Sean McMinn

Sean McMinn is the data editor on NPR's News Apps team.

Based in Washington, DC, McMinn writes and reports news stories for NPR.org, designs infographics, and develops software that helps journalists do their jobs.

McMinn came to NPR from CQ Roll Call, where he covered Congress and politics for three years as a data reporter. While there, he built interactives to help Americans better understand their government, and his reporting on flaws in FEMA's recovery programs led to the agency making changes to better serve communities struck by disaster. He also took part in an exchange with young professionals in North Africa and spent time in Egypt teaching data visualization and storytelling.

Before that, McMinn taught multimedia journalism to interns through a fellowship with the Scripps Howard Foundation.

He is also an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

McMinn is an alumnus of the National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Fellowship and has served as vice-chair at the National Press Club's Young Members Committee. He has also directed the Press Club's Press Vs. Politicians Spelling Bee fundraiser, which pits members of Congress against journalists to raise funds for the club's non-profit journalism institute.

McMinn is from Thousand Oaks, CA. He holds a journalism degree with a statistics minor from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, where he was a reporter and editor on the student newspaper, Mustang News.

Congressional negotiators are hurtling toward another deadline — Feb. 15 — to avoid a partial government shutdown. A bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers on the House and Senate appropriations committees are working to reach a deal to fund seven of the 12 outstanding annual bills to fund the federal government.

The controversy centers on just one of the funding measures for the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump waged the longest shutdown in U.S. history because the bill did not include enough money to help build his long-promised "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The presence of Juul e-cigarettes in high schools across the country is increasing — and so is Juul Labs' lobbying presence in the nation's capital.

The company, which bills its product as "a satisfying alternative to cigarettes," spent $750,000 on lobbying during the last three months of 2018, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress on Tuesday.

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One hundred twenty-seven. That's how many women will be in Congress this year, up from 110 in the previous Congress.

It's a jump that's simultaneously so big and so small.

The issue of gerrymandering — the ability of politicians to draw legislative districts to benefit their own party — burst into view as a major political issue in 2018.

Even as voters and courts vigorously rejected the practice this year, politicians in some states are doing their best to remain in control of the redistricting process. Critics argue that amounts to letting politicians pick their own voters.

For years, the world has imposed strict sanctions on North Korea in an attempt to stop its development of nuclear weapons. Officials from nations across the globe have seized shipments of raw materials, shut down shell companies and interdicted ships smuggling equipment.

But despite these efforts, last year North Korea tested the most powerful weapons known to humanity: a nuclear device far larger than any it had tested before, and an intercontinental ballistic missile that put much of the world, including the U.S., within range.

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Democrats will have control of the U.S. House once again beginning in January, thanks, in large part, to their performance in America's suburbs.

After decades of Americans gobbling up more and more turkey, production of the bird hasn't quite been flying the same in recent years.

The U.S. produced about 6 billion pounds of ready-to-cook turkey in each of the last two years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those were among the highest production levels on record for the industry.

But just looking at those two years misses the bigger picture.

The country's cultural divide, as evidenced by Tuesday's elections, is a real one.

But there are some things that are part of the American experience, whether you're biking across Manhattan or driving a 4x4 through Montana.

As the U.S. Postal Service's law enforcement arm investigates hand-made potential explosives sent to prominent Democrats and other critics of the president across the country, they have begun a process that's become a rarer one for the agency.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service opened 19 cases related to suspicious items or substances in Fiscal Year 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

That number is a steep drop from four years prior, when postal inspectors initiated more than 200 cases.