Last year, we announced an expansion of our data journalism ambitions, with particular focuses on election analytics and weather data.
Since then, the Election Analytics team oversaw the return of the election needle in November, helping millions of readers make sense of the results in real time as votes were counted on election night. The team’s political polls, conducted in partnership with Siena College, earned the label of most accurate from FiveThirtyEight. And with the first presidential primaries quickly approaching, the team is preparing an aggressive plan to make The Times the continued top destination for analysis before, during and after the 2024 election.
The Weather team has tracked blizzards, atmospheric rivers and tornadoes and built bots that can alert our reporters to newsworthy weather events before they happen. Recently, the team soft-launched a new tool — inspired by our personalized coronavirus tracker — where readers can track severe weather in places important to them and receive personalized email alerts.
Today, I’m excited to share some new hires for these teams that will continue our investment in data-driven journalism.
In September, Lindsey Cook joined us on a temporary basis from Newsroom Development and Support, and her project management prowess became indispensable as Election Analytics barreled toward the November election. Now, Lindsey will move into a new role as strategy and operations deputy for Data, reporting to me, and will expand her work to include all groups in the data organization.
Lindsey began at The Times in 2017 as an editor on the Digital Transition team, now Newsroom Development and Support. Since then, she created the popular data training master class and has trained more than 100 reporters and editors on data reporting. She spent a year covering the coronavirus pandemic, first as an embedded data editor on Metro and then as an editor on the coronavirus tracking project. In 2021, she helped to usher in our Newsroom Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan, and last year, worked with Charo Henríquez and Eric Athas to implement D.E.I. goals for every desk in the newsroom. Before joining The Times, she was the data editor for news at U.S. News & World Report.
The Business desk had let us borrow Will Davis — or more precisely, William P. Davis; note the middle initial for reasons that will become apparent later in this note — to run the Elections Analytics for the 2022 election cycle, and I’m thrilled that he decided to stay on in that role permanently.
Saurabh Datar joined Election Analytics just before the November elections as a software developer working on collecting the data needed to power an accurate election-night model. He joined us from WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, where he was an investigative data reporter and reported on topics including civil asset forfeiture and inequities in home loans lending while also building data visualizations.
Before that, Saurabh worked at The Boston Globe, where he worked with the Spotlight team and contributed data analysis and graphics to award-winning projects, including the 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner Blind Spot. Saurabh also worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter-developer and at newspapers and publications in Mumbai. He grew up in India and has a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from VNIT, Nagpur, and a master’s in journalism from Stanford University.
On Weather, Madison Dong joins the team as a graphics/multimedia editor to help create interactive charts, maps and other visualizations that track day-to-day weather and extreme weather events. Madison was recently a data visualization journalist at Axios, creating quick-turnaround graphics for newsletters. Prior to that, she worked as a graphics reporter at The Washington Post, where she designed and built visual stories, including a tracker for Covid-19 variants and an election interactive that won a Society for News Design Award of Excellence. She also interned as an engineer for The Post’s computational journalism R&D lab, where she designed and prototyped an internal newsroom tool for reporters to find interesting locations for election coverage. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University’s journalism program.
And, a second William Davis — William B. Davis — will join the Weather team later this month as a graphics/multimedia editor. This William Davis comes to us from Mapbox, where he was a senior map designer. He’s previously designed visuals for Sun Life, Dow Jones Media and The Toronto Star. Fellow map nerds may appreciate his visualization of every tree in New York City. He will start on May 30.
Welcome and congratulations to all.
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