Category Archives: data journalism

“Data matters — but people are still the best sources of stories”  —  insights from investigative journalist Peter Geoghegan

Peter Geoghegan

Peter Geoghegan

In a guest post Jane Haynes speaks to investigative journalist Peter Geoghegan of the award-winning news site The Ferret about data, contacts and “nosing up the trousers of power”.

When the Scottish Government announced last month that it was banning fracking, it was a moment to savour for a group of journalists from an independent news site in the heart of the country.

The team from investigative cooperative The Ferret had been the first news organisation to reveal plans by nine energy companies to bid for licences to extract shale gas from central Scotland.

Using a combination of contact-led information and FOI requests, they uncovered the extent of the ambitions to dig deep into Scottish soil.

Firms target more of central Scotland for fracking

It was part of a steady flow of fracking stories from the Ferret team, ensuring those involved in making decisions were in no doubt of their responsibilities and recognised that every step would be scrutinised. Continue reading

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Data storytelling done right: 8 easy tips to avoid bad visualisation

tesselationIn a guest post for OJB, Steve Carufel interviews Dutch data journalist Thomas de Beus about visualisation, storytelling — and useful new tools for data journalists.

Data journalism is, among other things, the art of resisting the temptation to show spectacular visualisations that fail to highlight the data behind a story.

Insights and relevant statistics can get lost in visual translation, so Thomas de BeusColourful Facts is a great place to start thinking more about clarity and your audience — and less about spectacular graphic design (although you do not want to forego attractiveness entirely). Continue reading

Podcast: Data journalism: More important than ever?

data journalism podcast

I took part in a BBC Academy podcast about data journalism last week, along with The Guardian’s Helena Bengtsson and the BBC’s Daniel Wainwright and John Walton, in the wake of the BBC’s annual plan and three-year strategy which included a focus on the “interrogation of data”.

Among other things we talked about why data journalism is increasingly important, what skills are needed (including the role of code), why I’m launching an MA in Data Journalism, and what sorts of stories can be done with those skills.

If you want to listen, it’s now live on the Academy website.

Data journalism in broadcast news and video: 27+ examples to inspire and educate

channel 4 network diagram

This network diagram comes from a Channel 4 News story

The best-known examples of data journalism tend to be based around text and visuals — but it’s harder to find data journalism in video and audio. Ahead of the launch of my new MA in Data Journalism I thought I would share my list of the examples of video data journalism that I use with students in exploring data storytelling across multiple platforms. If you have others, I’d love to hear about them.

FOI stories in broadcast journalism

victoria derbyshire gif

Freedom of Information stories are one of the most common situations when broadcasters will have to deal with more in-depth data. These are often brought to life by through case studies and interviewing experts. Continue reading

Teaching data journalism in developing countries: lessons from ODECA

Eva Constantaras

Eva Constantaras

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.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant shift in global experiments in data journalism education away from short term activities like boot camps and hackathons to more sustained and sustainable interventions including fellowships and institutes.

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

Civio and transparency in Spain: “We fight for public access to data”

Javier de la Vega

Javier de la Vega

Spanish citizens are now a step closer to understanding how power operates in the country, and how decisions affect them, thanks to the work of organisations like Civio fighting for transparency and access to public data. In October their work was recognised with the Gabriel Garcia Marquez award in innovative journalism for their investigations Medicamentalia. In a guest post for OJB, Nuria Riquelme Palazón spoke with Javier de la Vega, one of the members of Civio.

Access to public information, accountability and participatory democracy may have been a reality in many countries for some time — but in Spain they sounded like a utopia. Entrepreneur Jacobo Elosua and computer technician David Cabo decided that this had to change.

The pair used their savings to build an organisation with the intention of serving those active citizens who, like them, believed in transparency: Civio Foundation.

Taking inspiration from organisations like mySociety in the UK, Ciudadano Inteligente in Chile and the Sunlight Foundation in the USA, they began the long process in 2011. Continue reading

Civio y el poder de la transparencia: “Luchamos por el libre acceso a la información en España”

Javier de la Vega

Javier de la Vega

La ciudadanía española se encuentra un paso más cerca de saber como su gobierno y sus políticos hacen qué, cuándo, por qué y, lo más importante, cómo todo esto les afecta. Y este logro ha sido posible gracias al incesante trabajo de organizaciones como Civio, que lucha por una transparencia real y el libre acceso a la información. El esfuerzo de este equipo fue recompensado el pasado octubre con el premio Gabriel García Márquez en Innovación por una de sus últimas investigaciones: Medicamentalia. Nuria Riquelme Palazón ha hablado con Javier de la Vega, uno de los integrantes de Civio.

Acceso a la información pública, rendición de cuentas, democracia participativa… términos que en países como Reino Unido son una realidad desde hace tiempo, en otros como en España sonaban a una utopía descabellada, y esto tenía que cambiar.

Y el cambio empezó cuando Jacobo Elosua (emprendedor) y David Cabo (informático)  juntaron sus ahorros para construir una organización bajo el servicio de aquellos ciudadanos que, como ellos, creen en la transparencia: la Fundación Civio.

Continue reading