Baby Steps in Data Journalism

Starting from zero, this Tumblr provides tools, links and how-to information for people just beginning to explore data journalism.
Posts tagged "quote"

She’s also proud of her Ruby projects folder. Each project is something she was trying to teach herself. She’s more proud of the list than the finished products.

“Learning to code means reclaiming patience and persistence and making them your stubborn own.” [nice]

David Weinberger writing about Diana Kimball (@dianakimball) when she spoke at the Berkman Center at Harvard, Feb. 5, 2013 
It’s amazing how deeply I can understand the logic and any foreign syntax when I actually have to write it out. My mind has to actually narrate, like ‘here’s where they’re splitting the string, here’s where they’re parsing it, and WHOA! I didn’t know you could do that with JavaScript!’ when I undergo this process.
Tommy Nicholas, Schokoe 
The closest I have ever come to thinking about thinking is writing computer programs. This involves teasing apart a process into constituent parts, step-by-step functions, and conditional statements. What is so important about computer programs is that they (almost) never work the first time.
 Nicholas Negroponte / One Laptop per Child 
Programming is a way of thinking, not a rote skill. Learning about ‘for’ loops is not learning to program, any more than learning about pencils is learning to draw.
Bret Victor - Learnable Programming - September 2012
Programming as an intellectual activity is the only art form that allows you to create interactive art. You can create projects that other people can play with, and you can talk to them indirectly. No other art form is quite this interactive. Movies flow to the audience in one direction. Paintings do not move. Code goes both ways.

It had been a few years since I’d learned something. Even as I cranked out stories and projects, some that won awards, I’d become comfortable in a rut.

The more I thought about it, the more it nagged me. So, when I registered for the conference, I signed up for the “Django Mini Bootcamp.” I’d heard a lot about how journalists were using Django to build interactive apps, and I wanted new skills.

Anthony DeBarros, senior database editor in the newsroom at USA Today, in a blog post about his learning adventure

I’ve found that novice and non-programmers sometimes don’t get much from seeing a wall of code. Or worse, they blindly copy it, not thinking about how such code runs or why it was written the way it was. It may work for them the first time. But when they try to do harder and more creative tasks – which is the point of learning to program – everything falls apart and they quit coding because it’s all just a jumble of electronic voodoo.

So the first part of this book contains a bare-bones run-through of what I consider to be the most important programming fundamentals. I skip important topics so that there are fewer concepts to juggle at first. And I believe that once you get to the point that you can make code useful, you’ll naturally go back and learn those important fundamentals on your own.

Dan Nguyen, in the introduction to his online book about Ruby
If there is one language you’re going to learn in the next five years, it should be JavaScript. This is the most important part of the future of the Web.

— Jeff Casimir, instructor, jQuery Air First Flight

I’m pretty comfy with JavaScript already. I think Python might be an easier first programming language, so I’m learning Python so I can find out if that’s true.

You actually know enough at this point that you could write every possible computer program using just the things that we’ve seen. This is a pretty astounding result, and I mean this in a very strong sense: Everything that could be computed mechanically by any machine can be described using a program that only used the things that we’ve seen so far. All you need is procedures [functions], simple arithmetic (with a comparison), and if statements.

— David Evans, instructor

Udacity CS101 course, Unit 2, segment 21

(And that’s what makes programming so cool !)

The open-source mapping community is astonishing. And you should start poking around in it. Right now. … Mapping is an area that is set to blossom. Geolocation is becoming a basic contextual point for mobile and, with HTML5, even the desktop. At the same time, increasingly sophisticated mapping tools are becoming easier to use and easier to customize.

— Matt Wynn, More on Curbwise, May 21, 2011

See the blog post for a list of related tools for making data and maps play nicely together.

Nowadays, it’s not out of the ordinary that I spend just as much time getting data in the format that I need as I do putting the visual part of a data graphic together. Sometimes I spend more time getting all my data in place.