Hey, I'm Andy Boyle

Writer. Comedian. Web developer.

About Me

I am a full-stack web developer for NBC News Digital Group's BreakingNews.com. But I'm also so much more!

Previously, I've worked at the Boston Globe, the St. Petersburg Times and The New York Times Regional Media Group, where my work was cited in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Most recently, I was a news applications developer for the Chicago Tribune, where I built projects for the 2012 and 2014 elections, built tools for user-generated content, created new ways of tracking shootings and crime in the greater Chicagoland area and crafted other data visualizations.

When not speaking at colleges and conferences on the crossroads of journalism and technology, I regularly write and tell jokes throughout the greater Midwest. This year, I've been a runner-up in the Chicago satellite round of the Great American Comedy Festival, I was a featured comedian in the Orlando Indie Comedy Festival, and have performed in the Beast Village Comedy Festival in Des Moines, the Minneapolis 10,000 Laughs Festival and the Orlando Indie Comedy Festival. Watch me be funny in Orlando.

My mom would like you to know besides being a college graduate, I've studied improvisation and writing for television, film and sketch at Boston's The Improv Asylum and Chicago's iO and Second City. Please ask to read my spec scripts.

Let's talk

I Can Tell Jokes

You should probably book me for your shows. And yeah, this video below is a year old. I'm less fat now, I swear.

My Skills

With more than half a decade experience building news-oriented digital products,
I'm fluent in newsroom and nerd. Read more on my resume.

Web development

Full-stack engineer: CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Python, Django, Flask, PHP, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, git, Fabric, Amazon Web Services and more.

Mobile

My design philosophy: If it doesn't work on mobile, it doesn't work. Not to mention, many of my projects are viewed more on mobile and tablet devices than desktop. And I've built apps for iOS and Android.

Writing

With five years of reporting experience, I have an extensive background in negotiating and fighting for public records, wrangling and crunching large datasets and writing stories that sing. I also know a few things about making marketing copy shine.

Speaking

Other than creating an interview series that partnered with a comedy club, I regularly talk at conferences, colleges and workshops, and perform standup at Midwestern clubs.

Projects

These are some of my favorite projects I've built.
Some are serious, some are silly, all were an adventure.

Chicago Tribune Election Center

2014

For the 2014 midterm elections, I helped architect and implement the landing page based on mocks and existing CSS, fixing it to work responsively and pull in stories by hitting the Chicago Tribune content management system's API, displaying story content.

I also helped architect and implement the Editorial Board Questionnaires pages based on mocks and existing CSS, tweaking it for responsiveness. I also helped load and extract the survey answers from a mix of CVS files and Google spreadsheets.

Lastly, I helped architect and implement a system that hit our elections results feed from Reuters, and our own in-house built one, and send the properly formatted data to our pagination system so it could be put into the print edition.

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Chicago shooting victims

2013

The Chicago Tribune Breaking News Desk has been covering every shooting in Chicago for quite some time, keeping it in Google spreadsheets for reporting purposes. We decided to get this data to the public.

Built in about a week on top of our existing crime site, I helped with the design and implementation, as well as loading the data stored in Google spreadsheets, geocoding the data and displaying it in Leaflet.js.

We redesigned the look and feel in January when we updated the overall crime site. I blogged more about creating the site here.

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What would Bill say?

What Would Bill Say?

2011

After realizing Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots coach, only said a handful of things at press conferences, I thought it'd be nifty if we made something to "ask" him a question.

Working with sports reporters, they came up with actual answers he regularly says to questions. I implemented a design and then wrote the JavaScript/jQuery functions that take your question, find an answer, store it in the URL and return it.

Needless to say, it got a decent amount of traffic and a few chuckles from Patriots fans. We made a second "media day" version when they went to the 2012 Superbowl.

Sadly, after a relaunched Boston.com redesign on April 14, 2014, this project is no longer available.

