[ dana amihere ]
designer. developer. data journalist.
Who am I?
TL;DR
The Backstory

I'm a designer, developer and data journalist. I recently left conventional newsrooms to start Code Black Media, a digital media consultancy that lives at the intersection of data, design and equity.

I previously worked in data reporting, interactive design and news apps development for KPCC, The Dallas Morning News, Pew Research Center and The Baltimore Sun. I've taught data journalism and interaction design across the country at conferences and colleges, and I currently teach at UC Berkeley.

I have a passion for finding the human stories behind the data points, digital storytelling and creating compelling news experiences for audiences. I have won numerous awards for my data visualizations and interactive stories.


Check out some of my work below or drop me a line with any questions or comments. Visit my business website, CodeBlackMedia.io, if you're interested in hiring me.

I’ve been working as a data journalist, developer and designer for nearly a decade. In a previous lifetime, I was an intern and aspiring foreign correspondent who covered Congress during the Obama administration and a reporter covering the Maryland statehouse. I was also a freelancer for a community newspaper — writing about everything from increased interest in adult ballet to 17 hours shadowing an EMS crew on a Saturday night — for 50 bucks a story to make rent.

I’ve tried out just about every role in the newsroom, at some point or another, as a student, intern or working professional. I’ve done weekend social media shifts (which I sucked at) and copyedited and done print layout.

I’ve terrorized colleagues who've grown to be dear friends from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. to Dallas and, now, Los Angeles. I completed my undergraduate studies at Wesleyan College, where I was the editor of the humble student newspaper (the school had no journalism department) and earned my Master’s of Journalism degree from University of Maryland, College Park.

But I don’t think anything could’ve prepared me for where I’ve found myself at this point in my career. I teach, I get to code cool stuff, I edit and lead awesome projects — and I get paid for it. I love every minute of it, and I wouldn’t change a thing.


Check out some of my work below or drop me a line with any questions or comments. Visit my business website, CodeBlackMedia.io, if you're interested in hiring me.


What I’m about
ENGAGEMENT
I've worked extensively on community engagement efforts around the 2020 Census with an emphasis on hard-to-count groups who might lose valuable federal funding if they're not counted. I've written and developed work for LAist, and been a guest on KPCC's airwaves to discuss the importance of an accurate census, especially in marginalized and BIPOC communities. I also led a data training for in-language ethnic media outlets, and published resources to help others use census data effectively.
DIVERSITY
My editorial, data and design work reflect my commitment to telling the often unheard stories of marginalized communities, like the homeless, poor, racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants. I co-edited an essay series from LAist, Race In LA, which asks Angelenos how race and identity shape their day-to-day lives. I worked with KPCC's newsroom on a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategic initiative and coordinated with a cross-departmental team on LAist's website redesign. I'm attuned to increasing accessibility for impaired and disabled users, and presentation when producing projects and investigations.
COLLABORATION
I have a proven track record of collaboration with other people and organizations to produce good journalism. I was instrumental in the technical logistics behind the establishment of the California Reporting Project, and I continue to play a role in the group's goal of creating a database of the state's cops who've used excessive deadly force. I was also part of a four-person team of women from public media organizations who came together to build a COVID-19 tracker to serve our stations' states with more hyperlocal information and data than available elsewhere.
UI
I aim for a clean aesthetic when it comes to creating a user interface. I want the reader to be enthralled with the story, not caught up in the frills and fluff of extraneous design elements which don’t augment or complement the storytelling.
UX
An engaging user experience is tantamount for me as a designer and developer. I don’t want to just attract readers to a story online; I want to engage users in a immersive storytelling experience that enhances their understanding with visuals and audio to make an emotional connection.
DATA
Data reporting and visualization are areas in which I believe I excel. Not only can I find and organize data, but I can also visualize patterns and trends as a story. Consequently, I’m able to work not only as a designer and developer but also a content producer.


Icons via Noun Project (MRFA, Sumit Saengthong, Adrien Coquet, Attilio Baghino, Aneeque Ahmed, mikicon)
Things I’ve made
Graying California
The block that Prop. 13 built
Tuition tracker
Public housing inequality
Race for the Oscars
#BlackAtSMU
How I do it
Things I’ve won

News Documentary - Large Market Radio
Radio Television Digital News Association's Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” 2021

Print/Online Division II Winner
Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” 2020

Audio - Large Category Finalist
Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” 2020

ONA Women's Leadership Accelerator
One of 26 women selected from a competitive pool of nearly 300 applicants to join Online News Association's 2021 cohort.

Small/Medium Newsroom Winner
Online News Association's University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism for “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” 2020

Winner
Online News Association's Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling, Use of Audio Storytelling for “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” 2020

Winner
Online News Association's Gather Award in Engaged Journalism, Overall Excellence Several projects including “Facing the music: The Uncertain Future of the Orange County School of the Arts” 2020

Multimedia - Large Market Radio
Radio Television Digital News Association's National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Graying California: Profiles of Aging in the Golden State,” 2020

Feature Reporting - Large Market Radio
Radio Television Digital News Association's Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for “Protesters Killed A Plan For A Koreatown Homeless Shelter. But That's Just The Beginning Of The Story,” 2020

Multimedia - Large Market Radio
Radio Television Digital News Association's Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for “Graying California: Profiles of Aging in the Golden State,” 2020

Free Speech & Open Government Award
First Amendment Coalition for The California Reporting Project, 2019

Best multimedia package - 2nd place
Southern California Journalism Awards for Voter Game Plan 2018 elections coverage, 2019

