How do you create the most popular piece of content of the year at one of the nation’s most prestigious news outlet?
Well, for starters, study or consider careers in politics, law, and philosophy before eventually deciding that statistics is for you. Then apply to grad school and while you’re there dig in to some intriguing data that Harvard researchers had published 10 years prior, apply some stats and smart algorithms, post your work online, then wait for the The New York Times to call.
That’s not the whole story of course, but it’s the rough run-up to how Josh Katz ended up an intern at the Times last fall and eventually created (with graphics editor Wilson Andrews) the newspaper’s most popular piece of content in 2013 — “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.”
Katz’s personal journey to the Times is a fun one, but the story of the technology behind the popular project is just as good.