Job news: I’m joining McClatchy DC as a data developer

After nearly five years at The Washington Post, I’m thrilled to start a new job in late September focused on data stories, projects and tools at McClatchy’s DC bureau.

I’ve loved working in the Post newsroom with such fantastic, inspiring coworkers. From starting on health/science and then world/national security production to building news apps/tools and managing local data projects to now producing on Team Rainbow, it’s been an invaluable and rewarding experience.

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.

Thanks for joining me in making him feel welcome.


“Why develop in the newsroom?” Opportunities abound!

“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:

  • analyze data
  • create visuzalizations
  • build interactives
  • develop news applications
  • create platforms and services
  • build APIs

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

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.

Join a newsroom! Apply for the 2014 Open News Fellowship! Apply for the Medill program!

Also, be sure to read the other excellent responses to Dan’s question:

New role at The Washington Post: I’m now an editor working on local projects!

It’s time for a job update! My six-month stint with our newsroom developer team (an internal apprenticeship, if you will) ended in December and a great opportunity quickly presented itself…

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.

Send me your ideas, especially D.C.-area folks!

Highlights from #ONADC meetup about awesome Washington Post projects

The Washington Post (disclosure: my employer) hosted and presented a series of lightning talks for the January 2013 gathering of the Online News Association D.C. meetup group (disclosure: I’m a board member). Below are some highlights I pulled into Storify:

#ONADC meetup: Washington Post projects

The Washington Post hosted and presented a series of lightning talks for the January 2013 gathering of the Online News Association D.C.

