Chris Amico

Journalist & programmer


I am heading to MuckRock to work on DocumentCloud. My last day at Gannett was yesterday; I start the new job on Monday.

I’ve been a fan and a user of DocumentCloud since it launched: I got PBS NewsHour into the beta test. I wrote a WordPress plugin (in PHP) to make embedding it easier at NPR – now MuckRock maintains that plugin. I build the Homicide Watch court document library (in javascript) on DocumentCloud before DocumentCloud had a way to embed more than one document at a time. I wrote an integration for USA TODAY and other Gannett sites (in Go).

DocumentCloud has become critical infrastructure for journalism. The developers who’ve worked on it are people whose code I’ve long admired and learned from. Now I’ll have a hand in maintaining it. Needless to say, I’m excited.

At the same time, I’m going to miss my friends and colleagues across Gannett. At five years, it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in one job. I started when the company was first calling itself USA TODAY Network, and figuring out what it meant to be a real network. My favorite projects were those that took advantage of the network, like this one.

My team, the Storytelling Studio, worked in a space between the newsroom and product – faster and more experimental than our colleagues managing the CMS and other infrastructure, more focused on tools and reusability than our friends on the graphics desk. I liked to say that we didn’t fight fires, we built fire engines. It’s a fun and challenging space to work in, and I had the luck of finding one of the best teams I’ve ever worked on.

Much of what I said in my Three Kinds of Code talk at NICAR 2020 comes from what I learned in the first two years with the Storytelling Studio, and using those lessons to reflect on my previous jobs.

I’ll say more about what I learned at Gannett in future posts, but for now, all I want to say is that I’m grateful for everything I got to do there, and especially for everyone I got to work with.

Onward to MuckRock.