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Tom Meagher

News nerd.

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All Posts

2014

U.S. World Cup Roundup for Source

Cross-posted from OpenNews’ Source blog. There are few newsroom cliches more stale than the one that says “every nigh...

All about the WSJ's penalty kicks interactive

Cross-posted from Open News’ Source blog. In the days before the World Cup’s knockout stages, with their potential fo...

Things I never learned at newspapers about making news on the internet

Adapted from a lightning talk I gave at ASNE’s Hacking News Leadership conference in Austin, Texas in May. You can se...

Lessons in open source code management

Cross-posted from OpenNews's Source blog. This piece ran a few days after the closure of my employer, Dig...

2013

Chasing the 8-hour app

Cross-posted from the Sunlight Foundation's OpenGov Voices blog.A few weeks ago, Hack Jersey brought a group of journ...

Diving into data with SPJ

Today, I had a chance to speak at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 1 Spring conference, held at Rutger...

What I learned organizing a hackathon

It all started in September, at the Online News Association’s conference in San Francisco. I crashed the #wjchat part...

Learning to commit to version control

At this week’s computer-assisted reporting conference in Louisville, IRE has me doing double-duty. In addition to my ...

More tips for using OpenRefine

At IRE’s computer-assisted reporting conference this week in Louisville, I am once again teaching a course on using O...

2012

Talking data in the Nutmeg State

Update: In mid-December, I led two days of training in data journalism techniques for my colleagues at the New Haven ...

Not another blinking PDF!

There are few things more frustrating than trying to get a simple spreadsheet from a government agency and being told...

How to get a head count at the parade

This is another in the series of “Best Practices” posts from my archives from the Herald News. This was also written ...

Nerds need credit too

It seems odd in 2012 that in some newsrooms the data journalists don’t get the same kind of credit for their work tha...

Waking from an election results nightmare

Sometimes, especially after a particularly trying election night, it starts to feel like we may be suffering from pos...

Bolstering transparency in our reporting

Back at the Herald News, several of the editors and reporters wrote a regular series of columns for the newsroom call...

Clean data is the best weapon against the monkey insurrection

Updated: I added the link to the rough cheat sheet of handy and common Refine tasks at http://bit.ly/ire12refinecheat...

Checklist to bulletproof your data work

Updated on 6/23: I’ve included, marked by an asterisk, several fantastic checklist suggestions offered by David Donal...

2011

Help Wanted

We have a job opening up on our CAR team here at The Star-Ledger.I’m not even going to try to compete with Matt Doig’...

Hacks, Cops and the Internet

About six months ago now, I started a new job, taking over as The Star-Ledger’s Computer-Assisted Reporting Editor. F...

2010

Story Tips Short And Long

1.Write tight. Maybe the most important thing you can do to increase your productivity without doing more work is to ...

Documents every gov't reporter needs

The way to keep your politicians honest, or even better to prove whenthey’re being dishonest, is to have the right pa...

Advice on covering budgets for local reporters

These notes on how to cover municipal finance and budgeting were compiled from several discussions over the years wit...

Accuracy checklist

The accuracy checklist is intended primarily for beginning reporters ondaily stories, but its reminders can be useful...

Who's minding the goal?

After yesterday’s discussion, some might ask the obvious question: aren’t there already people doing this?I don’t int...

No cheering in the press box

As anyone who’s stumbled upon my Twitter feed can tell you, I’m a soccer fan whose zeal for the sport approaches fana...

Diving headfirst into the social media deep end

A few months ago, I was laid up for a few days recovering from knee surgery. I spent most of the time lounging on the...

The ups and downs of the younger, faster, busier newsroom

Things have been pretty hectic over the last year. The Local News Service is fully staffed and running at full steam....

2009

Moving on

As with many things on this site, it’s taken me a little while to get around to posting this note.In February, after ...

2008

When all eyes are on India

I’ve been trying to get to this post for about a week, but the news cycle has been a bear lately.Here in Passaic Coun...

Getting social networked

After years of hearing about it and after months of hearing friends and loved ones raving about it, I’ve decided to t...

Back to school

The nature of the news business, and the 24/7 demand of following the world of futbol, keeps me more than busy much o...

He didn't know anything.

I read a lot of nonfiction, literary and otherwise, and I recently finished one of the better books I’ve found on Ame...

The kick-off

For those very few of you who have been missing my byline (hi, Mom and Dad!), I have good news. The Herald News’ socc...

Free Barry Bearak

From time to time, you read about journalists being imprisoned in far-off countries for doing their jobs. Only rarely...

Note to self

Before attending a job fair to interview journalism students and aspiring reporters, be sure to update your Web site....

Learning to be a journalist

Some people spend years trying to learn our craft, spending thousands on graduate schools. Others just go where the n...

Maslow mourned

On Tuesday, we lost a colleague and an accomplished journalist when Jonathan Maslow died.Plenty of others have alread...

Must crawl before walking.

I’ve been putting off posting here for weeks, hoping inspiration would strike, or I would suddenly find a bounty of f...

2007

There's always room for another two cents.

While I use Google News fairly regularly–particularly its e-mailed news alerts), I never noticed the new “comments fr...

Uhhh, sorry?

My former colleague Yoni Greenbaum has entered the journalism blogging arena, and he recently added his philosophy ab...

Editing 'Saints of the Storm'

I’ve been out of the daily reporting loop for months now as I fill in as an editor, but I have been involved in one c...

"Hilarious", no sarcasm intended

One of my grammatical pet peeves is the abuse of quotation marks. I see it often in my daily life, but as I’ve been e...

Two skills for the future

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in recent years about the bleak future of journalism in general and of newspapers...

"My dog is better than yours"

From the shameless self-promotion department, here’s a couple of nice stories we ran this weekend that I had a hand i...

A browser for data?

A friend just alerted me to Kirix Strata, a Web browser that will let you work with raw data as you see it on your fa...

Insert bad Cyndi Lauper pun here

Although you probably wouldn’t know it from the minuscule bit of coverage it has received thus far, the Women’s World...

"Let's get this thing rolling."

I once heard an editor compare working in New Jersey to hunting in a game preserve. Much like their cousins in South ...

Unwelcome visitors

In this era of spam and astroturf, not all readers of the blog are the same. I had a new user visit and register rece...

Hey, Jack

For weeks, I’ve been planning this post, my paean to Jack Kerouac and the influence he had (along with the likes of E...

Miss Teen S.C. *hearts* maps

Here’s one good reason why “U.S. Americans” need more good maps in their newspapers and online.(Courtesy of Boing Bo...

Maps, maps, maps

It seems the Internet has done as much for amateur cartographers as it has for budding pornographers.As I promised ea...

The truth in numbers

As the newspaper industry struggles to ensure its relevance in the changing media landscape, there are a few pioneers...

Web to heds: "No more"

In our rush to embrace the Web, it’s interesting to keep in mind some of the limitations the medium could impose on j...

A little reading while I clear my throat

One of the benefits of having no readers is that no one will be impatiently demanding that I have all my ducks in a r...

Growing pains

Please bear with me over the next few days. I’m in the process of moving this site from a free host to my own server....

The data behind a disaster

Amidst the shock and tragedy of last week’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis, journalists around the country embraced t...

Idealistic muckraker

From my old Web site’s bio:There are times when I wonder what I’ve gotten into by becoming a journalist.When I spent ...

Brooklyn reporter eaten by vampires!

I can think of no better way to launch this new experiment in blogging than to sadly note the passing of an icon of A...