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BostonGlobe.com 2012 Primary Results

2013

The Boston Globe, which spun off its own groundbreaking responsibe website in 2011, was a big go-to place for election coverage during the 2012 primary season, especially because Mitt Romney was in the race.

So I had to write this super hacky Java code for our proprietary content management system. It reads an imported XML file, loops through it and displays the data.

Just to get this data to display on BostonGlobe.com was quite a monumental feat and required coordination between multiple departments, which I spearheaded. Thankfully I had a great coworker who did heavy lifting on design.

Oh, and we also had to display the data for Boston.com, a completely different content management system, which wasn't nearly as pretty. I helped with that, too.

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Funny Talk

Winter 2013

Funny Talk is a weekly video series I produce with RedEye, the Chicago Tribune's daily tabloid magazine geared toward the 18 to 34-year-olds. I interview Chicago-area comedians, ask them silly questions and have a goofy fun time.

It's a fun process -- I have to book about 4-5 comedians once a month and then we try and get them all done on one single day, cutting down on production time. I also write all the questions and do a lot of the work of getting videos and information from the comedians we work with.

It's a great way to tap into Chicago's vibrant stand-up scene and create new content for RedEye viewers. Not to mention, we recently partnered with the Laugh Factory, a world-renowned chain of clubs, which has a location in Chicago.

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Chicagoland Sirens Mobile Apps

2013

The Chicago Tribune partnered with Radioman911.com to provide real-time breaking safety news updates to the Chicagoland area. I helped write the API in Django that pulls in our shootings data and Radioman's breaking news event data from different APIs.

I also helped implement the design and write the Backbone.js app that powers everything in Trigger.io, a platform that lets you more easily build Android and iOS apps.

I even wrote and starred in a video promoting the app. The iOS app is available in the iTunes store, and you can get the Android app in the Google Play store.

I also researched how to best name the app for maximum reach and helped write and edit the marketing copy.

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Chicagoland Preps

Summer/Fall 2013

Other than the Chicago Tribune Weather Page (and election projects), this is the app I worked on that gets the most pageviews and most time on site. And almost half of traffic comes from mobile devices, too, which is cool.

Instead of building a fancy backend, we built a Flask app that generates individual HTML pages and stores them on Amazon S3, based on a simple Google spreadsheet the Chicago Tribune sports agate clerks fill out. It also saves a copy of each day's scores as a JSON and CSV file on S3, just for safekeeping.

This was my third time building a high school preps sports website. The other two were much more complicated -- fancy admin sites, multiple servers, databases. This? Just Google spreadsheets, Flask, some Python scripts and a cron job on a server. Easy and fun.

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GatorSports.com Recruits

2011

Every year, the reporters at the Gainesville Sun wrote about the flurry of activity surrounding each new signing season for the University of Florida football team. Hundreds of blog posts, updates about players across the country, all of it structured data waiting to be put into order.

So I pitched the idea to build this site. A coworker did the design, but I set up the servers, built the admin, designed the data architecture and everything else. It's been running for three years, and it was one of GatorSports.com's highest trafficked pages.

It combines my love of taking story-data and turning it into something users can explore and making something easy-to-use for a newsroom. Win win for everyone.

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Would You Ever Parole A Murderer?

Spring 2011

The Boston Globe's metro investigative team was looking into recent cases of what happened after convicted murderers were paroled. Because it's a decision that involves many factors, we decided to make an interactive that put you in the shoes of the Massachusetts parole board.

Me and a few others reviewed cases of those paroled and picked five, some who were paroled without incident, others who got sent back.

Then me and a coworker built this as a simple PHP/MySQL/JS app. I still dig it. Sadly, after a relaunched Boston.com redesign on April 14, 2014, this project is no longer available.

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Recent Blog Posts

Drop Me a Line

Want me to talk to your class, in person or via video chat? Want me to tell jokes somewhere?
Want to hire me for freelance work? Want a new pal? I'm down.

Either click the button below to email me, or yell at me on Twitter @andymboyle