A thread on coders in newsrooms

Aron Pilhofer

James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation at @tukleincollege. Proud @Guardian and @nytimes alum. Co-founder of @documentcloud & @HacksHackers. Yachtsman.
Jan. 27, 2019

1 min read

Sorry to be pointed here, but anyone who’s been part of or run teams of journalists who code (as I have) would know why you don’t hear this.

It’s because these “coders” aren’t considered journalists in most newsrooms. (1/6)

Every one of the dozens I hired would’ve killed for the chance to learn the craft, for a chance to see their byline on a news story. Over a better part of a decade, I can point to TWO who have ever been given that chance. Two. The vast majority are never given the option. (2/6)

Instead, the newsroom nerd is mostly confined to a service role. They’re the ones in the corner who are brought in when needed to crunch your data or make a pretty web thing for your magnum opus. Don’t worry about the reporting or writing bit. These are coders-not colleagues. (3)

This is one reason newsrooms struggle retaining talent. These are people with in-demand skills, who could fall over backwards and land a new job. But they are taking less money (a lot less) to work at a news organization for the same reasons we did: to make a difference. (4/6)

But instead of learning the craft they are usually send up in a sort of a lousy IT job without any real prospect of a career path. Sooner or later, they leave. You can coax them into staying sometimes with fake promotions, a bit more money or a fancy title. (5/6)

But the career path for the newsroom nerd (as most quickly discover) has a pretty low ceiling.

So, I agree with you @dankennedy_nu: “Coders” should learn to cover the planning board. But also, newsrooms need to let them. (6/6)


You can follow Aron Pilhofer.



Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Download Threader on iOS.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

There’s More to Beef Chuck Than Stews and Braises
Africa’s Richest Man Aliko Dangote to Pocket $650M in Dividends
Three Great Kitchen Faucets, As Chosen By Our Readers
MTailor Is Hiring for Engineer #2 (Full-Stack Product Engineer)
Use a Paper Towel to Stabilize Slippery Eggs While Slicing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *