At McClatchy, this new role offers an unique opportunity to collaborate with their formidable DC bureau and across their 29 news organizations, plus sit near former Post colleagues who are part of an impressive video team. It’s also a chance to work again with my hometown paper The Miami Herald, where I freelanced and interned during college. I can’t wait to join all the talented journalists at McClatchy.
Here’s the very kind announcement from my new boss, Julie Moos:
I’m excited to announce that Greg Linch will be joining us late this month to help plan, produce and launch data-driven projects coming out of our local newsrooms and out of DC.
Greg’s arrival enables us to broaden and deepen our data efforts, which you’ll be hearing more about in coming weeks. To start, we plan to provide do-it-yourself tools and a range of support for the data storytelling that’s becoming so essential to readers everywhere across a range of subjects.
Greg joins us from The Washington Post, where he currently works on Project Rainbow (the tablet team); his previous roles there include local data editor, news apps producer and national security producer. He has FOIAed and negotiated with local agencies to publish their daily crime data or weekly crime reports; led work on voter’s guides and results pages for primary and general elections; developed systems for handling documents (like the Clinton emails) and email newsletters; and worked on many projects that required reporting skills as strong as his coding skills.
Greg is a member of the board of directors of the Online News Association, co-organizer of the DC Hacks/Hackers chapter and an all-around great journalist capable of elevating our work in interesting ways. Here’s his resume.
Greg will be based at Tish’s old desk, as he fills the position opened by her departure. His professional career started at The Miami Herald and we are happy to lure him back to McClatchy, starting Sept. 29.
“Why develop in the newsroom?” asks Dan Sinker. In short, I’d say because you have near limitless opportunities to solve interesting problems. For example:
How can we find better ways to tell stories?
How do we uncover new information and find meaning in it?
How do we properly inform people about their communities?
How do we foster and contribute to important conversations?
How do we hold public officials and powerful figures to account?
How do we increase understanding of complex issues?
In The Washington Post‘s newsroom, where I work, developers are a highly valued bunch. There are far more ideas and a far greater desire to collaborate with developers than we have time or resources for — and we probably have more coders than many newsrooms.
Developing in a newsroom is not about “IT” or support — it’s about building things. Things that our audience and others across the newsroom use. We have folks who do a mix of the following:
develop news applications
create platforms and services
These individuals work in different areas — from graphics to digital design to the embedded developer team. Personally, I coordinate data and technology projects for a specific desk — local — and occasionally use code. I previously did a six-month stint on the embed team after starting at the Post as a producer.
“Six-month stint?” What does that mean? It means my newsroom gave me half a year to improve my self-taught code skills and build projects alongside full-time developers. How awesome is that? I’m forever grateful for this opportunity to level-up my coding abilities, build strong relationship on that team and better manage projects because of those two things.
Another example of the value our organization places on fostering and recruiting developers is evident in this excerpt from Miranda Mulligan’s response to the “Why develop in the newsroom?” question:
Earlier this year, the Washington Post and Medill School announced a partnership to offer programmers scholarships to study journalism at the school. The hope is that those programmers will eventually bring their technical skills to news organizations around the country. The Washington Post will assist the Knight Foundation — which helped originally fund the program — in paying for the education of three scholars over a three-year period. After graduating, the scholars will work a paid internship with the Post’s tech team. If you have questions about the scholarship program, please contact Rich Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities abound. Whether they’re hard journalistic problems or even hard computer science problems, you’ll have the opportunity to tackle a wide range of projects. Bring other domain knowledge or expertise — science, business, sports, politics, whatever. I’m ridiculously excited just thinking of all the possibilities.
I’m very excited to announce that I’m now working with the local team on medium- and long-term journalism and technology projects. I’ll also be diving into big breaking stories when those arise.
This new role blends project management and hands-on work (e.g. continuing to put those improved code skills to use!). I’ll be collaborating with editors, reporters and others across the newsroom, including the developer team. Karaoke is not an official responsibility, but we’ll see how that plays out.
Here’s the announcement:
We’re pleased to announce that Greg Linch is Local’s new innovations editor. He joins the staff after working for six months with newsroom developers building web tools for reporters, editors and producers. Greg was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper at the University of Miami with a focus on traditional writing and reporting until he began dabbling with coding during his junior year. By the time he graduated, he’d become an entrepreneur, co-founding a college media start-up, and gravitated to another start-up in Loudoun County called Publish2. He joined the Post in 2010 as a producer for Health & Science before moving on to Politics, briefly, and then the Foreign Desk.
We’re confident that Greg’s training in journalism and his burgeoning technical skills will enable him to help reporters and editors find new and expansive ways to tell stories, present data, hold public agencies accountable and find new audiences on the web and on mobile devices. He can speak multiple newsroom languages, he understands what’s possible across digital media, and he’s passionate about working closely with reporters and editors. He previously worked on the Zero Day series with Bob O’Harrow, who says Greg is “totally smart, really collegial and makes stuff happen.” In his copious spare time, Greg has also served as an adjunct instructor for Northwestern’s Medill National Security Journalism Initiative for the past two fall quarters. This year, he begins a two-year term on the Online News Association’s board of directors. Please join us in congratulating him on his important new assignment.
Measuring your audience is one thing. Measuring your impact as a journalist is definitely another. Modern technology enables better quantitative and analytical tools, conceivably offering better ways to evaluate the results of journalism. But it’s possible to devise a way to more concretely — albeit still imperfectly — define what impact means. We could borrow from, use, adapt or learn from science, baseball, non-profits, social entrepreneurship, even car manufacturer websites and pharmaceutical drug trials.
I have a few more interesting examples, so be sure to join us for this conversation!
Finally — and perhaps the most important part of all this! — is that karaoke is returning this year! RSVP here.
P.S. What must I do/see in San Francisco after the conference? I’ll be around on Sunday and Monday before going to Seattle for a couple days and then Portland. Recommendations for those cities are also welcome!