Julia Wolfe's Data Journalism Portfolio

Julia Wolfe's Data Journalism Portfolio

Organisation: The Wall Street Journal (United States)

Publication Date: 03/31/2017


Size of team/newsroom:large


In the past year, Julia Wolfe has published animated explainers and visual features, designed templates, engineered infrastructure and created a hub for live election results. In some pieces, such as an exceptionally popular piece looking at the role of women in the workplace, she wove together animated graphics through a traditional long-read. In others, like the story on Trump's conflicts-of-interest, it's an ambitious graphic requiring minimal text. She even developed and designed reusable templates, such as the breaking news skeleton. Julia strives for unique, engaging storytelling techniques that always put the narrative first. From business to politics, her work at The Wall Street Journal has exemplified that commitment. We’re proud to nominate her for Portfolio of the Year.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Surprise and delight are two of the best tools Julia uses to ensure a graphic resonates with readers. Each piece she works on combines charts, graphics, animations and interactions in novel combinations to create a final product that is entirely original. “I fret endlessly over projects until I am confident readers will experience something new,” she says. When necessary, she will present the same information differently on different devices, ensuring an optimal experience. She does so without compromising the journalism or narrative heartbeat. It is why she has been interviewed multiple times about her process, and why she has been recognized by the Society for News Design for her work in the last two years.

Technologies used for this project:

As a front-end developer, Julia’s main tools are PHP, HTML, CSS and Javascript. She will comfortably include libraries, such as D3, React and Handlebars as needed. This year, Julia was instrumental in rolling out a new template for the WSJ graphics team, which uses Webpack to compile Sass, ES6 and our PHP. Her breaking news template uses a combination of ArchieML and Handlebars. While working on designs and mocks, she most often uses Illustrator or Sketch, though pen and paper remain her jumping-off points. While looking for narratives in data, she might use R if she’s conducting complex data analysis and quickly spinning up charts, or Excel if she has a few key questions or wants to work in tandem with someone else. Along with the rest of our team, she relies on Github to collaborate on projects and keep track of versions.
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