Joe Spurr

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


I'm working to bootstrap a project to illuminate public financial data throughout New England. More info soon.

Previously, I:

  • braided several multimedia approaches to help track the Massachusetts drug lab crisis for Boston's NPR news station. (One Polk-winning ProPublica reporter called our effort "tremendous work" and a new model for covering developing news.)
  • directed a Knight-funded project to cultivate modern online access to local justice systems (which, through landmark state supreme court decisions, concurrently set a precedent for online press rights)
  • piloted the front and back-end relaunch of San Diego's NPR station, (after which average monthly uniques/pageviews increased fivefold to 500k/a million)
  • investigated rampant Tijuana drug cartel murders using interactive XML map layers
  • seeded (then) innovative 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)


I am a web developer, multimedia journalist, and project manager. 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.


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.


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


Check out some of my photography.


PDF / LinkedIn