VIDEO: Thinking mobile-first in data journalism

As news audiences have moved from desktop-based to primarily mobile consumption, the news industry has moved to mobile-first production — but it’s very easy to forget mobile when working on a data journalism project.

In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what considerations a data journalist should have when approaching a story with a mobile-first mindset, and some useful tools to help you see what a story looks like on different devices.

Links mentioned in the video:

VIDEO: Making video for online and social

Online and social video is different to broadcast journalism. This video, made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, explains the 5 different types that have been identified — as well as how live video combines a number of those. It identifies mistakes to avoid, and tips on preparing and executing online and social video. (Note: this was made before Periscope was closed)

The video refers to a number of examples — you can find links to those below.

Videos mentioned:

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VIDEO: Visual storytelling for journalists — from composition and emojis to gifs and memes

Being able to tell stories visually is a key skill for multiplatform journalists. This video, made for students on the MA journalism courses at Birmingham City University, explains a range of visual techniques that factual storytellers are using, from image composition to gifs and memes, as well as some tools that can help you make your own visuals.

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. The series of video posts can be found at this link.

VIDEO: How to use R to fetch data from a postcodes API

All this week I have been publishing videos about APIs, from how data journalists use APIs and the jargon involved, to understanding the data formats they return. In this final video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University — I explain how to use an R notebook to fetch data from one particular API, postcodes.io.

You can find the notebook with all the code on GitHub here.

VIDEO: Understanding JSON and XML (when using APIs)

In two previous videos this week I introduced APIs for data journalists, and explained some of the jargon involved. In a short third video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain how to understand the data formats you’re likely to come across: JSON and XML.

One useful tool to install in your browser to help with this process is JSONView.

Links mentioned in the video:

VIDEO: Understanding API jargon for data journalists

Yesterday I shared a video introducing APIs for data journalists. In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain some of the jargon you’re likely to come across when using an API.

That includes ‘functions’ and ‘methods’ that allow you to request certain types of data; ‘arguments’ that allow you to specify what you want data about, or what format; and API ‘keys’ that act as passwords to access the data.

Links mentioned in the video:

VIDEO: What are APIs — and how are they used in data journalism?

APIs can be very useful sources of data for data journalists. In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what an API is and how they have been used in a variety of data-driven stories.

Links mentioned in the video:

VIDEO: Writing for social media: ‘shortform’ storytelling

Writing for social media is a different skill to writing news articles, or even writing headlines. In this video I explain key techniques in shortform storytelling, such as the importance of quotes and numbers, images and video, as well as examples of narrative structures used in tweets and threads.

The video includes the following checklist to use with any piece of social media writing:

  1. Does it have image/video/GIF/emojis?
  2. Does it NOT read like a headline?
  3. Is there a CTA (Call To Action)?
  4. Has it considered hashtags?
  5. Does it @ name subjects?
  6. Does it have beginning and end?
  7. Can it use quotes or numbers?
  8. Is it timed appropriately?
  9. Are you testing different versions?

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University. A series of video posts from my teaching can be found at this link.

VIDEO: How (and why) to create an R notebook for data journalism

Notebooks are one of the ways that data journalists document their work, and make it transparent for others to follow and reproduce. In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what notebooks are and walk through how to create one in RStudio.

(Check out yesterday’s video on the pros and cons of R in data journalism for an introduction to R in general)

You can read Knuth on literate programming here; more on the pitfalls of “bad Excel”; and the story about the Excel spreadsheet that led to austerity here.

VIDEO: Why is R used by data journalists?

R — along with Python and JavaScript — is one of the most popular programming languages used by data journalists. In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what R is and why you might choose to use it rather than spreadsheets alone, or other languages, in your work.

Oh, and a quick caveat: since Colab notebooks were added to Google Drive, I now prefer Python — but it’s a personal thing, and most of this video can be applied to either language.

The talk by FiveThirtyEight’s Andrew Flowers mentioned in this video can be found here.

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