Tag Archives: Guardian

How one journalist found hidden code in a Google report and turned it into a story

right to be forgotten analysis

The story found that most requests were made by private individuals, not politicians or criminals. Image: The Guardian

Sylvia Tippmann wasn’t looking for a story. In fact, she was working on a way that Google could improve the way that it handled ‘right to be forgotten‘ processes, when she stumbled across some information that she suspected the search giant hadn’t intended to make public.

Two weeks ago The Guardian in the UK and Correct!v in Germany published the story of the leaked data, which was then widely picked up by the business and technology press: Google had accidentally revealed details on hundreds of thousands of ‘right to be forgotten’ requests, providing a rare insight into the controversial law and raising concerns over the corporation’s role in judging requests.

But it was the way that Tippmann stumbled across the story that fascinated me: a combination of tech savvy, a desire to speed up work processes, and a strong nose for news that often characterise data journalists’ reporting. So I wanted to tell it here. Continue reading

Data journalism at the 2015 UK General Election: geeks bearing gifts

bbc election quizThis has been the election when the geeks came in from the cold. There may be no Nate Silver-style poster boy for the genre this side of the pond – but instead, I believe we’ve finally seen the culmination of a decade of civic hacking outside the newsroom. And if anyone deserves credit for that, it is not the Guardian or the Telegraph, but MySociety, Tweetminster, and Democracy Club.

Looking back at my review of online election reporting in 2010 it’s striking how much has changed. Back then data journalism’s contribution was all about interactive presentation of results, but little else.

In the time between that election and this one, however, two things have changed within the news industry: firstly, a more code-literate workforce, including dedicated data project teams; and secondly, the rise of mobile, social media-driven consumption and, as part of that, visual journalism. Continue reading

How to liveblog a TV debate: lessons from #leadersdebate 

frontpages

Newspaper front pages the morning after the leaders debate. Most newspapers also liveblogged the debate on their websites.

 

Last night saw the leaders of 7 political parties in the UK debate live on TV. But part and parcel of such a debate these days is the ‘second screen’ journalism of liveblogging. In this post I look at how different news organisations approached their own liveblogs, and what you can take from that if you plan to liveblog a debate in the future (for example this one). Continue reading

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The UK Headline?

Until recently a journalism trainer in the UK could safely berate a trainee for Writing Headlines Where Every Word Began With A Capital.

It is a style of headline writing common in US publications, but non-existent in the UK, where newspapers have traditionally fit into one of two camps: the SHOUTY SHOUTY REDTOPS and the broadsheets who Only make the first letter uppercase unless there’s a proper noun.

(The mid-markets, as might be expected, took the best of both worlds, reserving shouting for the front pages and lower case for the inside pages).

So a journalism trainee who Wrote Like This had likely never paid much attention to newspapers, or only when they appeared in Hollywood films.

Or perhaps they just read Guido Fawkes, who, for whatever reason appears to have followed the Hollywood style of headline writing:

Guido Fawkes headlines

Guido Fawkes’s headlines adhere to the US style

 

Continue reading

HOW TO: Write a ‘Get the data’ article

ft get the data

One of the simplest ways to get started with data journalism techniques is a ‘Get the data’ article.

Start by looking at examples of other ‘Get the data’ articles. A good search for this is:

intitle:"get the data" -getthedata

This searches for the exact phrase “get the data” in the title of the page but also excludes the site getthedata.org (which otherwise dominates results) by using the minus operator.

You can obviously add further terms, such as ‘news’ or ‘finance’, to narrow further.

Here are some examples:

Those three examples show two different types of datablog. The Guardian, for example, take public data which has just been released and make it more accessible to a broader audience. Continue reading

Transfer rumours, robot journalism and The Guardian: when it makes sense to put a poll BEFORE the article

Football transfer rumours  Daley Blind to Manchester United    Football   theguardian.com

Nice work by The Guardian (above) in their online reporting on transfer rumours: readers of each report are presented with a vote on whether they think the rumour is likely to be true before they get to read the full article.

It’s a good example of putting interactivity – and distribution – front and centre when the headline has already done most of the editorial work. Continue reading

Is there a ‘canon’ of data journalism? Comment call!

Looking across the comments in the first discussion of the EJC’s data journalism MOOC it struck me that some pieces of work in the field come up again and again. I thought I’d pull those together quickly here and ask: is this the beginnings of a ‘canon’ in data journalism? And what should such a canon include? Stick with me past the first obvious examples…

Early data vis

These examples of early data visualisation are so well-known now that one book proposal I recently saw specified that it would not talk about them. I’m talking of course about… Continue reading