Tag Archives: The Guardian

Giving a voice to the (literally) voiceless: data journalism and the dead

Red and blue person icons indicating the dead

In the Bureau’s Naming the Dead visualisation, blue indicates civilian victims and red alleged militants

Giving a voice to the voiceless is one of the core principles of journalism. Traditionally this means those without the power or money to amplify their own voices, but in recent years a strand of work has developed in data journalism that deserves particular attention: projects which give a voice to people who literally don’t have one — because they are dead. Continue reading

Help Me Investigate: rip it up and start again (but I’ll still help you investigate)

Help Me Investigate

I’m stopping Help Me Investigate, my collaborative investigation project. It’s time to rip it up and start again.

This year has seen the launch of a number of impressive crowdfunded and crowdsourced projects on platforms including Beacon and Contributoria – plus OpenCorporates Missions and the enormously impressive Bellingcat. Their rise, for me, confirms that there is no longer a need for the original mission that Help Me Investigate took on way back in 2009. Continue reading

A lesson from Superstorm Sandy: How to find sources using social media

By Ian Silvera

In a world where an extraordinary amount of people own smartphones, it’s easier than ever to connect instantaneously with those affected by significant news events wherever you happen to be based. But what tools can help reporters find those affected?

Simple searches on Twitter or Facebook may present too many ‘junk leads’ to wade through. Tools like TweetDeck are better, but what if you were able to find social media users more quickly through geolocation? Surely that would be a much more efficient method?

There are numerous websites out there that offer this functionality.

Continue reading

Hyperlocal Voices: Ian Wylie, Jesmond Local


Yessi Bello continues the Hyperlocal Voices series with an interview with JesmondLocal‘s Ian Wylie, who decided to dabble in local journalism after taking voluntary redundancy from a national newspaper. Still viewed as a “pro-bono”, ” good thing to do” Jesmond Local has now become an integral part of the Jesmond Community.

1)Who were the people behind the blog, and what where their backgrounds?

After 15 years working for The Guardian as a reporter, features writer and finally section editor, I took voluntary redundancy in 2009, and began thinking about what I would do with the next chapter of my career. I’d been involved mostly in national newspaper and magazine journalism, so local journalism was something I hadn’t dabbled in before.

The concept of “hyperlocal” fascinated me as an area for me to explore and an opportunity for me also to “give something back”. I discovered that Newcastle University lecturer David Baines had a research interest in the subject. We met to discuss and he suggested I offer some of his students the chance to launch a hyperlocal website, which we did almost exactly a year ago. Continue reading

Guardian makes its comments accessible, SEO friendly and mobile friendly all in one go!

The Guardian has changed its user-generated comment system – moving from a client-side system to a server-side one. (This story was first published here, where you can read a bit more of the background.)

With the old system, once you loaded a story, some javascript would go off and look up readers’ comments and display them. This wasn’t terribly accessibleif you couldn’t or didn’t run javascript, you couldn’t see the comments.

It was also bad for SEO, as search engines couldn’t run the javascript (so couldn’t see the comments). And if your mobile didn’t run javascript (like mine), you couldn’t read the comments either.

With the new system, the comments are just part of the web page, like all the rest of the text.

This is a great change by the Guardian, and not before time. Google has already started to index the text of comments, as this search for some text I left as a comment once shows.

If you notice any problems, they’ve asked you to point them out.

C&binet: The mice that roared. Or at least wrote some things on Post-Its.

I spent today at the hyperlocal C&binet event, organised by Creative Industries MP Sion Simon at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. I’ve already blogged my thoughts leading up to event but thought I would add some more links and context.

For me, it is significant that this happened at all. Normally these sorts of events are dominated by large publishers with lobbying muscle. Yet here we had a group combining hyperlocal bloggers, successful startups like Facebook, Ground Report, Global Voices and the Huffington Post, social media figures like Nick Booth and Jon Bounds, and traditional organisations like The Guardian, BBC, RSA and Ofcom. Jeff Jarvis pitched into the mix via Skype.

As for the event itself, it began the previous afternoon with a presentation from Enders Analysis, embedded below: Continue reading

Newspapers: turn off your RSS feeds

Update, 2 days later: Paul lets me guest post here (ie I wrote this, not him). It was going fairly well until I wrote this post … You can read my climbdown here

The latest subscriber figures (see table below, and first published in my blog’s newspapers category) show that, apart from a couple of exceptions, it’s time for newspapers to turn off their RSS feeds – and hand over the server space, technical support and webpage real estate to an alternative, such as their Twitter accounts.

(You can read some of the defences of RSS here and here)

The table below shows that only 3 of the 9 national newspapers have an RSS feed with more than 10,000 subscribers in Google Reader.

And most newspaper RSS feeds have readerships in the 00s, if that.

melanie-phillips-rssDaily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips has just 11 subscribers to her RSS feed (maybe there’s hope for the UK population yet …).

Despite having virtually no users, the Mail churns out 160 RSS feeds and the Mirror 280. All so a couple of thousand people can look at them in total.

The other papers are just as bad. And while the Guardian has a couple of RSS readers with decent numbers (partly because Google recommends it in its news bundle), it has more feeds than there are people in the UK … Continue reading