⤏ Hey there! I'm Cam Rodriguez. I'm a data journalist, ardent Midwesterner and recent grad-school grad with a BA in journalism/GIS + a MA in data journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.☞ Right now, I'm a data reporter at the Illinois Answers Project, a nonprofit solutions newsroom published by the Better Government Association. I was also a data and graphics reporter at Chalkbeat, a fellow through the Reader Institute for Community Journalism, and for two years, I was the managing editor at DePaul's online magazine, 14 East.↝ I often find myself tinkering with spreadsheets, public records, spatial analysis and data visualization (plus hiking, nuclear history, coding, local history and more!). See what else I'm currently up to here.
During my work so far, I've done everything from map dangerous intersections in Chicago for bikers to develop engagement-based plans for election coverage; I've crowdsourced students' stories from over 40 schools about universities' COVID-19 policies (which was featured in Poynter), shared peoples' favorite places off the El, contributed multimedia and graphics to stories,produced network TV packages on the impact of COVID-19 on small-town Illinois and oddities of Chicago history, written about international and state politics and hiked miles in pursuit of man-made wilderness.I've also been able to collaborate with other professional and student newsrooms, attend or speak at conferences like SRCCON, SPJ, NAHJ, FOIAFest and NICAR, participate in cohorts and bootcamps sponsored by Hearken, Trusting News, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the American Press Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and I worked to make my student newsroom a more equitable and transparent space.Outside of reporting, I love to mentor students through programs like the Dow Jones News Fund, participate in news-nerdy conversations and activities, create and edit Wikipedia pages (especially with Women Do News), and speak to classes and conferences to share knowledge and skills about data- and documents-driven reporting. (And because it's fun.) :)And I still have so much more to do, and so many more people to meet.
What I'm doing right now:
Speaking at conferences about public records, project management, cartography and other fun stuff.
(and trying to travel across the country via Amtrak to fill up my National Parks Cancellation Passport)
What I can do:
Cartography and spatial analysis, including remote sensing, historical GIS work and shapefile creation, particularly using ESRI Arc products, QGIS, Google Earth Engine and CARTO.
Research and records! Historical research, especially that relating to agriculture and land use, policy, news archives, public records and more, and FOIA.
Audio production, including writing for, editing and producing audio packages using Adobe Audition and Audacity.
Video editing, primarily using Adobe Premiere, including news packages and video trailers.
Creating web-based visualizations, like those made with Datawrapper and Flourish, and static graphics and illustrations with Adobe Illustrator.
Photography, primarily breaking/general and for features.
Writing and editing newsletters, longform and enterprise pieces, including investigative reporting, that incorporate multimedia elements.
Livetweeting and incorporating social media into reporting strategies. (Thank you, Chicago Documenters!)
⇡ This is me on graduation day! I have a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism and a minor in geography, concentrating in cartography. I've also got a Masters of Arts in Journalism (wild) and focused on data journalism and engagement journalism.
⇡ This is a graphic I made in 2019 as a component for a Chicago Transit Authority-themed online portfolio when I worked at the University Center for Writing-based Learning. My portfolio won best design and best overall that year!
Data Reporter - Illinois Answers Project: Working on solutions-focused investigative stories, published by the Better Government Association. Maintains and builds out comprehensive databases on state salaries and pensions, filing over 1,000 FOIAs a year. (May 2023 - present)
Data and Graphics Reporter - Chalkbeat and Votebeat: Worked with reporters across thirteen bureaus to create graphics for quick-turn and investigative stories on education with original data analysis and public records requests. (Jan 2022 - May 2023)
Student Lead — Journalism - Chicago HealthText: Coordinates content and engagement strategy for hyperlocal SMS-based health news service between DePaul University and the Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) in a research project backed by the Online News Association. (May 2021 - June 2022)
Managing Editor - 14 East Magazine: handles all aspects of publication and maintenance of tone for online student magazine; editor and co-creator of a weekly newsletter on COVID-19 updates; social media content and management, CMS management, metrics tracking, copyediting, collaboration. (Jan 2020 - June 2022)
Freelance Graphics Journalist - Voice of San Diego: created interactive graphics through ArcGIS Online for a web package on redistricting and demographic changes in San Diego County. (Oct 2021 - Dec 2021)
Dow Jones News Fund Data Reporting Intern - USA TODAY National data team: Guided a multi-desk investigative enterprise project on race, history and geography as an intern through Dow Jones News Fund; drove project with extensive spatial data analysis and historic Census data. (May 2021 - Aug 2021)
Research Intern - WTTW-Chicago PBS "Chicago Tonight": Researched, wrote, fact-checked and assisted with production on a weekly segment, "Ask Geoffrey," starring Geoffrey Baer, that airs on the station's flagship nightly news program. Specific focus in archival image retrieval, historical fact-checking, copyediting and reporting. (Feb 2021 - June 2021)
Election SOS Fellow - The Detroit Free Press: 1 of 39 fellows for an inaugural program created by Hearken, Trusting News and the American Press Institute. Worked with Freep on social media monitoring and engagement throughout the week of the 2020 election, created voter FAQs and made data visualizations for both print and web stories. (Oct 2020 - Dec 2020)
Graduate Assistant - DePaul University Journalism program: Graduate assistant for the DePaul journalism program for 2021-2022 academic year, providing technical support + demos with camera/audio equipment, production + photo/video/audio editing for undergraduate + graduate level journalism courses. (Sept 2020 - Apr 2021)
Policy, Outreach and Communications Assistant - DePaul Institute for Housing Studies: developed blog posts, lit reviews and memos communicating city-wide trends in housing and urban development within the City of Chicago. Tracked analytics, researched emerging policy, created visualizations and graphics for reports and social. (Sept 2020 - Apr 2021)
Peer Writing Tutor, Writing Fellow - University Center for Writing-based Learning: Provided constructive and actionable writing feedback to a variety of writers, fields and in a variety of modalities; heavily involved with university outreach efforts, creating professional development workshops for conferences and a fully-searchable database of courses and professors for email-based marketing. (May 2018 - June 2021)
Hospitality Intern - Cards Against Humanity, LLC: Yes, that Cards Against Humanity. Handled day-to-day tasks in a shared office setting, assisted with comedy shows and small-scale events, created graphics and flyers, and designed and implemented a vegetable, herb and pollinator garden for a shared outdoor space. (May 2019 - Sept 2019)
BA, Journalism - DePaul University, Journalism major, Geographic Information Systems minor. Cum laude. 2017-2021.
