The driving mission of DFM’s Data Team


Back in November, the staff at Thunderdome gathered together to craft a mission statement (“to empower local newsrooms”) and enumerate our shared values as a news organization.

Not long after that, our fledgling data team started to discuss how we wanted to think about Thunderdome’s mission. Inspired by the agile manifesto and the ethos of other news and data developers around the country, we crafted our own humble manifesto. We’ve posted the text as a repository on our Github account, where we will share any coding projects that we release to the open source community. In the meantime, our manifesto, declaring our values, speaks for itself.


The DFM Data Team Manifesto

As journalists and developers, we believe strong data reporting leads to engaging news applications and empowers our local newsrooms to produce coverage that users want and need.

This belief informs the things we value:

  • deep, contextual analysis and presentation of data.
  • applications with broad regional or national appeal.
  • reusable tools and frameworks.
  • providing our users the best experience and interaction possible.
  • working in close cooperation with journalists around the company and within Thunderdome and training them to bring data analysis techniques into their own daily reporting.
  • openness and transparency, in the subjects we cover and in our reporting and development. To this end, we document our processes, show the work behind our work publicly and share our data and tools with the open source, reader and journalism communities whenever we can.

In a rapidly changing industry, our mission may evolve over time, but our core values will remain at the heart of our work.

Tom Meagher

By Tom Meagher

Tom Meagher is the data editor at Thunderdome, leading a team of journalist-developers who build interactive web applications, support computer-assisted reporting projects in local newsrooms and offer training in data analysis and visualization.

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