Storified by Greg Linch· Wed, Jan 09 2013 11:56:15

About to listen to journalists talk about content management systems, strategy, & stories. #onadc Bonilla
The #onadc meetup is starting to fill up. Journalists pouring in. Bonilla
"The Washington Post is a popular draw. Who knew?" — @mattmansfield #onadcErnie Smith
Packed house for #ONADC meetup: @washingtonpost lightning talks! @ Washington Post – Auditorium Linch
@washingtonpost Three words for 2013 – #mobile, social and video .. So, get ready for a digital future #ONADCAndy Palanisamy
.@jmfbrooks talks up @ONA programs at #onadc at @washingtonpost (feat @jweb) Jenkins
#onadc huge turnout tonight!Jen DePaul
The smart @yurivictor on the stage. "If you’re not tweeting, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life." #onadcErnie Smith
It’s cool that the speaker is reading her presentation from her iPhone but a bit distracting! #onadcNatasha Tynes
Yuri’s post about his presentation after the meetup:
Why The Washington Post uses WordPress | yuri victorThese are the notes from my lightning presentation at #ONADC. See the slides. The Washington Post hearts WordPress and I heart WordPress….
Yuri’s complete set of slides from the lightning talks
#ONADC Why the Washington Post uses WordPresshello#ONADC
View a longer version of Yuri’s presentation about The Washington Post’s use of WordPress at a WordPress DC meetup in fall 2012.
WordPress DC MeetupfathomTV
First up is @yurivictor to discuss "Wordpress as a Platform". #onadc Bonilla
Empathy: "Design starts with people." Build for people. (of course!) #onadcErnie Smith
Next up @yurivictor #ux director at Washington Post. Talking about his love affair with WordPress #ONADCErin Bonilla
Philosophy drives action. Empathize, says @yurivictor about why the @washingtonpost uses @WordPress to be nimble. #ONADCMatt Mansfield
"Enterprise platforms aren’t built for us, they’re built for enterprise people." #PreachIt #onadcErnie Smith
At @ona DC meetup, met some pple w/ very diverse backgrounds. Excited to learn about @washingtonpost digital strategy #ONADCMallory Sofastaii
@yurivictor "Everyone hates their CMS." #ONADCErin Bonilla
@yurivictor I am watching you at #ONADC and loving it!Aimée Chiu
"When there’s less to do, there’s less to screw up." #ONADC #KillBabiesErnie Smith
Yuri is arguing for less in news CMSes. I agree. Keep it simple. Rock what you need to. #onadcPatrick Thornton
. @WordPress does more by doing less – @yurivictor #ONADCMatt Mansfield
@yurivictor at @washpost preaching on philosophy on #wordpress #onadc #ona2013 Hutchins
Is the whole media world moving towards a #Wordpress path? #onadcAhmad AbouAmmo
The @washingtonpost is launching WordPress blogs at a quick clip … two next week. #onadcErnie Smith
Yuri sez: shitty CMSs makes change harder #onadcscottpham
I’m hanging with some cool and really smart people. Learning stuff too! #ONADCJamila Bey
@yurivictor UX guru at @washingtonpost is rocking the stage at #ONADC and evangelizing #wordpress Palanisamy
. @Washington_Post is moving all their blogs to WordPress #onadc #WordPressNatasha Tynes
"It’s much easier to destroy then to create." – @yurivictor #onadcJeanne Brooks
"So many projects fail when you start from nothing." WP gives you a starting point says @yurivictor. #onadc Bonilla
At the @washingtonpost listening to the awesome @yurivictor talk about WaPo and WordPress. <3 #onadcAndrew Nacin
At @washingtonpost’s #onadc meetup. @yurivictor doing a good job justifying WordPress migration.Joe Webster
I love the fact that @yurivictor is so bullish on WordPress. Ditch the enterprise, go WordPress. #onadcErnie Smith
"Always be changing!" ~ @yurivictor #ONADC Bonilla
"Change one thing you dont like with your web site everyday, and in a year, you’ll make a big change" -@yurivictor #ONADCPaul Franz
Looking at the tweets from the #ONAdc meetup! Looks like @yurivictor is dropping great knowledge! @ONA #digitaljournalismShauna Stuart
@yurivictor says: " I <3 WP ( word press) "#onadcJen DePaul
.@yurivictor talks up WordPress as a means to prototype quickly and iterate with ease. WaPo has launched a lot of projects with it #onadcMandy Jenkins
Now up at #onadc, @melissabell talking about @washingtonpost’s slick liveblogging platform. (Hint: built on WordPress.)Andrew Nacin
There is an insatiable curiosity around breaking news. #onadc #agreedErnie Smith
#onadc @washingtonpost is a word press convert (easy iteration, easy for hacks to use, easier to launch products without endless meetings..)Melinda Wittstock
