Joe Spurr

I help media organizations use new storytelling methods to inform the public and evolve journalism.

Bullets

I recently braided several multimedia approaches to help track the Massachusetts drug lab crisis for Boston's NPR news station.

Previously, I:

  • directed a Knight-funded project to cultivate modern online access to local justice systems
  • piloted the front and back-end site relaunch of San Diego's NPR station
  • investigated rampant Tijuana drug cartel murders using interactive XML map layers
  • seeded reportage methods used by KPBS during the massive 2007 wildfires acknowledged with an Associated Press Mark Twain award, national meta coverage, and disaster response case studies by Google and Stanford University

About

I am a project manager, web developer, and multimedia journalist. I toggle roles according to what's on deck.

On the content side, my bachelor's and fundamental background is print reporting and editing, which I've been doing since 2000. I cut my teeth reporting local news for The Boston Globe and later covered server setups as a staff writer for an IT magazine. I've since also become a professional photographer, videographer, and radio producer, including recent full-time experience covering the Boston Marathon bombings, producing for Morning Edition, and operating camera for a crowd-funded, feature-length documentary.

I started coding as a blogger who became very curious how it all worked. My father is a software architect and my mother is a community organizer and former nurse. Our shared DNA could explain how my deeper satisfactions usually involve human connection or solving puzzles.

I love music, bicycles, tennis, drums, massage, yoga, and my family — especially my beautiful wife and daughter.

Thoughts

Nothing compares to a well-executed narrative, but I also agree with Clay Johnson that programmers are the new scribes. Cumulative data journalism provides invaluable context over time, and we should all be tilling this soil. Stock and flow both matter (i.e. show your work).

I'm pleased to see the emergence of ventures like First Look Media, The Marshall Project, FiveThirtyEight, and Vox. Nieman Lab gets it. Though it's become noisy, Twitter is still amazing and I'm optimistic about higher consciousness coming through the hive mind.

I think it's important to remember that language has limits, gratitude is key, and we're here to help each other.

Very small teams can do very big things.

Blog

I show some of my photos, occasionally post code, collect quotes, et cetera over here.

Photography

Check out some of my photography.

Résumé

Ask me for a PDF or hop over to LinkedIn.