One of my first major projects on The Post's tools team was to create a recipes database. This was a project the site and the paper had wanted for a long time, but it never materialized for a variety of reasons, including a disagreement over upkeep and back-filling (one side wanted a complete workflow change, and the other wanted someone else to re-input all the recipes). Eventually, those details were sorted out and the project was green-lighted.
Up to this point, print and web had separate systems for everything from election results to voters and community guides. This was one of our first joint publishing efforts: a system that allowed print and web editors and aides enter and edit recipes and publish them online and in the paper.
As the developer, I was responsible for a lot of the project management: setting interim deadlines, running testing, taking ideas back and forth between both groups and making recommendations about solutions.
It's a pretty straightforward Django app, one of my first. The search engine is probably the most complicated code in the app. I really developed a practical understanding of the DRY-concept with the methods used in presenting recipes internally (Internal preview and CCI export). While much of this app is not that advanced, as one of my first Django projects, it was very much a learning experience, and helped me understand "the right way" of doing things.
I think the admin might be more complex than the code; the editors at the Food section wanted an easy way of changing the recipes based on the number of servings (easily be able to calculate quantities for the user for any multiple or fraction of the recipe). They also wanted to be able to generate a grocery list with the items grouped by section of the grocery story. The admin can handle the data for all of this, but that functionality hasn't been completed. (This launched in mid-2005 in conjunction with the redesign of the print food section. I was pulled onto other projects almost immediately after, and left the group shortly after that, so wasn't able to complete it.)
A breaking news tool example is The Post's victim profiles from the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings. The Metro staff created victim profile pages, adding to them as more information became available. Later in the day, we decided to create memorial pages for each of the victims to allow users to submit comments and condolences. To ensure they were respectful and appropriate, they needed to be moderated. The local staff was planning on recreating these pages in our content management system, which had a commenting system in place. (For some reason, these pages were initially built outside the CMS). The Interactivity editor suggested we build them as a blog, which would give us the moderation missing in CMS comments.
By the end of the day, we had an approach to memorial pages that gave us the ease of creation and administration that we needed, and that gave our readers an intuitive way to grieve, remember and try to understand.
In addition to building out these pages, and training the producers and editors who would be maintaining it, I helped moderate comments and edit some of the copy.
|New York/San Francisco
|Maintain and develop a Wordpress CMS, including developing custom content types and plugins.
|The New York Times
|April 2009-February 2012
|July 2007- March 2009
|Identify and develop new and different approaches to storytelling. Developed and maintained new and existing features for a number of Washington Post Co. Web sites, including washingtonpost.com, Slate, Sprig.com and LoudounExtra.com.
|Editorial Tools Editor
|June 2005-July 2007
|Managed small team of developers responsible for creation and maintenance of internal and external editorial development, from homepage publishing application to elections results system to blog software.
|May 2000-June 2005
|Ran user testing of, helped produce documentation for and trained system still in use, and managed local election coverage. Worked on Inauguration news operations team to bring site tools to fruition, such as School Guide and water quality search. Produced the Metro, Health and Education sections on a daily basis. Served as a weekend home page editor. Evangelized the Web site to the print newspaper. Attended IRE CAR Boot Camp.
|Online Content Editor
|May 1998-May 2000
|Relaunched site with new CMS and redesign, resulting in a 1,500 percent increase in traffic. Created and nurtured a relationship with the newsroom resulting in greater cooperation and higher quality content packages online. Involved in all aspects of the site from creating advertising to updating daily content. Won Editor and Publisher online award for Best Special section for Columbine: Tragedy and Recovery
|Rocky Mountain News Online
|Interactive Content Producer
|July 1997-May 1998
|Responsible for creating, maintaining and developing story packages and new sections. Involved in the redesign and relaunch of the new site. Chose site content and published the site. Developed CMS components.
|Pioneer Press Online
|January -July 1997
|Published network of suburban Chicago news weeklies.
|1993 - 1997
|Graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences in Journalism from Medill School of Journalism with concentrations in Sociology and Political Science.