Hi! I'm Kavya Sukumar.
I write journalism code.
Current gig: @voxdotcom
This site is a work-in-progress.
I am a developer-journalist.
I create news stories. But with code.
Some newsrooms call this kind of work news apps development. Others call it data journalism or graphics reporting.
My job involves convincing people to give me data, analysing that data and then finding and telling stories using visualizations and custom presentation when needed. Sometimes I build tools to make such storytelling easier and faster.
I love writing (and reading) beautiful code. And I love collaborating with other writers and reporters to tell the best possible stories.
I did not always have a hyphenated professional identity.
Once upon a time I was an engineer-with-no-hyphenation writing, what some might call, product code.
Like most other people with creative angst, I had a blog which saw moderate success among friends, family and a handful of strangers. I had always secretly been in love with journalism.
So when I came across a Knight Foundation scholarship that funds tuition for people with technology background to get a graduate degree in journalism at Northwestern University, I applied. After six years in the software industry, I was a student again.
In journalism school, I had a couple epiphanies.
I realized that I did not want to stop coding and that, contrary to my belief, my blog was not very good.
J-school introduced me to the world of possibilities of merging my coding and journalism interests. And suddenly I wanted to do everything. When I graduated, I was a printing press short of wanting to be my own media outlet.
It took me another two years to zone in on exactly what I wanted to do. I adopted the hyphenation and embraced the developer-journalist life.
And now I can't think of anything else I would rather do.
(This section is a work in progress. Trust me. I have built more things.)
A centralized suite of tools to help newsrooms create and manage charts, graphs and other story elements.
An internal tool to help vox.com track and generate maps of insurance sold through healthcare exchanges.
A tool and a workflow for reporters to annotate and explain live text from speeches
Graphics and other storytelling pursuits at vox.com.
Vox Storytelling Studio
Data and web presentations on and off platform. Building tools.
Built Autotune with the editorial products team. I also worked on creating daily graphics with vox.com's graphics team.
Palm Beach Post
Technical leadership for collecting, curating and analyzing data for Post's award-winning investigative team.
Worked on multiple products including Bing Videos, Xbox and MSN games and Bing news.
I have spoken at and have lead workshops at more than 15 conferences including the ones below
I have lost more awards than I have won. Below are a few of the ones I have won.