Emma Carew Grovum

Journalist. Baker. Cook. Lover of pandas. Enthusiasm for the places where great journalism and technology collide, diversity in the media, excellent bagels, Apple products, Star Wars film trilogy, Korean barbecue and walking the fine line between coffee and tea. Also found at the helm of www.foreignpolicy.com & http://diversify.journalismwith.me
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When President Obama named his Ebola czar last week, I worked parallel to our breaking news reporter David Francis on this clip.

As he reported and edited the text, I worked to compile the information for a Profiler interactive. 

Video, slides and resources from my talk at the Online News Association conference in Chicago. Co-presented with Jessica Plautz of Mashable.

Slides:

ona14slides

Slides and resources from my talk at the Asian American Journalists Association conference in Washington, D.C. Co-presented with Jenny Ye of WNYC.

AAJA14slides by Emma Carew Grovum

As part of the Midfield General blog for FP’s World Cup coverage, I oversaw the scope, editing and development of this newsapp. 

Ahead of the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, I worked with our Tea Leaf Nation team to create this interactive map, showing the spread of protests across China.

I spent the weekend with a really wonderful organization called Chicas Poderosas, mentoring the hack sessions and soaking up the goodness of interactive storytelling, data journalism and Miami sun. 

This was the first time Chicas held a workshop in the U.S. — previous events having been based in Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica. The events bring female journalists from Latin America together for an intense weekend of learning, empowerment and hacking/making. 

Chicas Poderosas is convened by Mariana Santos, and the common phrase throughout the weekend was, “Mariana asked me if I would help her, and here I am.” She has collected an impressive band of journalists, speakers, designers, hackers, and overall inspiring people.  

I was challenged by my extreme lack of Spanish-speaking abilities. “Lo siento,” was my go-to response. Every journalist who presented absolutely blew me away with the work they had been doing. I feel so fortunate to have been invited to join this community of amazing journalists and inspiring women. 

Some of the speakers challenged us to think differently about content and design, like Amanda Wilmer from ASOS. Others spoke of their work since the previous Chicas events, like the team from La Tercera. We nerded out over hardware and AR for journalism with Robert Hernandez, and iteration for interactive storytelling with Alistair Dant

During the hacktime/maker hours, I worked on a team that created a small site examining the U.S. state laws governing the ownership of exotic animals. I used Google Fusion Tables to quickly build two maps, but tinkered around with the in-line CSS to stylize the info windows a bit (above).

In addition to meeting journalists and technologists from all around the world, I also got to spend time getting to know journalists from my immediate circles: people I had either met previously but never spent extended time with, knew casually through Tech Lady Mafia, or who are already based in DC but had not met. I am as excited to continue those relationships post-Chicas too. 

Ultimately, what I loved about Chicas was the common theme of the weekend: that women should be part of technology in journalism and the future of innovative storytelling, and that it was worthwhile to empower women in those roles in newsrooms. I’ve come away from the weekend not only excited about what I can learn next, but feeling inspired and confident in the skills I already have. 

Huge thanks to Miranda Mulligan for inviting me in (shoutout to the TechLadyMafia for connecting us originally!), and of course to Mariana for having the vision to build Chicas into something bigger.

Today the John S. Knight International Journalism Fellows for 2014-15 were announced, and Mariana was among them. I’m really looking forward to seeing how she uses her fellowship to sustain and continue growing Chicas Poderosas. 

Between the two of them I learn at least one new thing every day.

A Peek Inside Kelsey Proud’s Digital Life | NPR Digital Services

So kind of my friend Kelsey Proud to include me (and Jake!) in her list of “three people you follow online regularly” for NPR’s My So-Called Digital Life feature. 

Also very honored to be lumped into the same category as social media greats Jen Lee Reeves and Luke Runyon

Happy third birthday to the Tech Lady Mafia

I joined TLM 15 months ago at the urging of Amy Webb, who had just hired me to do some social media engagement for her book, Data, A Love Story

Before Amy suggested it to me, I had never considered myself to be in a “tech” career. This was only the first way TLM would change the way I viewed myself. 

When I’ve doubted my skills or felt down about myself, the TLM network has been there to convince me otherwise. They gave me a name for those feelings: impostor syndrome. 