Just because you have one design that works well doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying different things. #onadcErnie Smith
The rapid iterating the @washingtonpost has been able to do is quite impressive, built on smart starting points. #ONADCMatt Mansfield
Experiment. Tweak. Repeat. #onadcAmanda Knowles
Next, @MelissaBell discussing live blogging. Learn by doing. Iterate quickly, make the design malleable. #onadc Bonilla
Was already sold on wordpress, but if I needed more convincing @yurivictor would have done me in #onadcMargy Looney
"It’s not about creating liveblogs. It’s about fully understanding a story." — @MelissaBell #onadcErnie Smith
Fully understanding the story is part of being digital first, building competency as you go along – @MelissaBell at #ONADCMatt Mansfield
Get people involved. Have them write on smaller events so they’re ready for the bigger ones. #onadcErnie Smith
I’m hearing a "failing fast" mentality. @melissabell talks about WaPo working hard to get reporters to live blog. #onadcDennis Bonilla
The backroom ops. That makes @washingtonpost’s live blog humming #onadc Palanisamy
Now @josephjames is talking about the awesomeness that is The Grid. Rapid prototype FTW! #ONADCMatt Mansfield
Really cool presentation by @MelissaBell on how @Washington_Post uses live blogging #onadcNatasha Tynes
It’s about live events, but it can also be about past events. Second screen the focus. #TheGrid #onadcErnie Smith
Listening to speakers at #ONADC, I conclude that journalism in 21st century involves a lot more tech. involvement.. WordPress is at centerAndy Palanisamy
"The Grid" focuses on second-screen data. @josephjames talks about prototyping for specific platforms. #onadc Bonilla
The Grid, by @washingtonpost, is about second screen experience. It’s responsive & adaptive. #onadcShannan Bowen
Design is involved at every level at the @WashingtonPost #onadcErnie Smith
.@josephjames Responsive and adaptive Grid. Fabulous job – glad you did more than just the prototype. #ONADCAimée Chiu
Love seeing how involved design is in @washingtonpost thinking on storytelling. #ONADCMatt Mansfield
My heart stops and silently I say "there is hope" when I see design so well integrated into process. #onadc Bonilla
Theme of the night: WordPress rules especially at @washingtonpost #onadcKaren Cheung-Larivee
Theme of the night at #ONADC: WordPress development.Shannan Bowen
The process that churns out awesome products @washingtonpost .. And WordPress is at the centre of it all #ONADC Palanisamy
Inspiring so far #onadc.Josh Davidsburg
WaPo building upon technical successes to build more technical successes. It should be like that everywhere. #onadcErnie Smith
What can The Grid do? The future is livecasting. #onadc Bonilla
I had no idea that the @washingtonpost grid pages were built on WordPress. Go @josephjames! #onadc (sensing a pattern here…)Andrew Nacin
And tonight’s theme is– #wordpress @ona’s #onadc. @billysab99 @HutchDC AbouAmmo
#onadc is making me miss my wordpress #corepublisherscottpham
WordPress allows us to build on the technology we use everyday. Washington Post Digital #ONADClottie
If you think WordPress isn’t a great platform for building for the future, tonight’s #onadc would prove you wrong.Ernie Smith
@josephjames Wish I could make my WordPress work like that for me. I shall strive to learn more. Thank you! #ONADCAimée Chiu
@yurivictor probably one of the most interesting PowerPoints I’ve ever seen #onadcJosh Davidsburg
Next up, @terri_rupar on Washington Post Politics app for the iPad. #onadcErnie Smith
Hinting at The Grid being used during the inauguration for aggregating audience content is @josephjames. #onadcDennis Bonilla
Wishing we had lots of people to work on anything. @washigtonpost has a great team putting together a great product. #onadcGabrielle Levy
Packed room for #ONADC at the Washington Post. Estepa
Liveblogging begat The Grid. The Grid begat Run, an image-focused section of the WaPo Politics iPad app. #onadcErnie Smith
Showing off the very visual RUN is @terri_rupar. "Looks great and feels great on the iPad." Visual news. #onadc Bonilla
Love "Run" from @washingtonpost on #election2012 … Full-out immersive storytelling. #ONADCMatt Mansfield
Run – photo gallery with stories and video. Very immersive. Great experience for IPad. WashingtonPost digital #ONADClottie
