Photograph by Jonathan Gibby | Used with permission

Hi, I'm David Eads. My work connects journalism, data, and social issues. I build and teach simple, direct solutions that help journalists effectively tell their stories on the web. I contribute to and organize projects that strive for democracy, diversity, and sustainability.

I make Internet journalism, most recently for ProPublica Illinois. I speak and teach about technology. I developed the Tarbell publishing platform. When I lived in Chicago, I organized a community data journalism workshop, and helped start and build FreeGeek Chicago.


News applications

Since 2012, I've been building news applications professionally. First for the Chicago Tribune News Applications team (2012-2014) and most recently NPR Visuals (2014-present). Since June, 2016, I have been the acting Senior Supervising Editor at NPR Visuals.


NPR Politics Fact Check

Oversaw the design, development, and member station outreach of NPR's live annotation and fact checking tool, which drew record traffic and is now an open source project.

The 270 Project: Try To Predict Who Will Win The Election

Test 2016 election scenarios based on 2016 population demographics, even on a phone or tablet.

Find Lead Pipes In Your Home

The pipe that connects a building's water system to the water main can be a dangerous source of lead. But knowing if you have a lead pipe isn't always easy. How do you produce a data story without data? By getting helping your audience find out for themselves in English and Spanish.

Semi-Automatic Weapons Without A Background Check Can Be Just A Click Away

To understand the widespread availability of assault weapons in the U.S., the gray market is a source of valuable data. I helped identify the story idea and data source, developed a scraper to liberate the data and coordinated the graphics development for the final piece.


Get database-ready election results from the Associated Press Election API v2.0. This community software project powered 2016 election results for the New York Times, NPR, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Seattle Times, and more.

A friendly guide to great podcasts.

Demolished: The End of Chicago Public Housing

A photographer documents the end of the housing projects. I produced and wrote the story and collaborated on reporting with Helga Salinas and design with Claire O'neill and Wes Lindamood. (Won 2015 Society of News Design Gold Medal)

Best Books of 2014

Find the best books of 2014. Or make your own guide.

MRAPs and Bayonets

Story, blog post, software and data dump about the Pentagon's 1033 program. (Cited in Congress)

Crime in Chicagoland

Web application that visualizes Chicago Police Department crime incident report data, Tribune-collected shooting data, and Illinois city data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Won 2013 Peter Lisagor award for Use of Digital Technology, 2014 SND Award of Excellence)

Life After Hadiya

Friends process the aftermath of a young woman's homicide by Jennifer Delgado, Bridget Doyle, and Mary Schmich. (Won 2014 Peter Lisagor award for Feature Story or Series)

His Saving Grace

Long-form story by Kevin Pang about an acclaimed chef with an incredible backstory. (Won 2014 Society of News Design Award of Excellence)

Lost Friends

A video-based exploration of violence through the eyes of Chicago's youth. In collaboration with the Mash, TrueStar, and the Chicago Bureau.

Playing With Fire

An investigation into harmful chemicals found in every home. (Series nominated for 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, won 2013 Goldsmith Prize For Investigative Reporting)

Big Galleries

A tool to help photo staff create big, beautiful galleries using the Chicago Tribune Content Management System. (Drove hundreds of millions of pageviews.)

Speaking & teaching

I regularly participate in hackathons and teach and speak about practical technology and data journalism.

Choose your own adventure: Questions for Internet journalism teams

d|Bootcamp Taipei (Taipei, Aug. 2015)

The Two Idas

Hacks/Hackers D.C. (Washington, D.C., July 2015)

Responsive Data Visualization Workshop

Migrahack DF (Mexico City, Apr. 2014)

Chicago Tribune Election Center

OpenGov Hack Night (Chicago, Apr. 2014) Watch video

Time Summaries of Crime Incident Data

Data Made Simple Hackathon (Chicago, 2014)

Software Freedom

Software Freedom Day (Chicago, Sept. 2013) Watch video

Supernatural Strategies for Hackathon Success

Tribeca Hacks Chicago (Chicago, June 2013)

jQuery in Drupal

DrupalCon Europe (Hungary, Sept. 2008) Watch video

What's a geek?

Deloitte Regional Tech Conference (Chicago, 2007)

Open Hack

From 2011 to 2014, I ran a weekly workshop to teach fundamental web and data skills by working on real-world data journalism projects. We called the event Open Hack and our loose affiliation of aspiring creators and developers the Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew.

Our first major project was a scraper to collect statistics about the Cook County Jail inmate population that launched in November 2012. In March 2014, Maria Zamudio, Sarah Murray, and Brian Peterson published Crime and Punishment Chicago, a guide to data about the Chicago and Cook County criminal justice system, in collaboration with the Smart Chicago Collaborative.

In December, 2015, Yana Kunichoff, Brian Peterson, and Geoff Hing published Convicted in Cook, a deep dive into five years worth of Cook County convictions data.

Our manifesto was published in Source.

Photograph by Jonathan Gibby | Used with permission


Tarbell is an open source publishing tool that emphasizes simplicity, fundamental skills, and low maintenance for published projects. Tarbell has been used for dozens of projects at the Chicago Tribune, Al Jazeera America, The University of Nebraska, Frontline, and more.

Tarbell combines Google spreadsheets for data management with powerful project creation, templating, and publishing tools. Most of the projects on this site were built with Tarbell, including the portfolio itself.

FreeGeek Chicago

In 2005, I helped start FreeGeek Chicago. FreeGeek Chicago is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community organization that recycles used computers and parts to provide functional computers, education, and job skills training in exchange for community service. I helped write the FreeGeek Constitution, Statement on Funding, and Code of Conduct. In 2013, FreeGeek Chicago recycled over 20 tons of electronics and 768 volunteers logged over 22,000 hours.