Meet Us


Ryan Thornburg

Ryan Thornburg is the director of the Carolina Data Desk, an associate professor and the director of the M.A. program at the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

Before coming to the School of Media and Journalism, he spent his career in the newsroom, focusing on online journalism. Most recently, he was the managing editor of, the online arm of U.S. News & World Report. He also served as a managing editor for Congressional Quarterly’s website,, and the national/international editor for the Washington Post’s website,

His work in online media contributed to several professional awards, including seven EPPY awards for his work with The EPPY Awards competition honors Internet sites affiliated with the media industry. Thornburg and his staff also have been finalists for competitions by the Online News Association.

He also has worked professionally as a producer for, managing election data, writing articles and producing breaking news. He has served as a classroom guest speaker, journalism panelist and participant for numerous media organizations.


Justina Vasquez

Justina is a senior business journalism major from Fayetteville, N.C., who enjoys writing about business, data and how the two interact with communities’ daily lives.

She has interned on the business desk at National Public Radio, where she had the pleasure of digging into data and research for economics, industry and technology stories.

Justina has also spent time acquiring, cleaning and analyzing data for the UNC Center for Public Television, producing media products from brainstorm to prototype for UNC’s Reese News Lab and writing for The Daily Tar Heel.

Find her work at, and connect with her on Twitter at @helloimjustina.


Langston Taylor

Langston is a multimedia journalism major on track to graduate in May 2017. He has completed reporting internships at the Tampa Bay Times and Charlotte Observer. He has also reported, edited and designed for UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.

Langston was named a UNC Stembler Scholar, selected to execute long-term reporting projects with other journalism students. His professional work includes features on a wave of new gun owners in Florida, the lack of regulation of zip lines in North Carolina and the history of Confederate monuments in Charlotte, N.C.

He can be reached at and on Twitter at @LangstonITaylor.

Lindsay Carbonell

Lindsay Carbonell is an interactive programming student at UNC-Chapel Hill who will graduate in May 2017. She was a summer 2016 data visualization fellow at the Texas Tribune and has worked for Reese News Lab, a media research project at UNC, where she wrote feature stories about innovative news media revenue models across the country. She recently founded UNC Journalists Integrating Computer Science (JINCS), a local branch of the Online News Association, through which she leads workshops to teach journalism students important coding and data skills.

Find more of her work at


Shannon Paylor

Shannon Paylor is a senior at UNC majoring in Math Decision Science with an interest in data analytics and minoring in French. She has completed coursework in data journalism, statistics (R, SQL), computer programming (Java, MATLAB) and geographic information systems (ARCMap).

Shannon became interested in data journalism through reading FiveThirtyEight and similar publications. During her junior year, she enrolled in a Data-Driven Journalism course taught by Professor Ryan Thornburg. Her work in this class involved state job incentive and election data.

Shannon previously worked as an intern for College Baseball Splits, where she generated detailed metrics from college baseball game videos and collected and cleaned team roster data.


Stephanie Lamm

Stephanie is a senior multimedia journalism major concentrating in business and data reporting. She has spent her time at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill learning her way around SEC filings, mining public records for data and coding news apps.

She previously interned at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where she wrote about business, and The News & Observer, where she covered general and breaking news. She held leadership positions at UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, and Southern Neighbor, a student-run news magazine.

Find more of her work at and follow her on Twitter at @stephanierlamm.