Dave and the FJ team

Initial material release on Monday


Hi all!

Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and support. This project has been a huge undertaking and a ton of work for all involved. We want to have the fundamental pieces in place so the material evolves and improves over time instead of being a one-and-done drop.

The Responsive Design and Django materials are ready for initial viewing. We're at ONA right now recording a ton of additional content. Git and Charting are in the can. Maps starts shortly, then Privacy tomorrow. The material for those courses should be available in 2 weeks time. Then, we'll start grabbing the remaining materials.

I'm working on some collaboration tools to help get through the initial bumpy patches of learning. Hopefully something rough will be in place late next week for those tools. If you find problems along the way, please file GitHub issues on the relevant course. Each course will have a link at top straight to the issues area of the appropriate GitHub repository.

You'll receive a link Monday to setup your For Journalism account and select your courses.

Again, thank you all so much for your encouragement, enthusiasm and patience.


Dave and the FJ team

Course rollout and fulfillment

Hi everyone,

The course materials for Responsive Design and Django are done. I'm finishing up a method for secure fulfillment, which is a lot trickier than I initially thought especially to accommodate our institutional supporters at Digital First Media, NBC News and ONA. We're close. I hate to promise a specific date, but I'm hopeful to let backers have initial access in two weeks. 

We're going to be rolling out courses in waves. Many of our instructors were super busy over the summer, so we're creating FJ content when we can. Jeff Larson definitely wins for most amazing reason for FJ content delay:

Headed to ONA? We have a room set aside for 3 days, and we'll be laying down content for a bunch of courses (JavaScript, Charting & Vis, InfoSec, Mapping). The recordings from these sessions will be rolled into the appropriate FJ courses by the end of October. If you're a backer, I hope to provide livestreams of the sessions as well. Fingers crossed.

Since we are rolling out content over time instead of a single blitz, we are going to let our single-course backers choose either Responsive Design or Django to get started as soon as possible as well as pick an additional course at the end of October. I'll send appropriate links and forms when the time is right.

Thank you all so much for your support and patience. This is a lot of work for the instructors to do in addition to their already crazy work schedules, volunteerism and speaking engagements. 

Keep your eyes peeled for an update in two weeks.

Best, Dave (and the FJ crew)