I’ll be frank: When I was invited to fly to Saint Louis, MO to interview for a data viz/news developer position at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch by deputy managing editor Bob Rose in January –– a position that, to my recollection at the time, I’d not even applied for — I didn’t seriously think I’d decide to end up staying there if offered a position.
I figured I’d just visit the Gateway City, check off the tourist list, eat some famous STL BBQ, meet new people and generally have a nice weekend away from the sensory overload of Manhattan. What would be to lose, right?
A lot more was to gain, in fact. Or perhaps more to regain, I should say.
My longtime scholarly interest in metro daily news organizations and the important, nearly irreplaceable watchdog function they provide the cities and regions they serve was rekindled almost immediately upon walking inside the pre-war style, drab yet somehow regal complex in downtown St. Louis that the Post-Dispatch & STLToday.com calls home.
Upon seeing the paper’s mission statement from Pulitzer himself emblazoned on the wall, I couldn’t help but snap an Instie:
Attending graduate school, living alone, then with roommates, and working in New York City (and Savannah) intermittently for four years had made me temporarily lose my once-passionate vigor to protect the continued editorial influence these “legacy” organizations in so-called “flyover states” maintain even today in the cities and communities they serve (I disdain both terms in quotation marks). Organizations like The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., where I started as an intern and rose up to general assignment reporter while an undergraduate, or the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News, where I worked as Digital Editor and Digital Media Manager for two years following grad. school. And, yes, the Post-Dispatch, too.
WHAT I WILL BE UP TO IN THE LOU
I’m joining two other graphics and code-literate teammates, Walker Moskop and Josh Renaud, both of whom already have additional job responsibilities, leaving me to be tasked with leading the charge to simplify the newsroom’s print and digital graphics editorial workflows. I’ve already built a few little cool news apps like this one here. And I’ve forked Quartz’s ChartBuilder and customized it to the Post-Dispatch styleguide.
It’s good to be back at a metro daily.