Developer explains why it's more fun to work at a newspaper than Google

Chicago Tribune

Abe Epton shares what he likes about working for the Chicago Tribune's news apps team after five years at Google News:

I think people interested in code and civic society should really think about joining a newspaper -- yes, a newspaper (or any media outlet) -- in 2013.

... It’s comforting to know how hard it is to break something at Google, but it’s frustrating to wait forever before anyone ever uses your code. At the Tribune, I had some Javascript running in public by the end of my first week. And I barely know Javascript, but the demands of a continuous news cycle require a lot of flexibility, which also means a lot of variety in what you work on.

... But what’s most exciting to a politics geek with some coding experience is how immense the opportunity is. Millions of people will read the stuff being written across the cubicle aisle from me, and the technical infrastructure that supports it is as primed for disruption as any I’ve ever seen. And no matter how dire the state of the journalism industry (by the way, it’s not as bad as you probably think it is), more people are reading the news than ever before.

Journalism is in the midst of being reinvented, and the products built in newsrooms like this one, all across the country, will wind up driving public debate and understanding about important topics for decades to come. I look forward to being a part of the transformation.

Earlier: Developers explain why they like to work in newsrooms | How to communicate with your data team | How journalists and programmers can collaborate more effectively.

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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