Coding for journalism

Welcome! Thanks for spending the weekend learning something new. We're excited to work with you!

[ I'm Tom. I'm Sisi. Introduce ourselves a bit. ]

Thanks to our mentors

Thank you to our wonderful mentors, from all types of backgrounds, who have donated an entire weekend to come help you. Thanks especially to Daniel Bachhuber and Lauren Rabaino for helping us organize the workshop, including finding mentors, food and a venue.

Thanks to our sponsors

Thank you to Susan Gage and The Oregonian for hosting the workshop, making this room available, and providing laptops for students.

Thank you to Knight-Mozilla Open News, for making it possible to bring so many mentors together, and helping to cover food.

And finally thanks for Automatic, for helping us cover some of our meal costs.

We really couldn't have come to Portland if it hadn't been for these wonderful sponsors.

Three things we want you to do

  1. Work hard.
    Coding can be challenging, and a little frustrating. But the great thing about it is, when you run into a problem, there’s always a solution, if you push yourself to find it. When something doesn’t quite work or look the way you want, that’s okay -- you can figure it out and make it better. (PRESS ENTER)
  2. Ask questions.
    Our extremely generous and talented mentors have donated their Saturday and Sunday to help you. So if you’re stuck, ask them for help. That’s literally why they are here. I get stuck all the time, as do my colleagues -- and often just asking a question outloud helps me find the solution. So ask questions! (PRESS ENTER)
  3. Have fun.
    Coding is awesome. It’s one of the most exciting ways in the world to tell your story, because, If you can imagine something, with code, you can build it. It doesn’t really take a lot of money, or special equipment, or insider access. It just takes your work. And that’s pretty awesome. So let's begin with asking the question, WHAT IS CODE?.

What is code?

"Computers are good at following instructions,
but not at reading your mind." —Donald Knuth

Code is a way to talk to computers.

(Beep boop.)

Think of learning code just like learning a foreign language.

First, we need to figure out what we want the computer to do for us.

Then, all we have to do is figure out how to communicate that want, to the computer, in a language it understands.

Code also has a few dialects

Different coding languages talk to different parts of the computer, and are able to do different things, such as:

  • Create programs for your personal computer, like Photoshop or Excel
  • Create webpages for the Internet

So this weekend, you'll be learning three different coding languages that all help you make webpages for the Internet. Every single thing you see on the web is shaped by code.