[Chicago] ANN: Journalism scholarships for coders

Allan Spale allan2600 at gmail.com
Sat Jan 17 00:36:24 CET 2009

Hi Mr. Gordon,

My name is Allan Spale, and I am evaluating if I should apply to the Medill
School program.

To give you some background about myself, my training is in computer
science. I received a bachelor's of science in February 2000, a master's
degree in December 2002, and even tried my hand at a PhD in computer until
May 2005. During my graduate school years, I worked at the Electronic
Visualization Laboratory, a computer graphics research laboratory at the
University of Illinois at Chicago (http://www.evl.uic.edu). There I worked
with new media artists and scientists as we explored areas of large scale
data visualization and collaborative environments and displays as well as
novel means of interacting with computer graphics. Here are just a few of
some of the projects I worked on: (SAGE:
http://www.evl.uic.edu/cavern/sage/index.php, Access Grid:
http://www.accessgrid.org/). Some of my interests included data
visualization and user interface design.

After leaving the PhD program, I spent a couple of years doing IT work at
UIC, and then left my position to pursue starting a software consulting
business around a system I was designing called Kaleidoscope. This system is
designed to help people organize and share data of any size in new ways in
addition to reacting to changes in data. Put more simply, think of this as a
personalized content management system. For instance, a simple word
processing documents can have different views that include grammatical
parsing, visual formatting, annotations, etc. Elements from these different
views can be interlinked similarly to how hyperlinks link text except that
these links can connect items together according to a categorical or
property relation. Unfortunately, I was unable to surround myself with a
team of developers and business people (and of course, funding), so I was
unable to continue developing the project and have been job hunting since
the fall. Someone recently told me that this system might be a good fit for
use with newspapers, and I think that this is true.

So, for now, I am trying to find a job and doing part-time work where I can,
but I am intrigued by the degree. If I did apply, I looked at the website
and am concerned about the application deadline for summer. It was not
exactly clear to me when the deadline was because only the early deadline
was posted. I also am a little leery about the GRE because I have not been
in school for years and am not a good test taker. More importantly, I do not
know if this is really the right path for me, so if you have any feedback
based on my brief overview of the work I have done, it would be greatly

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.


On Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:29 PM, Rich Gordon <richgor at northwestern.edu>wrote:

>  Chicago Python folks:
> Please forgive the interruption, but your group's leadership thinks this
> announcement would be of interest to some folks on your list:
> The Medill School at Northwestern University, one of the nation's top
> journalism schools, has a unique opportunity for skilled
> programmer-developers: full scholarships to attend our one-year master's
> program.  The scholarships, financed through a grant from the John S. and
> James L. Knight Foundation, cover tuition and expenses.  Students can enroll
> starting in June or September 2009, or January 2010.  (The program may be
> extended beyond then, but we won't know that for a while.)  You can learn
> more about the scholarships on our Web site at <
> http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/admissions/page.aspx?id=58645>.
> Why are we doing this?  Simple.  The world of media and journalism is
> changing rapidly.  People who understand coding and journalism are in great
> demand now -- at traditional media companies as well as startups.  Newsrooms
> want journalists who can help figure out the best way to present data-driven
> stories on digital platforms. Media companies want people who can build
> better systems for news production and distribution.  Startup companies want
> developers who understand how people use and consume information. And there
> are endless opportunities to create new digital products that engage
> audiences with information they need to be citizens.  With programming
> experience and a master's degree from Medill, the scholarship winners will
> be perfectly positioned to help invent the future of media and journalism.
> For a programmer's perspective, read this Q&A I did with the first two
> scholarship winners: <
> http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2009/01/two-coders-head-off-to-fix-journalism015.html>.
> What scholarship winners do: For the first three calendar quarters, they
> study the craft, culture and process of journalism – reporting, writing and
> storytelling – as well as choosing from a variety of elective courses.  In
> their final quarter, the "programmer-journalists" enroll in one of our
> innovation courses, in which they collaborate with other master's students
> to invent something new and relevant to journalism and media.  The team
> including the first two scholarship winners just wrapped up by launching
> News Mixer (<http://www.newsmixer.us>), a site designed to engage young
> adults in conversation and interaction around the news.  You can read more
> about News Mixer at <
> http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/studentwork/archives.aspx?id=110531>.
>  (And check out the reaction the project has been getting:  <
> http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2009/01/news-mixer-generates-widespread-interest005.html
> >.)
> Last week I attended the ChiPY meeting in downtown Chicago and made a brief
> announcement about the scholarship program.  If you'd like to hear more
> about it at a future program, please let me and Brian Ray know.  And if you
> were one of the members who talked to me after the meeting and haven't been
> in touch with me since then, please let me know.
> Any questions? Feel free to contact me: richgor – at – northwestern.edu,
> or the phone number below.
> Rich Gordon
> Associate Professor, Director of Digital Media in Education
> Medill School, Northwestern University
> 1870 Campus Drive
> Evanston, IL 60208
> (847) 467-5968
> _______________________________________________
> Chicago mailing list
> Chicago at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/chicago
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.python.org/pipermail/chicago/attachments/20090116/8815b94d/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the Chicago mailing list