Category Archives: online journalism

Wanted: MA Data Journalism applicants to partner with The Telegraph

telegraph expenses data journalism

The Telegraph was behind one of the biggest data journalism stories of the last decade

As part of the new MA in Data Journalism we have partnered with a number of organisations who are keen to bring data journalism expertise into their newsroom.

I am now inviting applications from people who want to work with The Telegraph during their MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University.

The Telegraph has a long history of data journalism, most famously breaking a series of stories around MPs’ expenses in 2009. Examples of its data journalism – ranging from sport and politics to text analysis and data video – can be found in its TeleGraphs section.

The news organisation is looking for applicants who are interested in developing the ability to clean and analyse data to find interesting stories; an awareness of tools that you can use to source and scrape data; and a knowledge of data visualisation in order to communicate your stories. Successful applicants will learn these skills on the MA course and have the opportunity to apply them in collaboration with The Telegraph. Continue reading

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(More than) 4 examples of computational thinking in journalism

Tennis balls hitting journalist

Computational thinking helps you break down a problem and solve each part logically. Image from BuzzFeed Tennis investigation

Today I will be introducing my MA Data Journalism students to computational thinking techniques (you can read my post about why that’s important here). As part of my preparations I’ve been collecting some of my favourite examples of computational thinking being used to spot and execute data journalism stories – and I’m sharing them here…

Story 1: Which singer has the biggest vocal range?

Which singer has the best vocal range in the UK No it s not who you think Mirror OnlineThis story, published in the UK tabloid newspaper The Mirror, is a great example of understanding how a computer might ‘see’ information and be able to help you extract a story from it. Continue reading

Why journalists ditch the thesaurus when it comes to “said” (for new journalism students who don’t)

Synonyms for "said"

It’s the start of a new term in journalism courses across the country, and journalism lecturers will once again be spending the first few weeks helping students to ‘unlearn’ a habit they acquire at school: the impulse to use multiple synonyms instead of the word “said”.

It’s not their fault. At school pupils are encouraged to extend their vocabulary when writing. Using “said” repetitively is seen as limited or uncreative, and pupils are told to find other words to add variety. “Stated”, “uttered”, and “commented” are just three words that journalism tutors will be striking out in the coming weeks.

But these synonyms are rarely used in journalism. To find out just how rarely they are used — and what the exceptions are — I looked at a sample of the 10 most recent news stories from three outlets: the BBC, Daily Mail/MailOnline, and BuzzFeed (30 in total).

Here’s what I found — plus a little explanation of why we do this. Continue reading

How to: use the AtF Spark font to create charts with just text

atfspark examples

AtF Spark is “a typeface for creating sparklines in text”. In other words, the fonts will convert numbers into something that looks like a chart. It looks pretty cool, and is a neat way to add a little spark (ahem) to your text.

But while the GitHub repo gives some basic instruction on using the fonts, it also assumes quite a bit of prior knowledge, so here’s a tutorial to explain how to use it if you’re not already familiar with web fonts and other technicalities of web design. Continue reading

The new edition of the Online Journalism Handbook is now out!

online journalism handbook 2nd edThe second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook has just been published. It’s an almost complete rewrite from the first edition — and 50,000 words longer to boot.

Among the changes are new chapters on writing for social media and chat apps, liveblogging and mobile journalism, and finding leads and sources online.

The chapter on UGC is now focused instead of community and social media management, while the history chapter has been expanded to cover business models and issues facing the future of online journalism.

There’s more to be written about those changes and what they say about online journalism itself. But for now, it’s here!

Here are 9 email newsletters about data… I think you’ll like at least 4 of them

fairwarning metrics

Sophie Warnes doesn’t just round up data journalism in her emails, she *does* data journalism *about* her emails

As the first group of MA Data Journalism students prepare to start their course this month, I’ve been recommending a number of email newsletters in the field that they should be following — and I thought I should share it here too.

Here, then, are 9 email newsletters about data — if I’ve missed any please let me know. Continue reading

No, I’m not abandoning the term “storytelling”, Alberto — just the opposite (and here’s why)

A digital storyteller looks like this

digital storyteller image by Darren Kuropatwa

Alberto Cairo provoked quite a bit of reaction this week when he tweeted that data journalism and data visualisation ought to abandon the term “storytelling”…

Given that in two weeks I’ll be doing exactly the opposite (my first intake of MA students begin a new module in Narrative at the end of the month) I thought I should add my own reaction. Continue reading