The New York Times’ interactive news technologies team has hired a new developer and … it’s a girl! Well, woman, really. Her name is Jacqui Maher and her first day on the job is Nov. 4.
This is the 10-person team’s first and (so far) only female hire.
Software and Web development is a male-dominated field at The Times and everywhere else, editor Aron Pilhofer told The Observer. “It is a serious issue,” he said.
Mr. Pilhofer sent out a memo about the new arrival. “Brian [Hamman, assistant editor,] and I were looking for someone who is a top-flight programmer; is a stickler for testing, usability and documentation; can think creatively about ways to extend our technology; can train others and act as a sort of ‘evangelist’ to the newsroom; and, of course, brings creativity and new ideas,” he wrote. “It’s a thick job description, and we never thought we’d find one person who embodies those traits—until we met Jacqui.”
>>READ GILLIAN REAGAN’S BACKSTORY ON THE TIMES’ DIGITAL STRATEGY
Ms. Maher replaces John McGrath, the 39-year-old software engineer who recently left the Times team to move to San Francisco and work full time on his side project, a social Web site called Wordie.org. She’ll be part of The Times’ army of developers, which expands even as executives plan to lay off 100 newsroom employees in the coming weeks. The interactive news technologies team works on special projects for NYTimes.com, like The Guantanamo Docket interactive database and the Represent feature.
Ms. Maher, a 32-year-old Queens native, has been a developer for more than a decade. She attended New York University and studied mathematics and philosophy before taking up developer-whiz jobs at sites like Friendster, Hearst’s now-defunct Interactive Studios division and Live Nation. She most recently worked for Web and mobile application design company Eastmedia Group in New York.
She went in for a casual interview with the interactive team about year ago, but there weren’t any openings. About a month and a half ago, when Mr. McGrath announced he was leaving, she got a call asking if she’d like to join.
“I think she genuinely loves The Times,” Mr. Pilhofer said about Ms. Maher. “We are extraordinary lucky to have her working for us.”
Last year, Ms. Maher took a trip to Africa, where she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and then did some volunteer work in Malawi with Baobab Health. She helped build applications for touchscreen tablets used by local doctors and hospitals that kept track of patient data, drug interaction, prescriptions and refill schedules. “Doing that kind of important work made me realize I really wanted to go to The Times,” Ms. Maher told the Observer. “I’ve been wanting to be able to work on something I care about, not just, like, an ad for some advertising site.”
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