Excellence in Innovation
Radio Television Digital News Association's Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for “The Block that Prop. 13 Built,” 2019

Best News Public Affairs Program
Radio Television Digital News Association's Golden Mike Award for “Collateral Damage: A Look At How California And Los Angeles Prosecute Sex Trafficking, And Who Really Pays The Price,” 2019

Michael Brick Storytelling Award
Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for “Almost Famous,” 2018

Star Online Package of the year - 2nd place
Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for “My Aryan Princess,” 2018

Award of Excellence
Society of News Design for “My Aryan Princess,” 2018

Newsroom Award for Digital Design
The Dallas Morning News for “My Aryan Princess,” 2017

Idea Lab Fellowship
The Dallas Morning News, research and teaching at University of Texas-Austin that culminated in a news project on public housing inequality, 2016

Newsroom Award for Alternative Storytelling
The Dallas Morning News for “Dallas Police Ambush in Pictures,” 2016

Single-Topic News or Feature award finalist
Education Writers Association for “#BlackAtSMU,” 2016

Print/Digital Feature News award finalist
NAHJ Journalism Awards for “#BlackAtSMU,” 2016

Outstanding Newsroom Performer
The Baltimore Sun for Voter Guide, 2014

Best Use of Interactive Media - 2nd place
Maryland-D.C. Press Association for “Top 20 Ravens Moments,” 2013

. . .

NOTE: Many of these awards were collaborative efforts for which I fully acknowledge the work of my colleagues and teammates.

Things I’ve written

Struggling to find peace within my personal divisions — as a black woman, journalist and wife of a white man — following the past few months of police brutality and protests.
:: LAist, June 5, 2020

How to find and address common blind spots around equitable news coverage
:: Source, Dec. 12, 2019

Part of the Engagement at KPCC series
:: Medium, Nov. 18, 2019

New data is a “roadmap” of the opioid crisis unfolding across America
:: LAist, July 22, 2019

The 2020 Census had problems looooong before the citizenship controversy
:: LAist, June 26, 2019

Parachute reporting can damage community ties and miss the bigger picture
:: Source, April 15, 2019

If your newsroom hasn’t made the switch to responsive design, it’s time to get moving
:: Source, April 20, 2017

Where you live can determine how you live.
:: The Dallas Morning News, April 13, 2017

The secret lives of data points, and how journalists can reveal them
:: Source, Jan. 25, 2017

Things I’ve taught

Interactive Narratives :: Graduate level course taught at University of California, Berkeley in Spring 2021, 100% Online

Recognizing bias :: Implicit bias presentation for BuzzFeed (non-newsroom) staff in December 2020, Online

Intro to Data Journalism :: Graduate level course taught at University of Southern California in Fall 2020, 100% Online

Recognizing our blind spots :: Implicit bias presentation for BuzzFeed News staff in August 2020, Online

Python Coding for Data Journalism :: Undergraduate/graduate level course taught at University of Southern California in Spring 2020, Online 2/3 semester

Journalism Capstone Project :: Graduate level course co-taught at University of Southern California in Spring 2020, Online 2/3 semester

Thinking beyond your newsroom: The 2020 Census :: Session co-led at SRCCON:LEAD 2019, Philadelphia, PA

Census 2020 data training :: Led hands-on training for community, ethnic and in-language media partners in November 2019, Pasadena, CA

Graphic lies and misleading with data :: Presentation to Multicultural Summer Institute students at Occidental College in July 2019, Los Angeles, CA

Creating data visualization to tell better stories :: Led hands-on training for APME NewsTrain 2019, Albuquerque, NM

A playbook for reporters interested in reaching people at risk of being undercounted :: Session co-led at SRCCON 2019, Minneapolis, MN

How newsrooms can start thinking right now about community coverage around Census 2020 :: Session at M3: Machine learning, migration, mountains journalism "unconference" hosted at the University of Denver in May 2019, Denver, CO

First Graphics App :: Workshop at 2019 National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference (NICAR), Newport Beach, CA

Use data visualization to tell better stories :: Hands-on training for APME NewsTrain 2018 at University of North Texas, Denton, TX

Data Reporting: The Ultimate Lie Detector :: Panel at National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention 2018, Detroit, MI

Managing the “blind spots” in community news coverage :: Session taught at SRCCON 2018, Minneapolis, MN

Data Reporting and Visualization :: Undergraduate course taught at University of North Texas in Fall 2018, Denton, TX

How Much Does College Really Cost? :: Panel at 2018 Education Writers Association (EWA) National Seminar, Los Angeles, CA

Celebrate Mayborn :: April 2018 roundtable mentoring event for undergraduates, Denton, TX

Digital Media :: Undergraduate course taught at University of North Texas from Fall 2017 through Fall 2018, Denton, TX

First Graphics App :: Workshop at 2018 National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference (NICAR), Chicago, IL

Data Blitz :: Panel at 2018 National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) Conference, Chicago, IL

#BlackatSMU: Covering Racial Inequality on Campus :: Workshop at 2017 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention, Dallas, TX

The Art of Multimedia Storytelling: The Aryan Princess :: Panel at 2017 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, Grapevine, TX

Just Enough Django :: Workshop at 2017 National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference, Jacksonville, FL

Practical Data Viz in JavaScript :: Workshop at 2016 National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) Conference, Denver, CO

Interactive Graphics for People with No Free Time :: Workshop at 2016 National Association of Science Writers Conference, San Antonio, TX

Digital Publishing :: Undergraduate course taught at Towson University from Fall 2014 through Fall 2015, Towson, MD