I describe the summary of the changes I’ve seen in myself as a significant decrease in the amount of bullshit I’m willing to accept: from others, in general workplace environments, in personal situations, and just from life overall. 

Through TLM, I’ve met fabulous friends (including one who is dating a high school classmate), gotten advice and encouragement from some real idols, and watched my confidence in my skills and my career grow. 

We’ve still got a long way to go in terms of gender parity in tech fields, my own, online journalism, included. I look forward to seeing what the next three years of TLM’s influence will bring. 

My rambling thoughts for this month’s Carnival of Journalism

When I look back at my experience in student media from 2005 through 2009, I know I had it better than most: we were entirely student-run, had a generous budget for most of my time there, published five days a week, and took advantage of the amazing network of alumni we had in the area for training opportunities. 

Still, things could have been better. I spent three of my four years at college (freshman, junior and senior years) focusing on reporting—and I learned from that experience than I did in all four years of J-school combined. But like most professional newsrooms, those were the years we were struggling to adapt to a modern, digital-first strategy. 

I’ve long criticized my J-school at the University of Minnesota for being behind the curve. The “web publishing” class I took senior year taught us how to use Blogger. There were no opportunities to learn how to build an online portfolio or data visualizations. One class was offered for computer-assisted reporting at the graduate level and I had to beg, borrow and steal to get myself a spot in the class as an undergrad. From what I can tell, shortly after I graduated, they appeared to get their act together.

Recently, Matt Waite, professor at Univ. Nebraska-Lincoln, put forth his concept of the “minimal viable participant,” or the base skills anyone looking to enter journalism must have. To his list of four: Tell stories, understand the internet, learn, execute on ideas, I wrote that I would add collaboration:

      “Journalism has always been a team effort: behind every bylined story there were editors, copy editors, page designers, graphics editors, etc. whose hands touched the story before hitting the final product. 

But collaboration now and in the future means looking beyond the confines of the newsroom and asking how you can work your leadership, business team, marketing team, and audience to make a better news product. 

The attitude of “I’m only a reporter” or “I just make the pictures” is rapidly falling out of vogue and will be of little use in the newsrooms of the future.”

Student publications should be a playground, the place where you stretch your wings and the place where you fall and scrape the shit out of your knees. In addition to professional internships, where assignments come from editors and students are asked to work within an established newsroom system, students need to use their time at campus publications to innovate and create new systems. Being completely student-run felt like fun at the time, but looking back, I wish we had had a voice of reason and a guiding hand to help us reign in the crazy but also push us toward the awesome.

I’ve often said that graduating in 2009 meant that most of us came out of school not only wanting to be great journalists, but also to help save it a little. Student publications need to give our rising stars those opportunities.

When I meet students who are working at their student publications, my question for them is always this: what are you doing that’s extraordinary?

For me, it was fighting with the university to get them to release the salaries of every employee in the system. And it was spending six weeks finding young survivors of breast cancer to tell their stories and being invited by one to witness her breast augmentation surgery. It was skipping school for three weeks straight to cover a criminal trial from start to finish.

 Students today have a daunting task ahead of them: mastering base journalism skills, like reporting and storytelling, while also tackling digital skills, like coding and data visualization. They’re being asked to do more and more with those four years, which is excellent preparation for when they land in their first newsroom.

Today’s (and future) student newsrooms need to focus on innovation and collaboration. Students need to break out of the “backpack journalist” mindset and learn to leverage their strengths against those of their teammates.

I would love to see student publications require all staff to spend their first year rotating through different positions in the newsroom: copy editing, web desk, visuals, multimedia, etc. And I believe student publications benefit from having the involvement of a professional journalist on some kind of advisory level. We joked about our newsroom being “Kid Nation,” but there were definitely times when it wasn’t a joke, and things really did feel all Lord of the Flies.

But the end game is this: students need to graduate with a deep and diverse portfolio, which many are failing to do. Stories about the Math department offering free pizza on the lawn and canned classroom exercises aren’t enough to instruct the next generation of journalism. Publication and creation must be mandatory for students graduating with a journalism degree. 

Big thanks to Allison Skinner (@askinneruga on Twitter) for putting together this Storify from my ONA13 session.