Like Alice in Wonderland

So I've been coding my buns off lately.

I feel like I'm lost in coding Wonderland. I haven't encountered the Mad Hatter yet. Just CMS-es that eat CSS.

I'm definitely still not a code expert.

But in the last 24 hours, I've published this piece, created new ad spots for my student paper's website and worked on this ongoing project.

Just a quick breakdown of these tasks ...


The story is about Jolly Blackburn, a man who creates comics about playing "Dungeons and Dragons" based on his time at Ball State. When I read it, I loved the story, but saw definite need for elements to help break it up.

I emailed Blackburn to ask him if he could illustrate a few scenes from the story. I wanted people to see his work, but I also thought it would be totally meta if he illustrated himself for a Ball State student media story about him creating a comic based on himself and his friends during their time at Ball State.

You follow that? DiCaprio is staring in the movie about it all.

I was able to tweak the template (for lack of a better word) that I had created a while back, so it all went relatively smoothly.

The downside? It exists outside our student media website's CMS. So I had to input all text, photos, etc. manually. Totally inefficient. Definitely motivating me to learn PHP and other server-side languages.


PRETTY PLEASE click the image to see the real ad. This static thing does not do it justice.

This is a fake advertisement I created for article pages on One of my projects for next year is to help link advertising and editorial a little more effectively.

Thanks Vox Media, for introducing me to this style of ad. (Tangent, I'll be interning there this summer, and I could not be more stoked. I'm positive I'll learn a lot.)


This bit of nonsense is the development of a project in one of my classes. Using an abundance of multimedia, my instructor told my classmates to document student life at Ball State on the weekend.

I get the pleasure of piecing it all together. The content is not yet in, so I am working on creating frameworks that I or my peers can edit with relative ease.

Again, a huge challenge is that I'm not working with a CMS here. I wish I would have had the foresight to learn Tarbell for this.

My life ... would have been so much easier ...

One of the challenges is that I'm working with designers who don't have too much code experience, but who want to help. So I'm creating a bunch of classes (probably more than necessary) so they essentially have a library to work with in helping me construct this.

I hope to publish the finished product by April 21.

In other news, I won first place in the SND Mizzou contest's infographics category for the piece below.


Obviously, that's a huge honor, and I'm absolutely thrilled. My staff won several other awards, and my friend, Emily Theis, won third for student designer of the year.

I'm also about a third finished with an online course I'm trying to design to help journalists learn how to scrape data. It's a huge, challenging undertaking. But I'm working with Dr. Adam Kuban and Jennifer Palilonis of Ball State, so I have awesome mentors.

More to come, including a rundown of how Ball State's Unified Media Design Studio functioned this year ... and what the UMDS is.

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