What might work on the iPad might not on mobile. Readers want to hang out, immerse in content on iPad. @washingtonpost grid #onadcKaren Cheung-Larivee
What the photo-focused Run looks like #onadc Smith
Importance of storytelling by trial and error…loving my first #ONADC eventColleen Shalby
Really cool video but who watches @Washington_Post videos? Do they get lost amid the media overload? I wonder! #onadcNatasha Tynes
@NatashaRudnick, Lead Video Editor at The Washington Post discusses a politically focused channel is coming from WaPo. #onadcDennis Bonilla
Video at the Post will really change. There will now be a video channel. WashingtonPost Digital #ONADClottie
All seriousness though, @natasharudnick is offering up some great stuff on the WaPo’s video efforts. #onadcErnie Smith
Same here. Didn’t know #ONADC to be this immersive “@CShalby: Importance of storytelling by trial and error…loving my first #ONADC event”Andy Palanisamy
News*paper*? What paper. No lines between paper, web, video. #onadcGabrielle Levy
@Washington_Post will be streaming live video for the inauguration. More video developments to come this summer. #onadcJen DePaul
Next up, @juliabeizer on the mobile WaPo site. #onadcErnie Smith
. @NatashaRudnick looking forward to seeing how you will fill "the void" – love video storytelling! #ONADCAimée Chiu
Lots of cool @washingtonpost digital projects at #onadc: The Grid, Run, video experiments in the political space… Lots o’ great ideasMandy Jenkins
There is a void in terms of political programming and the new video channel will fill that void. WashingtonPost Digital #ONADClottie
WaPo betting big on video. Looking forward to seeing their approach this year. #onadc Bonilla
"There’s a void in the political (video) coverage." Most women in right side of room nodded in unison. #onadcJamila Bey
"Reading experience was the fundamental goal for us." This should be a goal for mobile. #onadcErnie Smith
Fascinating to learn about the ways WordPress is being used to leverage adaptive digital content. #ONADCAdam Sylvain
College digital eds: look at #ONADC tweets tonight. WashPo presentation has pros salivating about WordPress.David Simpson
Discussing WaPo goals for mobile development is @JuliaBeizer. Here’s her slide. #onadc Bonilla
Mobile contracts affects user population and mobile content #onadcKaren Cheung-Larivee
WaPo sees huge uptake in mobile users when Apple releases a new product. #onadcPatrick Thornton
"Making something show up on the iphone isn’t the same as serving our mobile audience." #onadcscottpham
WaPo experiments with different layouts on mobile. Wonder if they’d go responsive at some point & if it’d translate. #onadcErnie Smith
. @Washington_Post curating different content for their mobile app than their website. Experimenting. #onadcNatasha Tynes
#ONADC so far: WordPress x10000, liveblogging, mobile, video, emphasis on design, rapid dev/testing. Sounds like 2013. Awesome.Millie Tran
Key takeaways from @juliabeizer’s talk about Mobile platform at @washingtonpost #ONADC Palanisamy
"Passive personalization" is a nice phrase. #onadcErnie Smith
Tough to play favorites, but @terri_rupar ‘s multimedia project "Run," for the iPad, might be coolest thing we’ve looked at tonight. #ONADCAdam Sylvain
What’s next for WaPo mobile news platforms? "Article enhancements" should be in bold right? #onadc Bonilla
WaPo’s mobile changes have been huge for me as a reader – love that social and email links on mobile go to a good UX #onadcMandy Jenkins
You know you know a lot of people in DC when #ONADC holds a meet up and your twitter feed wants you to know nothing else but that.P. Kim Bui
"With every statement there is an opportunity to give a comment." #onadcErnie Smith
"What’s next?" Learning about The Washington Post’s mobile web strategy. #onadc #journalism #generalawesomen call me ‘Dubya’
Commitment from @washingtonpost to thinking about users nice to see. Watching @katdowns talk second screens. #ONADCMatt Mansfield
Contextual social data about the debates. @katdowns talks about understanding people’s reaction to video. #onadc Bonilla
Mobile users deserve a unique user experience. #onadcPatrick Thornton
At first, WaPo used @VoterTide for social … then built out similar feature for themselves. #onadcErnie Smith
@washingtonpost partnered with voter tide to add social reaction in presidential debate coverage, making audience part of story #onadcKaren Cheung-Larivee
"Be prepared to clean it and have a backup plan." #onadc Bonilla
