I’ve just finished looking at the work from the Diploma stage of my MA in Online Journalism, and – if you’ll forgive the effusiveness – boy is it good.
The work includes data visualisation, Flash, video, mapping and game journalism – in short, everything you’d want from a group of people who are not merely learning how to do journalism but exploring what journalism can become in a networked age.
But before I get to the detail, a bit of background…
We’re in the second of three parts of the MA – the Diploma stage (read about the Certificate stage here). Students are studying 2 modules: Multimedia Journalism, and Production Labs.
The Multimedia Journalism module sees students explore a range of media platforms – audio, video, interactivity, data and visualisation (I’ll write about Production Labs at another point).
Surprisingly – or perhaps not, given my own current interests – a majority of students decided to specialise in exploring data in some format, with video also proving popular. Over a series of posts I’ll look at some of the most interesting work – beginning with an example of how data journalism skills can be applied to music journalism.
Visualising crime, VFM, rainfall and everything else about music festivals
If you wanted to know which festival was the safest in terms of numbers of arrests and numbers of crimes, you could now see at a glance (with the context of each festival’s footfall).
In addition, the investigation unearthed some curious anomalies, such as the crackdown on untaxed vehicles at one Festival, while data looking at capacity compared with estimated attendance highlighted the peak that preceded Glastonbury taking a break (presumably to resolve security and fencing issues).
For a consumer angle, Caroline used crowdsourcing to compile a ‘value for money’ chart showing how much it would cost to see each festival’s performers as separate concerts.
And for a viral-friendly piece of visualisation, it’s hard to beat this image of festival rainfall in the past 3 decades.
The most impressive aspect of Caroline’s work was that underlying the data and graphics was some solid journalism: combining public data, Freedom of Information requests, personal connections and a critical eye that followed up and verified the devil in the detail. It shows that you can do in-depth investigations in the field of music journalism.