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Student of journalism and computer science at Northwestern University.

My name is Leo Ji, a student, journalist, and North by Northwestern's Web-Magazine Liaison

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  • How do you see a degree in computer science impacting the path you take as a journalist?

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    I don't think it's inaccurate to say that journalists have always harnessed the power of technology in order to craft and tell their stories.

    The impact of computer science in journalism as a whole is significant. As journalists, it's our job to tell the story to our audience, and we would be under-serving our audience if we didn't take advantage of these newer technologies.

    But being able to harness the full extent of devices such as iPhones and the Internet requires understanding how they work, rather than just being able to use them.

    It's one thing to be able to use a document processor like Microsoft Word or a set of design software such as the Adobe Creative Suite, and another thing to understand how the Internet and iOS works at a fundamental technical level and being able to build off that to create new applications that harness packet switching and push notifications to inform people.

    As long as users trust us, we now have access to way more information about them as a person than journalists ever did as they wrote through their respective media. (This unparalleled access to information is not exclusive to the journalism field, as Google knows very well.)

    We're able to make inferences and predictions of their interests, behaviour, context, and environment, and if we have the tools to be able to process and harness that, we're able to deliver the most relevant news and information in all of journalistic history.

    I think -- and I'm just speculating here -- but this is the first time in human history that journalists, as the informers of society, have been able to accurately and evidently understand each individual member of their audiences without extrapolating them from the characteristics of a group (location, job industry, age etc.). It would be a shame if we weren't able to use that.