Simple database applications

"Develop simple database applications with photos and maps to let your users
actually find what they’re looking for, or partner with a good third-party
vertical who can."
— That’s from Invisible Inkling and his 10 obvious things about the future of newspapers. All 10 are worthwhile. This is No. 2" "It’s not Craig’s fault."

Inkling (Ryan Sholin) is talking about Craig Newmark and classified ads, but the same point applies to data sets (public teacher salaries, crime stats, guide to golf courses). Hattip to Jeff Jarvis, and his very active Facebook page, for the tip about Ryan.

The Morning Call seems to get it. Evidence: The Morning Call posted 20,000 kennel inspection reports with a story about puppy mills and lax government oversight. More evidence: Chris Krewson was circulating this help-wanted post the other week:

Looking for a data-head with an interest in journalism. The
job’s "Data Editor," a slight rethinking of our old Computer Assisted
Reporting Editor job.

We want someone to acquire and analyze locally relevant data and mash it up.

This person will also build and maintain databases to enhance our news report,
from computer-assisted investigative projects to consumer-focused community
topics. And also participate in news planning meetings to generate ideas for

The ideal candidate would have solid news judgment and some experience as a
computer-assisted reporter or editor. The database editor also would be
responsible to maintain and update the newsroom Intranet, and would train and
assist staff in computer-assisted reporting skills and the Intranet.

This editor needs to be a self-starter and have the ability to juggle both
long-term and short-term projects. Knowledge of computer platforms, PC
applications, Excel and Access and an understanding of networking are required,
as is familiarity with and SQL server. Knowledge of HTML and XML is
required. Experience with PHP/My SQL is preferred. A bachelor’s degree, not
necessarily in computer science, is required, a master’s would be a plus.

If you’re interested, send a resume, work samples or links to your databases to
Terry Rang, deputy managing editor, The Morning Call,

101 N. Sixth St., Allentown, PA 18105,
or e-mail them to

The Knight Foundation and Medill seem to get it, too. That’s why there is now a scholarship program to teach journalism to computer students. (Click for more on the Knight grants.)

Ryan, keep posting. There are people who are thinking about the future, with much the same mindset. Thanks for the succinct list.


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Filed under Business models, DataBank, Web/Tech

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