Certificate, Geographic Information Systems - DePaul University. 2019-2021.
MA, Journalism - DePaul University, Data Journalism concentration. 2020-2022.
Advanced Reporting I & II: Selective + intensive cohort-based practicum in journalism with Carol Marin and Don Moseley, focusing on investigative techniques and ethical issues in broadcast and web reporting. Created video and web package for WTTW-PBS; tracked coronavirus data and metrics for Tazewell County and created internal dashboard.
Social Justice Reporting: Selective cohort-based class taught by Juneteenth Productions founder Judith McCray. Focus on intentional community engagement in reporting, audio production, trauma-informed reporting practices and biases in covering communities of color in traditional media.
Reimagining Election Journalism: Five-week workshop course with Dan Sinker, analyzing models of election coverage for the 2018 Chicago mayoral race, and integrating user-based design into reporting strategies.
International Reporting: Honed remote beat reporting skills in a mixed undergraduate/graduate course with Hai Tran; focused on Ukraine and the Ukrainian presidential race, gained experience identifying and interviewing experts, developed travel-based pitch memo.
Investigative Reporting: Project-based class taught by Chris Bury, highlighting investigative techniques and public records, including business records, 990 forms, FOIA, the Open Meetings Act, and shield laws.
^ NDVI analysis of Will County, IL, in Aug 2020, highlighting man-made constrution, warehousing, and agricultural land use in the region for Remote Sensing I. Areas shaded red are high-leafy-green vegetation areas, and the pale green and yellow indicates farmland and some prairie. The dashed region is a study area for increased truck traffic, environmental hazards and pollution.
Remote Sensing I & II: Courses focusing on satellite data analysis, taught by Dr. Michelle Stuhlmacher. Specific focus in NDVI and NDWI, with final projects on agricultural and industrial land use within the Chicago metropolitan area.
Community GIS: Service learning course led by Cassandra Follett that paired GIS lessons and experience with practical applications in a community service setting; worked with community partners and stakeholders in the nonprofit STEM education field to develop map-based analysis and marketing materials to better serve Black and brown students.
Spatial Data Analysis: Python-based course focused on understanding the intersection between GIS and statistics. Final focused on distribution of Airbnb sites throughout Chicago.
Skills, Proficiencies and Memberships
^ I took this for my undergraduate thesis, a reporting project that looked at the impact of Illinois' nuclear monopoly on its towns that support it.
^ The end of election week 2020, when it was announced that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the presidency. This was taken just outside Wrigley Field.
^ Taken during protests in late May and early June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. This was at a protest in Aurora, a suburb of Chicago, where protestors later spontaneously overtook a highway overpass. (And I was the only reporter there.)
Society of Professional Journalists (Region 5, DePaul University chapter)
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (Region 6)
Investigative Reporters & Editors (NICAR21, IRE22 attendee, NICAR23 speaker)
Education Writers Association
Online News Association (ONA22 speaker)
Ida B. Wells Society
Cartography, data visualization and spatial analysis
Social media management, content creation, copyediting and audience engagement work
Static and interactive graphics creation, both using code and software, photography, photo and video editing
Some front-end web development and CMS abilities, web analytics
Longform, breaking and enterprise reporting
Research, public records requests, web scraping, database creation and analysis
Content and design programs like the Microsoft Suite, Google Suite, including Data Studio, Sheets, Trends and Forms; Adobe Suite, including Audition, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Spark, Lightroom and Acrobat.
Workspace software like Box, DocumentCloud, GitHub, Asana, Trello, Slack, Discord and Teams.
Data visualization and analysis programs, including Flourish, Datawrapper, Excel/Sheets, Tabula, Tableau, OpenRefine, DB Browser, Jupyter Notebook, and some SPSS experience.
Spatial analysis software, including ESRI products, QGIS, and cloud/web-based programs like CARTO, geojson.io, Google Earth Engine and Google MyMaps.
Content management and analytics including WordPress, Substack, Google Analytics and social media focused programs like HootSuite, Crowdtangle and TweetDeck.
English (fluent), Spanish (reading and comprehension), American Sign Language (conversational)
Finalist, Student Journalism Award (2023 Online Journalism Awards)
Second Place, Best Infographic (2022 College Media Association Pinnacle Awards)
2021 Les Brownlee Memorial Scholarship (Chicago Headline Club)
Honorable Mention, Best Use of Multimedia (2021 Catholic Press Awards)
Second Place, Best Feature Writing (2021 Catholic Press Awards)
2020 Best Four-Year College Media Outlet of the Year (College Media Assocation)