Author Archives: Paul Bradshaw

How to hoax the international sports media with nothing more than a red circle

School photo

Who is this man? It’s not Manuel Neuer. And yes, that caption is worth a separate post all of its own.

After just seven minutes of the match with Arsenal, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer was already a hero: he had just saved a penalty from Mesut Ozil.

But Reddit user Vikistormborn was curious about what the commentator described as their “long” history, and started searching for details on Ozil’s childhood. And after finding this image on a Telegraph story, he or she decided to have a little fun…

The original image of Mesut Ozil's youth team before the red circles were added

“I simply circled the other biggest looking guy in the picture and tweeted that it was Neuer,” he writes. Continue reading

FAQ: Big data and journalism

The latest in the series of Frequently Asked Questions comes from a UK student, who has questions about big data.

How can data journalists make sense of such quantities of data and filter out what’s meaningful?

In the same way they always have. Journalists’ role has always been to make choices about which information to prioritise, what extra information they need, and what information to include in the story they communicate. Continue reading

FAQ: Hyperlocal sustainability

The latest in the series of Frequently Asked Questions comes from a UK student, who has questions about hyperlocal blogging.

In the long term, how sustainable is a hyperlocal site economically?

It depends on the business model, the wider market, and the individuals involved in the business. Continue reading

Training: scraping in the Netherlands

Scraping for Journalists ebookI’m delivering a course in scraping in Utrecht in the Netherlands on April 2. The booking page with more details about location etc is here – a broad breakdown below:

  • Scraping for journalism: ideas and examples
  • Scraping basics: finding structure in HTML and URLs; what’s possible with programming
  • Simple scraping jobs: how to write a basic scraper in 5 minutes
  • Scraping tools: Outwit Hub and Import.io
  • How to scrape dozens of public webpages
  • Scraping databases with empty searches
  • How to understand scrapers on Scraperwiki: Scraping PDFs, lists of URLs, and databases with specific searches

FAQ: What does blogging add to journalism?

Its been a while since I posted a post answering Frequently Asked Questions. This one comes from a student in Holland, whose thesis revolves around the idea that ‘Blogging adds little to journalism

What’s the difference between blogging and traditional journalism?

I’ve answered this and similar questions in a previous FAQ on journalism vs blogging.

What are the pros and cons of blogging compared to other forms of journalism?

That post and other older FAQs probably give some further answers, but a short answer is: blogging provides an extra space to invite people into your journalism and provide opportunities for them to contribute additional information, suggested avenues of inquiry, etc.

It helps build the relationship between journalist and source in a way that standard formats don’t always provide. Continue reading

A review of Help Me Investigate in 2013 – and learning from it in 2014

Help Me Investigate logo

Over on the Help Me Investigate Blog there’s a review of the project’s activities over the past year across its four sites: Health, Olympics, Education and Welfare.

Four site editors landed jobs in the media during the year, which was particularly nice to see, but also meant we lost a certain amount of continuity. Learning from that, this year I’ll be focusing the project’s efforts particularly on welfare issues such as child poverty, housing, food poverty, and the one year anniversary of the bedroom tax.

If you want to get involved, please contact carol@helpmeinvestigate.com or tweet us for a follow on Twitter @carolmiers and @paulbradshaw.

Lyra McKee: why more journalists are going direct to readers

Lyra looked to crowdfunding when writing a book on the murder of the Reverend Robert Bradford

Lyra looked to crowdfunding when writing a book on the murder of the Reverend Robert Bradford

Lyra McKee* is an investigative journalist in Northern Ireland. In this post, originally published on The Muckrakershe explains why she feels journalists are turning away from traditional outlets in favour of building their own brands while exploring crowdfunding and micropublishing.

When I talk to older journalists (older being over the age of 30), they ask me the same question: who do you write for?

It’s an awkward question. If it was 2009, I’d tell them I’d been published in (or had pieces broadcast on) the Belfast Telegraph, Private Eye, BBC, Sky News – a dozen or so news outlets that took my work back then.

In 2013 the answer is: none.

I’m part of a generation of “digital native” journalists who sell their work directly to readers, bypassing traditional news outlets like newspapers and broadcasters. Increasingly, reporters are using services like BeaconKickstarter and Woopie to raise funds directly from their readers and publish their work.

Why are they doing this? Continue reading

Data journalism ebook now on Amazon’s Kindle Store

Data journalism book Data Journalism Heist

My short ebook Data Journalism Heist is now available on Amazon for Kindle (US link here - also available on other countries’ Amazon sites).

The book is an introduction to data journalism and two simple techniques in particular: finding story leads using pivot tables and advanced filters.

The book also covers useful sources of data, how to follow leads up, and how to tell the resulting story.

You can also buy it from Leanpub, where it’s been live for a couple months now and is available in PDF, mobi and ePub formats. Comments welcome as always.