Calm down, girl

By on July 21, 2015
This is what basically I tell myself everyday. Calm down, girl. In Portuguese, we used to say “Roma e Pavia nao se fizeram num dia’ (Roma and Pavia didn’t grow up in a day) and that is totally true. If you want to see the things done and learn a lot in just one month, you have to take it seriously but you can’t think that will be done in one week.
At ProPublica, that was the first lesson I have learn. Baby steps, folks. Each line of code, each command, at its time. Every little thing is discussed and planned, with detail. I don’t mean that you should be quiet and do nothing. You must try to make plans and go for it, as many times as you wish. But, as every project here, it takes time to get finished. And, truly, it never is.


For instance, the latest #SurgeonScorecard project, which ProPublica launched last week, took “quite a long time” to finish, Scott says. “A few years, though that wasn’t always full time or always dedicated to the data part.” In the team, there was a tradition reporter, a data reporter and a developer worked on it in a dedicated way. But to launch it, almost the whole newsroom helped. “They don’t happen much but we’ve a very close newsroom and everybody wanted to pitch in”, Scott explains. The work has been fully fair: more than a million page views in the first week after publication.
This is a result of a more than a year work but, mostly, its a #teamwork success.
Scott explains the ProPublica’s secret in three principle rules:
1. Give people help but make sure they have enough confidence to be creative.
2. Don’t put people into small boxes and tell them they can’t do other things.
3. Treat people like journalists and they’ll be journalists.
And, if you want to start making this kind of changes in your newspaper, tv or broadcasting, the first time is to make the decision. I mean, do it. As Lena Groeger from ProPublica wrote in the nerd’s blog, learning how to code must be like a new’s year resolution. “A year ago I didn’t know how to code. I had a journalism degree and had made some graphics, but I would have been hard-pressed to explain the difference between Ruby and JavaScript, and I was pretty happy when I got the YouTube video to embed correctly. I considered myself pretty technical but generally avoided the command line.”, Lena wrote. Actually, most of the people in the newsrooms, they don’t used to code, right? The idea is starting for some point. What are you waiting for?
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