MuckRock Release Notes: A more accessible API, say hi at IRE, plus new stickers

MuckRock Release Notes: A more accessible API, say hi at IRE, plus new stickers

Come hack MuckRock with us on Slack and at Code for Boston

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week was quiet, with only one new user facing feature (although one we think will enable some other cool stuff in the near future).

But if you’re a news nerd who happens to be heading down to the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Orlando, Florida, much of the MuckRock crew will be there and we’d love to say hello and talk more about FOIA, our latest big news, and what we’re working on next.

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and if you’d like to get a list of site improvements every Tuesday - along with ways to help contribute to the site’s development yourself - subscribe to our developer newsletter here at the top or bottom of this page.

What’s new on MuckRock

Get your API key more easily than ever

Getting your MuckRock API key is now as simple as checking your profile page. Keep in mind that your API key is a sensitive credential - almost anything someone can do with your username and password they can do with your API key, so keep it private and secure.

But if you know a little bit of code, the API is a powerful tool, letting you automate a number of tasks and even file new requests programatically.

Come say hi at IRE!

MuckRock will have a crew at IRE. Come say hi during our talk at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, find us on Twitter - @blip @morisy @resentfultweet - or email us if you’re around - we’d love to say hello.

Come hack on MuckRock

We have a growing group of volunteer hackers helping to make MuckRock better every day. We want to make it easier to contribute, so we’re launching a new project and weekly newsletter, “Release Notes.” Register to get a summary of site updates each week, a list of issues you can help with, and details about our Code for Boston meetups.

If you subscribe to the weekly newsletter, we’ll include exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. Subscribe to to the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

And we’re working on some special new stickers just for contributors. We’re still finalizing the design, but right now the CryptoKids make a special appearence:

Bumper sticker for open soure contributors

If you want to contribute better FOIA tools for thousands of requesters, there’s a number of ways to help. If you find a bug you can email us directly or open an issue on GitHub.

If you do the latter, please search open issues first to make sure it hasn’t already been reported. If it has been reported previously, please leave an additional comment letting us know it’s an issue for you, particularly if you can provide more details about when it crops up or what you think is causing the problem.

For those who want to contribute design, code, or otherwise more directly to the site, in addition to the new newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack. You can also join us at Code for Boston’s weekly hack nights, which take place Tuesday evenings in Kendall Square. We might not make it to every one of them, so if you want to meet up there it’s a good idea to check in on Slack first or check the newsletter. We will be at tomorrow’s meetup.

Right now, we’re particularly looking for designers to help us think through ways of better highlighting our community in our various newsletters, including helping design special callouts for MuckRock Projects, Assignments people can contribute to, as well as recently submitted and completed requests.

Image via Wikimedia Commons