Last week one of the students on my MA in Online Journalism was looking to find French people based in the city for a local angle on the presidential elections taking place in France. “Ah!” I thought. “That’s a job for a Facebook Graph search”. It’s the sort of situation that arises regularly in the newsroom — so here’s how to do it:
What is Facebook Graph search — and why is it useful for journalists?
Facebook Graph Search in 2013
Facebook Graph was launched in 2013 as a specific tool for finding people based on their interests. The ‘graph’ part refers to its ability to find people based on intersecting qualities: combinations of their likes, places of work, friends, and where they live and come from.
The tool itself was dropped in 2014, but the ability to search based on intersecting qualities remained, as part of the general Facebook search. You just have to know how to use it… Continue reading →
The Centre for Investigative Journalism have launched a new video series to help journalists better understand information security risks and use tools to protect communication with sources: Infosec Bytes. Continue reading →
How do you feel about the intertwining of computer science with journalism?
Not surprisingly, I’m quite positive about it. I think most industries benefit from being exposed to different practices and ideas, as they make you reevaluate your own habits and assumptions.
That has very much been the case with the influence of computer science on journalism: in many ways data journalism is more open and more collaborative than other parts of journalism, and that has led to some of its best work.
Health and safety guidance for journalists typically focuses on traditional issues like working in dangerous locations, or using desktop computers. Few resources tackle the issues raised by frequent use of mobile devices for work. One exception is a new ebook on Instagram by one of my students, Robyn Bateman. In this extract, Robyn outlines the potential side effects of frequent mobile phone use and techniques to combat that.
I’m interested in Instagram, but I’m also interested in the potential health implications for mobile journalists or, indeed, anyone regularly using a mobile phone to create content out in the field. Including Instagrammers.
I suffer terribly from this. Bought on by bad posture and enhanced by a lot of computer and mobile phone use, I get everything from a numb hand and arm, to tension in my jaw, knotted shoulders, dizzy and tired spells.
So I did some research — and the good news is our mobile phones aren’t to blame: we are. We don’t have to ditch smartphones for personal or professional use (or both), we just have to change the way we use them. Continue reading →
Another month, another set of new feature launches: this time the longform blogging platform Mediumannouncing ‘Series‘, a “new type of story”, then days later Facebook announcing its ‘Messenger Day‘ feature.
Eva Constantaras is a data journalist and trainer who recently wrote the Data Journalism Manual for the UN Development Program. In a special guest post she talks about the background to the manual, her experiences in working with journalists and professors who want to introduce data journalism techniques in developing nations, and why the biggest challenges not technological, but cultural.
There is a growing awareness that the challenge of teaching data journalism in many countries is split straight down the middle between teaching data and teaching journalism — where neither data science nor public interest journalism are particularly common. Open data can be a boon to democracy — but only if there are professionals capable and motivated to transform that data into information for the public. Continue reading →
“Despite reports of widespread interception of communications by the UK government, and revelations that police were using surveillance powers to access journalists’ communications data to identify sources, regional newspaper journalists show few signs of adapting source protection and information security practices to reflect new legal and technological threats, and there is widespread ignorance of what their employers are doing to protect networked systems of production. This paper argues that the “reactive” approach to source protection that seeks to build a legal defence if required, is no longer adequate in the context of workforce monitoring, and that publishers need to update their policies and practice to address ongoing change in the environment for journalists and sources.”