Recent Work

The United Steaks of America

Slate, 3/10/2014

On Twitter

Who I Am

I'm Chris Kirk. I'm a programmer-journalist working at the intersection of journalism and technology. My mission is to tell stories, and my tools include more than just notepads, pens and cameras. For projects large and small, I aim to push the boundaries of digital journalism and innovative storytelling.

I'm currently the interactives editor of Slate.com. There, I've cultivated a diverse set of skills, including Javascript, jQuery, Tilemill, QGIS, Leaflet, PHP, MySQL, Python, D3, Raphael, SCSS, and CoffeeScript.

My Background

I mean that I knew HTML before I knew algebra. I built my first website as an 11-year-old with a dialup connection and an AngelFire account. After that, I was a sponge for anything having to do with the Web. I made silly Flash cartoons and podcasts to amuse my friends. Instead of selling popcorn at the local movie theater, I earned my first dollars building websites for family friends and fellow students' parents.

I also had a passion for writing and politics, though. That's why I went to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism to study journalism and political science. There, I learned that I didn't have to choose; that, in fact, computer science could apply to journalism, and, what's more, this was a growing field in a shrinking industry.

But I knew it would be important to develop the fundamental skills of reporting. My first journalism internship was for Evanston Now, an online newspaper in Evanston, Ill. I covered a variety of subjects, including crime and city council meetings, and enriched my stories with photography and videos as often as I could. During the school year, I worked for the Daily Northwestern. My work there earned me a First Place award for photo essays in a daily newspaper from the Illinois College Press Association in 2010 and the First Place Multimedia Feature award from the Associated Collegiate Press in 2011.

"He contributed significant product development work to our project, utilizing his technical and journalistic skills. He is smart technically and editorially, he can write everything from Python to PHP to any HTML/CSS you ever need. He's an extremely fast and reliable employee."

– Anthony Moor, Director of Editorial Operations at Yahoo!

I spent the two following summers interning at Yahoo on a team of engineers and journalists tasking with developing new hyperlocal news products. There I collected, managed, curated and strategized content. I used Python to acquire and crunch data about the 210 DMAs. I also built front-page packages viewed by millions of users.

In Fall 2012, I interned at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette building news apps.

What's Next

I'm learing D3, Node.js, and CoffeeScript.