The following Q&A is cross-posted from a post on the Media And Digital Enterprise project of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Central Lancashire.
Why do journalists need to learn data skills?
For two key reasons: firstly because information is more widely available, and data skills are one of the few remaining ways for journalists to establish their value in that environment.
And secondly, because data is becoming a very important source of both news and the business case for media organisations. Continue reading
As part of the research for my book on online journalism, I interviewed Martyn Inglis about The Guardian’s Blairometer, which measured a live stream of data from Twitter as Tony Blair appeared before the Chilcot inquiry. I’m reproducing it in full here, with permission:
How did you prepare for dealing with live data and sentiment analysis?
I think it was important to be aware of our limitations. We can process a limited amount of data – due to Twitter quotas and so on. This is not a definitive sample. Once we accept that (a) we are not going to rank every tweet and (b) this is therefore going to be a limited exercise it frees us to make concessions that provide an easier technology solution.
Sentiment analysis is hard programatically, given the short time span of the event in which we can do this manually. We had an interface view onto incoming tweets which we had pulled from a twitter search. This allows us to be really accurate in our assessment. This does not work over a long period of time – the Chilcot inquiry is one thing, you couldn’t do it for an event lasting a week or so on. Continue reading
Reuters recently published a report entitled: ‘What’s Happening to Our News: An investigation into the likely impact of the digital revolution on the economics of news publishing in the UK‘. In it author Andrew Currah provides an overview of the situation facing UK publishers, and 3 broad suggestions as to ways forward – namely, kitemarks, public support, and digital literacy education.
The kitemark idea seems to have stirred up the most fuss. In the first of a series of email exchanges I asked Currah how he saw this making any difference to consumption of newspapers, and how it could work in practice. This is his response:
Yes, the kitemark idea has triggered quite a response… Unfortunately, as the discussion online suggests, the term has implied to many a top-down, centralised system of certification which would lead to some form of
‘apartheid’ between bloggers and journalists. Continue reading