Dan Nguyen

I’m a developer/journalist for ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news organization based in Manhattan. It’s a job where I’m lucky to get to exercise my journalism, programming, design and photography interests. In my spare time, I like trying out pho joints. My career, besides a summer roof construction job, has mostly been as a reporter and web developer at metro newspapers. My skill set includes Ruby on Rails, PHP, Flash/Actionscript, HTML/CSS/JS, long-form article and essay writing, database analysis, photography, and photo post-processing. My photo kit consists of a Canon 5d Mark II and the 24-70L, 70-200L, and 85 1.2L lenses, plus a bunch of strobes and basic light stand setup. I also use a S90 for random street/party shots. Contact me at dan@danwin.com for freelance work or other interesting collaborations.


How journalists can use JSON to draw meaning from data

JSON stands for “JavaScript Object Notation,” which makes it sound like an esoteric bit of programming trivia that non-Web developers won’t ever have to deal with.

But JSON is neither esoteric, nor does it have to involve programming. It is just a data format that’s easy on the eyes for both humans and computers. This is one reason why it’s become one of the preferred data formats of choice for programmers and major Web applications.

JSON is just structured text, like CSV (comma-separated values) and XML. However, CSV typically is used to store spreadsheet-like data, with each line representing a row and each comma denoting a column. XML and JSON can describe data with nested information; for example, a list of users and the last 20 tweets belonging to each user. JSON, however, is more lightweight than XML and easier to read.

In other words, if someone tells you that a website’s data comes in JSON form, this is great news. Read more


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