After two days of doing a design sprint brainstorming about a tool that could help journalists learn webmaking, we decided to go right to the source for help. We invited about a dozen journalists to join us for a conversation today. We lucked out and got a fantastic group of professionals with a variety of different skill sets and backgrounds. Journalists showed up representing tons of different orgs, including: New York Times, Forbes, Gotham Schools, NYU Journalism Institute, Mashable, NYU ITP and the Huffington Post.
The main question that we asked this group was: "What do they you to make on the web?"We had a range of responses to this question. There we are a lot of answers in the categories of data manipulation, data visualization, interactives, and text based interactives.
"There areWe delved into an interesting conversation about what journalists need to know in terms of learning about the underpinnings of webmaking. Many participants talked about wanting to learn skills that actually fall into the category of "design thinking."
Mentorship and peer based learning was another topic that came up. One participant admitted to the group that he had signed up for CodeAcademy because of "social peer pressure" but then is now in the position where he has 6 untouched lessons in his inbox. This is because the great myth about something like CodeAcademy is that you are doing it with your friends. You signed up because your friends tweeted about it and you got all pumped up and signed up together- but then you are at home by yourself at the end of the day- not coding. Another participant talked about how she and a friend got a book and together followed all the steps to learn Python. After a month or so, they hired a "geek" to ask questions. We talked about how there are online communities for that like Stack Overflow or Quora- but these are often intimidating communities where a journalist would never think to go.