Tool of the week for journalists – Codeacademy, for those who want to start to code

Tool of the week: Codeacademy

What is it? Free tutorials in basic JavaScript

How is it of use to journalists?  The rise in data journalism, an interest in Hacks/Hackers meetups and collaboration between journalists and developers has led to many journalists to express a wish to start coding. But where to start?

Codeacademy is a learning tool that offers tutorials to get you started. So far there are only a couple of courses on the site but they are free and superbly designed.

The homepage gets you to begin entering a bit of JavaScript and you soon find yourself progressing though the tutorial. There is a progress bar to show you how much of the course you have completed and reward badges to give you the equivalent of the teacher’s gold star.

You might well find you quickly learn simple JavaScript that has a useful application for you as a journalist. For example, within the first five minutes you learn that writing “.length” at the end of a word or phrase gives you the character count. You can then open an editor (using Chrome from a Mac the command is ALT+CMD+J), paste the headline of a news story, add “.length” and you will have the character count of the headline.

 

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