Len De Groot

Director of Data Visualization
Los Angeles Times
202 W 1st St. Los Angeles, Calif.

Industry experience

Director of Data Visualization

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles, California

2013 – present

Transformed a traditional, print-only department into a digital-first group that reports and develops interactive and print graphics. During my tenure, the team has been recognized with more than 50 awards in international competition.


Reporting: Redirected the staff from practice of illustrating the reporting of others to generate and report story ideas themselves. The results included better interactive content and A1 stories and graphics.

Digital content: Trained print-oriented staff in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, GIS, 360° video stitching and other skills for digital production with a focus on multi-platform interactive data visualizations, including maps, charts, interactive databases and motion graphics.

Virtual reality content: Led the push for VR at the Times, including directing projects that use 3D geographic data and audio to make an interactive tour of Gale Crater on Mars and creating and stitching 360° video for interactive presentations.

Print content: Redirected print efforts to produce better print infographics that incorporated modern data visualization techniques.

Tools: Created a map-making suite that leverages Web-map tiles to generate simple online maps that producers or others in the newsroom can use. The tool has been recently updated to include vector export for print graphics and a more modern design.

Social media: Developed approach to building an audience based on interest in data visualization and infographics, including custom static and animated content for multiple networks. Partnered with engagement team to develop enterprise content.

Graphics Director

South Florida SunSentinel, WSFL-TV

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

2006 – 2010

Managed a 10-person department that produced and coordinated content for WSFL-TV morning news show, WSFL on-air promotions,, and the SunSentinel newspaper. In doing so, I developed the nation’s first graphics department that was cross-trained to produce content for a daily newspaper, news websites and a network-affiliated television station.


Television: Successfully integrated new technology to launch morning news show. Overcame cultural differences by creating print/online newsroom partnerships with television management. Created 3D fly-through for morning show open. Co-designed new, contemporary look for graphics package that was imitated by other morning news shows.

Digital: Developed precinct-level election results maps that updated live on election nights. Created’s first social media presentation tool — a scrolling ticker that updated live breaking news Twitter feeds from reporters. Developed tools to allow reporters and producers to create Flash multimedia presentations in less than an hour. Developed GIS-based interactive maps for rapid deployment. Upheld a tradition of award-winning multimedia journalism and relaunched the SunSentinel’s pioneering multimedia gallery, The Edge, which was awarded the Best News Site by the Florida chapter of the Associated Press.

Print: Graphics team produced award-winning front-page centerpiece graphics and full-page enterprise graphics. Quality of design and information led to 18 Society of News Design Awards of Excellence.

Staff development: Extensively cross-trained staff to be leading multi-platform journalists and use a wide range of industry tools, including LightWave 3D, Flash, and VizRT. Six months after beginning television production, the entire staff produced graphics for TV, Web and print. Developed graphic, video and interactive storytelling skills in reporting and page design teams.

Assistant Graphics Director, South Florida SunSentinel 2002 – 2006

Produced, coordinated, art directed and edited projects that produced award-winning breaking news graphics. Assigned, coordinated and directed production of daily and project graphics; Supervised and develop staff of seven artists/reporters.

Senior Graphics Reporter, South Florida SunSentinel 2000 – 2002

Researched, reported and illustrated award-winning breaking news and enterprise graphics, including a full-page graphic every 6 weeks.

Graphic Artist, Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) 1997 – 2000

Graphic Artist, Los Angeles Daily News 1996 – 1997

Graphic Artist, The Record (Stockton, Calif.) 1993 – 1994

Graphic Artist, Tracy Press (Tracy, Calif.) 1992 – 1993

Professional awards and honors

2016 Loeb Prize for Beat Reporting: For "Big Money, Unlikely Donors," an investigation into a real estate developer's network of campaign donations.

2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News: L.A. Times staff for coverage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

More than 50 awards from Society of News Design for work, art direction and editing.

12 Malofiej awards for work, art direction and editing.

Technical Skills

Data Applications:

ArcGIS, Quantum GIS, Refine, Excel, CartoDB, CartoCSS, Data Driven Documents (D3.js)

Multimedia Applications:

Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop, and Audition.

Development Skills:

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Web design, User Experience Design

Professional contributions

Regular presenter at professional conferences and universities, including Society for Professional Journalists, Society of News Design, Malofiej and NICAR.

Served as judge for multiple competitions, including Society of News Design, Malofiej and the Associated Press.

Current and past professional organizations

Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors

Online News Association

Society of Professional Journalists

Society for News Design


Bachelor of Arts Degree, Journalism, 1992

Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

Academic experience

Data and Visualization Instructor

Knight Digital Media Center

Graduate School of Journalism

University of California, Berkeley

February 2010 to July 2013