Social data is finicky. Have a backup plan. WashingtonPost Digital #ONADClottie
Follow @katdowns and @postgraphics for latest visualization coolness. #ONADCPaul Franz
Three Tar Heels presenting at #onadc. Just so you know. (cc @wilsonandrews and @katdowns )Terri Rupar
Up next @wilsonandrews talks about looking deep into publicly available congress data. #onadc #earmarks Bonilla
Capitol Assets was one of the Post’s best stories in a long time. Great context here. #onadcErnie Smith
Brilliant strategy if you have resources @NatashaTynes: @Washington_Post curating different content for mobile than website #onadcsue robinson
Mind blowing journalism at play in @washingtonpost’s Capitol Assets project. Took 2.5yrs and documented how politicians used earmarks #ONADCAndy Palanisamy
A WashingtonPost project called Capitol Assets found a lot of conflicts of interests in regard to earmarks in Congress. #ONADClottie
Financial disclosure data organized into 109 columns, 535 rows. My brain would melt if I had to deal with that. #onadcErnie Smith
. @wilsonandrews Thanks for sharing how technology and good ol’ investigative journalism can be a great watchdog combo. #ONADCAimée Chiu
The closer: @wilsonandrews talks data viz and being true to the story. Right on. #ONADCMatt Mansfield
Check out @opensecretsdc says @wilsonandrews. #onadcDennis Bonilla
Best presentation from tonight’s #onadc meetup, for both the design of the slides and the energy of the talk: @YuriVictor on WordPress.Jonathan Rick
That the Post managed to visualize it in an efficient, non-confusing way is freaking awesome. #onadc Smith
Final talk: @wilsonandrews talking Capitol Assets investigation. Best part? @dtkeating shout out slide #ONADCGreg Linch
Wapo’s Capital Assets is truly badass #onadcscottpham
Where do your reps invest? @wilsonandrews and the WaPo Capitol Assets system know. #onadc Bonilla
WashingtonPost Capitol Assets project is #awesome. #ONADClottie
Love WashPo’s Capitol Assets. Related: Nate Silver on Reddit today — uses excel mostly. Use excel. Great way to find trends, stories. #ONADCMillie Tran
Wow. @nacin is tweeting at #onadc like i would. Jealous.David Bisset
WaPo uses Multisite for WP instances. However, @yurivictor says "it’s complicated" when talking about standing up new sites. #onadcDennis Bonilla
Good stuff tonight. Some great lessons here. Can you scale like WaPo? Maybe not. But they do scale down. #onadcErnie Smith
"Success is not pageviews." — @yurivictor I’m leaving here right now and getting that as a tattoo. #onadcErnie Smith
Final words from #onadc – "Success is not page views." Cue applause.Amanda Knowles
Best thing i heard today at #ONADC – Success is not about page views!! Take that all you social Media suckas!!Andy Palanisamy
Watch the long tail on your content. Lots to mine from search. Who is the core audience, who is interested in the data? #onadcDennis Bonilla
Key takeaway: "Success is not page views." -@yurivictor #ONADCLibor Jany
@pwthornton @JeremyLittau Had a great time following #ONADC and getting insights in WaPo digital and mobile strategies.Jack Lule
A perfect first #ONADC for my first week at the Post.Hilary Fung
What a great turnout for #ONADC at the @washingtonpost … Thanks to all for attending. See you in Feb. at Nat Geo!Matt Mansfield
I love that #onadc is trending worldwide. @ONA represent!Gene Park
@terri_rupar @wilsonandrews @katdowns Great presentations, fellow UNC alumni! I was at #ONADC but couldn’t stick around to say hello.Shannan Bowen
@greglinch great stuff today at #onadc. Very cool, guys!Ahmad AbouAmmo
Pageviews don’t equal success answer at #ONADC got good audience + Twitter fdbck. Impact is better — let’s measure it! Linch
Thanks again to everyone who came out for #onadc tonight @washingtonpost! Glad we could share the work we love to do.Joey Marburger
Commitment from to thinking about users nice to see. Watching talk second screens. #ONADCJose Washington
Nice to see #NABJ representing at tonight’s #ONADC meeting at @washingtonpost. @jbey @nextgenradio @TMPowell @mthomps @isturgis @yrlambNABJDigital
Thrilled to have several long-distance attendees at #ONADC tonight. Thanks for driving from far-flung places. Glad it was worth it!Matt Mansfield
Great #ONADC meetup last night. The work @dabeard @coryhaik @yurivictor and team are doing gives me hope for the Post.Joe Webster
so great seeing so many friends and so much washington post awesomeness at #onadc last night. great show @tiffanyshack & @mattmansfieldDavid Johnson