Since the early days, we’ve positioned Skift as a travel intelligence media, where the key word is “intelligence.” For us, intelligence means building the right kind of tools and services on top of data, which then translates into insights. That also means close connections with the media part of Skift: data informs our media strategy, media is an insight layer on top of data.
All of this to say that when we started to look for someone to head our data strategy, we didn’t just want a data wonk, we were looking for someone who understand media, information and its intersection with data, and vice versa. Someone who’s built data services and used them to inform and provide insight.
Today we’re announcing our first key data hire: Dan Nguyen, as our new Head of Data. Dan joins us next week from ProPublica, where he was a lead developer, and worked on several of ProPublica’s most complex applications, including the Bailout Tracker and (Stimulus) Recovery Tracker.
He was the lead developer of ProPublica’s most visited and widely-disseminated project “Dollars for Docs“, described as “almost certainly the most extensive journalistic collaboration in American history.” It was a Scripps Howard Award Finalist, won a Netexplo Award, and won Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, among others.
He also created SOPAOpera.org, a Ruby on Rails site site about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act that allowed users to dynamically sort Congressmembers by a variety of variables, including amount of campaign funds received by the
industries most impacted by SOPA.
Last year he wrote the Bastards Book of Ruby, an online book on introduction to programming and its practical uses for scientists, analysts, journalists, and researchers, and anyone else whose job is to seek out, make sense from, and show the hard-to-find data.
And this year, he’s been working on a Bastards Book of Photography, an online book about manual DSLR photography, his original love. He’s also an amazing photographer, go check out his photography on Tumblr and Flickr.
He’s a B.S. in Computer Engineering and B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University, and is based in New York City. You can contact him at dn AT skift.com.