I did it. I quit my job. Yes: from January 1st I’ll be one of those ‘decided-to-work-for-myself’ people. I guess 2017 will continue to be for me what 2016 was for the whole world: both exciting and scary.
For a little over the past two years I worked for a newspaper. And for curious people like me, working in a newsroom is a dream.
You sometimes know big things almost nobody else knows. I like that.
On many days, you don’t know what you are going to do all day when you come in in the morning. I like that.
Your colleagues are very smart, all of them know more than you know on many topics. I like that.
Online news publishing is very dynamic. There is a lot of experimentation. I like that.
So why leave?
Simple: I think I can make a living out of something I’m even more passionate about. And that is data visualization.
For the past 3 years I have been doing a little bit of teaching, designing and consulting on the side of my day job. And in 2016 this kind of took off. I got a lot of opportunities to give workshops, to speak, to make visualizations and to give advice. This brought me to places like Pamplona, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Cologne, Helsinki, Lausanne and even Chișinău. I was live streamed, simultaneously translated and featured in books for the first time. I like that.
I’ve met a lot of people working with data. I got to see what data is out there and what people are doing with it, also outside of journalism. I like that.
In the end, I had to turn down some interesting projects, because I was not able to dedicate enough time to them. That, I didn’t really like.
And what I hope I’ll like: having a bit more freedom to plan my work myself and arrange it a bit better around my personal life.
So now what?
You’re reading this on my brand new website. It has my portfolio, some of the talks I gave and my blog. I will keep on blogging and will especially continue my series of making-ofs (because I enjoy reading the ones from others so much).
On my calendar I’ll post my public appearances, workshops I’ll give and conferences I’ll be attending.
As you can see from the title I gave myself on the homepage, I will continue to call myself a data journalist. What shape my data journalism work will take exactly, is not yet fully defined. But it will probably be more project/longer term/investigative work than the fast, day to day, breaking news work.
I hope I can explain (and better yet: show) the power of data visualization to a lot of people, in a lot of different contexts. I hope to show people how to make better visualizations. I hope to keep on experimenting with graphic forms, with interactivity and with data stories.