About The Scoop

Hi, I’m Derek Willis, and thescoop.org has been my site since the late 20th century. I teach and do journalism, especially data journalism. I’m a sports geek (a fan of West Indies cricket & Maryland women’s basketball), a collector of political data and a reader of non-fiction (sorry, Mom). I don’t have a newsletter or a podcast. The image on the home page is from a thank-you note written by a seventh grader after a “Career Day” visit.

About Me

I was born in Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in rhetoric and communications and attended graduate school at the University of Florida (no degree, sorry again Mom). I began my journalism career at The Palm Beach Post, working in the news library and then as a reporter and technology coordinator. From 1998-2003 I covered Congress and elections for Congressional Quarterly. In February 2003 I joined The Center for Public Integrity as a writer/data specialist working on state and federal projects, where a report I co-authored was honored with a Sigma Delta Chi award by the Society of Professional Journalists. In November 2004 I became the Research Database Editor at the Washington Post; in February 2007 I became Database Editor at washingtonpost.com, and in November 2007 I became an Interactive Developer with The New York Times, working mostly on political and election-related applications and APIs. I joined The Upshot in 2014. From 2015-2021, I worked as a News Applications Developer at ProPublica.

I was co-editor of CQ’s Federal PACs Directory, published in 1998, and of Unstacking the Deck, a guide to covering campaign finance published by Investigative Reporters and Editors. I’ve been a member of IRE since 1995 and have spoken at numerous conferences and training events around the nation on using the Internet and campaign finance data. I have served as an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, Northwestern University and Georgetown University, teaching data reporting classes. I live outside Washington, D.C., with my family. Email me at dwillis AT gmail DOT com.

Internet Achievements