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

I'm a designer, developer and data journalist. I left conventional newsrooms in April 2021 to start Code Black Media, a digital media consultancy that lives at the intersection of data, design and equity. One year later, I introduced AfroLA, a nonprofit newsroom that covers Los Angeles through the lens of the Black community with nuanced explanatory and solutions journalism.

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, most recently UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

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.

- Questions? Comments? Let's talk.

- Hiring? Visit Code Black Media.

- Want to see how I'm changing L.A. news? Get to know AfroLA.

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 cub 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 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.

- Check out some of my work below.

- Questions? Comments? Let's talk.

- Hiring? Visit Code Black Media.

- Want to see

What I’m about
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.
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 currently co-edit an essay series from LAist, Race In LA, which asks Angelenos how race and identity shape their day-to-day lives. I’m also working with my newsroom on a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategic initiative and coordinating with a cross-departmental team on our website's redesign. I’m especially focused on increased accessibility for impaired and disabled users, and presentation of our special projects and investigations.
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 (archived) to serve our stations' states with more hyperlocal information and data than available elsewhere.
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.
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 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
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

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

Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling
ONA Online Journalism Awards, Winner for “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” 2020

Gather Award in Engaged Journalism, Overall Excellence
ONA Online Journalism Awards, Winner 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

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 done

Fellowships & Professional Development

Solutions Journalism HBCU/Black Press Fellowship :: Year-long fellowship program from the Solutions Journalism Network, 2023-24

Complicating the Narrative Solutions Journalism Trainer :: Completed training in July 2023 (accreditation pending)

Complicating the Narrative Fellowship :: Year-long fellowship program from the Solutions Journalism Network, 2022-23

Meta Journalism Project Scholarship :: Full-tuition scholarship for City University of New York’s Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program, 2022

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

Findlay Fellowship :: Earned Wesleyan College's humanities/social science studies full-tuition scholarship, 2006-10

Mentoring & Coaching

Johns Hopkins Health Policy Research Scholars Career Coaching Program :: Matched in September 2022

IRE Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship :: May 2022-June 2023

Black Media Product Strategy Program :: April-October 2022

Merrill Mentors at University of Maryland, College Park :: Spring 2021-Fall 2022

USC Annenberg Resources & Mentoring Program :: Matched in August 2020

IRE Conference Mentorship Program :: Matched in September 2020

Things I’ve written

Essays & articles

‘You never know what you’re going to get when you call the police to our neighborhood.’
:: AfroLA x The Markup, Dec. 22, 2023

New art exhibits resonate as reminders of what it means to grapple with violence and racism as a Black person in post-George Floyd America.
:: AfroLA, May 29, 2023

AfroLA is a new digital newsroom trying change L.A.’s media landscape.
:: LAist, Sept. 1, 2022

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

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

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

News stories

In the midst of Philadelphia’s ongoing gun violence crisis, some people are asking whether the controversial policing practice stop and frisk is part of the answer. “Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist” is a new podcast exploring that conversation.
:: WHYY, Nov. 15, 2022

In the new Survey of Black Voters from theGrio and KFF, Black voters ages 18-29 are particularly disdainful of President Joe Biden seeking a second term.
:: theGrio, Oct. 29, 2022

A comprehensive theGrio/KFF Survey of Black Voters shows that Black voters understand how important they are as a voting bloc and the power they wield for Democrats.
:: theGrio, Oct. 18, 2022

“We cannot ‘tech’ ourselves out of this pandemic.”
:: Slate’s Future Tense, Aug. 31, 2022

During the pandemic, public interest technology tools, like COVID smartphone apps, were created. Were they worth the effort?
:: New America, July 28, 2022

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

As COVID-19 has spread, so too has economic pain: a slashed workforce, a squeezed city government. How did we get here? And just how bad is it?
:: LAist, May 12, 2020

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

A deep look at 5 years of reports from the Dallas County medical examiner explores how people in Dallas die and what that says about how we live.
:: The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 26, 2018

For the second year in a row, the slate of Academy Award nominees in the four major acting categories don’t include a single minority. We studied the last 20 years of Oscars data, and we found that the nominations are sorely lacking minority representation.
:: The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 25, 2016

*While I reported and produced the graphics for all of the stories listed, these specifically are projects that I pitched, researched and reported, and at times, designed and coded myself outside a content management system.

Things I’ve taught

Colleges & Universities

University of California, Berkeley

University of Southern California

University of North Texas

Towson University

High schools

El Camino Real Charter High School

Nonprofit organizations

Generation Data

Conference/Training Presentations

“Your data is racist...”: What does equitable data journalism look like when the data itself is biased? :: Presented research at the Joint Computation + Journalism/European Data & Computational Journalism Conference in June 2023, Zurich, Switzerland

Hands-on Data Journalism :: Led a 2-hour training session for the Solutions Journalism HBCU/Black Press cohort in January 2024, Online

360-degree Storytelling :: Led a session at the ACP Spring National College Media Conference in March 2023, San Francisco, California

Keynote Speaker :: Journalism Association of Community Colleges SoCal Regional Conference in October 2022, Fullerton, California

#African Burial Grounds Matter and the Importance of Black Medias :: Panel discussion at City University of New York’s Public Interest Tech University Network (PIT-UN) (Un)convening in October 2022, Staten Island, New York

Real Talk with the Women’s Leadership Accelerator :: Panel discussion at Online News Association (ONA) Conference in September 2022, Los Angeles, California

Normalizing Solutions Journalism :: Led a small group discussion at the Solutions Journalism Summit in May 2022, Sundance, Utah

Human-Centered Data Reporting and Visualization :: Designed and led training for the Black News Initiative in partnership with the Center for Community Media in May 2022, Online

Designing for Equity :: Designed and led training for City University of New York’s inaugural Black Media Product Strategy cohort in April 2022, Online

Data for Civic Engagement :: Panel discussion at Knight Smart Cities Lab Conference in July 2021, Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, Colorado

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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