The book has been written in response to requests from journalists who need a book on Excel aimed at storytellers, not accountants.
Finding Stories In Spreadsheets will outline a range of techniques, including ways to find the ‘needle in the haystack’ in text data, number calculations to make stories clearer, and methods of cleaning and combining data to tell new stories, including getting data ready for maps and charts.
Many journalists would find such an idea terrifying: telling everyone how many people are reading my work? Sharing it? Finishing it? There’s simply too much to lose. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
But crowdfunding creates a different dynamic. When I backed SA Mathieson‘s project on Beacon, I wasn’t buying content: I was supporting something I believed in. I was supporting a writer to spend time on one topic.
Notably, Beacon’s own strategy acknowledges this: there is no way to subscribe to the ‘brand’ of Beacon – to get access to all content you must support one specific project. Continue reading →
‘I don’t do numbers’ and ‘I hate maths’ were depressingly common expressions, perhaps unsurprisingly. People wanting to study journalism enjoy the use of language and rarely expect that numbers will be vital to the stories they are telling.
So those responsible for journalism education have a tricky task. A bit like providing a sweet covering to a nasty-tasting tablet, it was said that lecturers need to be adept at finding ingenious ways to teach a practical and relevant use of numbers without ever mentioning the M (maths) or S (statistics) words. Continue reading →
I come upon examples of bad practice in publishing government data on a regular basis, but the Universal Jobmatch tool is an example so bad I just had to write about it. In fact, it’s worse than the old-fashioned data service that preceded it.
“The reporters then did something remarkable. They made a decision to cooperate among all the news organizations and to save first and report later.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. But it was clear that if they didn’t act, critical records of their own country’s history could be lost. The scene was already filling with other reporters eager to grab what stories they could and leave. In contrast, the group was joined by a handful of other like-minded journalists: Anna Babinets of Slidstvo/TV Hromadske; Oleksandr Akymenko, formerly of Forbes; Katya Gorchinska and Vlad Lavrov of the Kyiv Post. Radio Free Europe reporter Natalie Sedletska returned from Prague so she could help, and others came, too.
“… In the tense situation that characterizes Ukraine, conspiracies form quickly. To demonstrate their transparency, the organizers quickly moved to get documents up. By early Tuesday, nearly 400 documents, a fraction of the estimated 20,000 to 50,000 documents, had been posted. Dozens more are being added by the hour.”
For at least four years now, all my online journalism assessments have involved a ‘strategy’ element, including a suggestion that students use analytics to demonstrate an understanding of their audience, and that they can experiment with search engine optimisation and social media optimisation.
This year I’m going further with one undergraduate class. I’m making social media analytics compulsory.
There are dozens of free tools out there to monitor your social media accounts. Here are just a few I’m recommending: Continue reading →
“Before providing two journalists from the Telegraph with accreditation to attend the event House PR has asked them to agree to a number of requests about the coverage they will give it.
“They have even gone as far as to draft Twitter messages which they would like the journalists to send out – and asked that they include a mention of the marketing campaign #PricelessSurprises and @MasterCardUK.”
Do such messages fall foul of the ASA’s guidelines on “marketing communications” on Twitter?
The ASA’s press officer Matt Wilson said that they don’t have a precedent, but told me:
“If entry to the Brit awards was conditional on the journalist tweeting on behalf of Mastercard, we’d likely view that as a ‘reciprocal arrangement’ (i.e. the journalist receiving a benefit they wouldn’t have otherwise). Continue reading →