I met Courtland a couple weeks ago when we both served on a panel at Cronkite Days, the J-School’s homecoming event. Our topic was about how the Cronkite School prepared us for our careers and some of the changes that have occurred over the years. Listening to Courtland describe his job as the Data Visualizer Beat Journalist for ABC15, I just knew we needed to feature him here on the blog.
So Courtland, give us the 4-1-1.
My name is Courtland Jeffrey and I currently work at ABC15 in Phoenix as their Data Visualizer Beat Journalist. In this position, I create visual, interactive content (maps, charts, timelines, infographics and more) for the web and for broadcast use.
Simply put, my job is to engage the reader with content that can better visually explain aspects of a story.
After discovering that I was passionate about journalism in high school, I decided to attend Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to tackle their four-year combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program. My initial intention was to pursue broadcast production, but I soon discovered data reporting and data visualization, which combined three of my favorite things: storytelling, numbers and technology.
When I graduated in May of this year, I knew that my passion was exploring new ways to visually tell stories. The only issue with this focus, that still holds some truth today, is that there are very few jobs remotely related to data visualization.
That issue made finding my current position at ABC15 so awesome; the news station recently had created this brand new position that focused on data visualization (A.K.A. exactly what I wanted to do).
I strongly believe that the next evolution in journalism falls in new media formats, like interactive content. Every week I come across new interactive tools, innovations and ideas that can drastically improve the storytelling experience and furthers my resolve.