I'm Ashlyn. I'm a news applications developer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I get to tell impactful stories in interesting ways every day – whether it be with color, with code, with data or with design. I'm obsessed with what I do.
Before joining the AJC full time, I earned a bachelor's degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. While in the journalism school, I experimented with entrepreneurial journalism in the Reese News Lab, built an award-winning website in the Galapagos Islands about the Galapagos Islands, and helped to restart the student chapter of the Online News Association. I was also the summer interactive graphics intern at the AJC in 2012.
I love being a news nerd. I'm a big believer in using visuals, data and interactive elements to emphasize narrative and further tell the story, rather than be used to embellish or adorn (I even gave a lightning talk at the 2015 NICAR conference on this subject). Right now, I'm really interested in mobile-focused design, incorporating web audio into visual stories, experimental storyforms, data visualization and visualizing location-based data without using maps. I'm an ENTJ – I'm pushy, I'm passionate, I'm ambitious, I love a good challenge and most of all, I'm crazy excited about the future of journalism.
Outside of work, my tennis leagues, my kickball team and my sassy miniature schnauzer, Sophie, keep me busy. I'm learning calligraphy and I'm working on my mandolin skills. I love Carolina basketball, Carolina beaches, good music and good bourbon. I love to talk – I'm always up for a cup of coffee and a conversation.
Proficient in Node.js, Grunt, Bower, Ruby + Ruby on Rails, MySQL, GIS
Lately I've been interested in... node.js and finding ways to streamline the development process in the newsroom. User-driven and audience targeted graphics + data visualization. Automating large chunks of my development process with Grunt, Bower and grunt-init scaffolding. Building static site generators and grunt plugins to bake out flat files from web databases and Google docs. Bots for journalism!
Over the line: Police shootings in Georgia
Designed and developed the series package and many of the featured stories (Shot at home, 171 shot dead, zero prosecuted, 'This was a murder and it was covered up', Unarmed and shot in the back), as well as the accompanying database and an interactive data visualization that explores the numbers behind the cases. The database will be updated as reporting continues. Site was built with Backbone & Marionette, but Grunt & Node.js were also very involved in the development process. This project uses two Grunt tasks I've built: one task, grunt-google-archieml, bakes out json from Google docs with ArchieML's node.js library and powers the text for the main story, the other, grunt-sql-bakery, bakes out json from a MySQL database containing all of the case information.
How does your income stack up?
Data visualization driven by user input looking at what defines "middle class" in Georgia and the United States. Worked with our summer intern on the project – she did the underlying work on the calculator and data collection, and I built the bar chart outputs with D3 and did all the CSS styling.
Tracking Katrina evacuees after the storm
A half-century of mass shootings in the U.S.
Following the Charleston shooting in June 2015, I worked with our team's summer intern to design and develop this mass shootings package of visualizations exploring a half century of shootings, using data collected by the Stanford's Geospatial Center. I designed and developed everything but the data table and the map.
Women’s deaths add to concerns about Georgia prison doctor
Built out the front-end from a design laid out by my 2015 summer intern. Site was built off our Grunt-powered project template generator, which also used the grunt-google-archieml task I built and generated static HTML pages using handlebars and the json from the Google doc.
Atlanta Forward: By the numbers
Crime in ATL
War in our backyards
Other things I've been working on: I've been building a lot of internal tools lately, for both news app team use and for newsroom reporter & editor use. I've started putting together an AJC digital design guide for the news app team to implement consistent styling that matches our print styles. I've taken a front-end project template built by a coworker that utilized grunt as a task manager and bower as a dependency manager, enhanced the template, and built a grunt-init template generator around it to scaffold out a front-end codebase everyone can use. I've also built two grunt plugins to pull data from external sources and convert to JSON to work with in the project template – grunt-google-archieml parses Google Docs using ArchieML and grunt-sql-bakery connects to sql databases and pulls down json from any tables or views you configure to your grunt project. For newsroom use, I built a tool called QuoteIt, largely inspired by NPR Visuals' Quotable tool (and inspired by their open sourced code), which allows for anyone in the newsroom to create shareable quote images to go with their stories on social media platforms without having to install Photoshop or the AJC brand fonts on their computers.
You can see more of the projects I've been committing to on github.