Cartogram or election map? The Guardian vs The New York Times

guardian referendum map

A cartogram represents geography diagrammatically. Note above for example that London takes up more space than parts of Wales because it has much denser population

The New York Times didn’t use a cartogram for its EU referendum map, Gregor Aisch explained last week, because they are “too confusing for readers unfamiliar with the geography”.

The Guardian, on the other hand, did use a cartogram. In a series of tweets their visuals editor Xaquin Gonzalez explained why

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Don’t blame Facebook for your own filter bubble

As the UK worked through the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union, Tom Steinberg found himself frustrated. “I am actively searching through Facebook for people celebrating the Brexit leave victory,” he wrote. But to no avail. He called on his friends in the technology industry to act on this ‘echo-chamber problem’.

A day later someone else I know – a former journalist now working in the tech sector – expressed the same frustrations — on Facebook, naturally. It seems we have a problem.

At the time of writing Steinberg’s tweet has been retweeted almost 4,000 times. Clearly there is a desire for connection – and yet…

Why are they making the demand of social media companies — and not news organisations? Continue reading

BBC’s Newsnight creates instant 24 hour #EUref news channel using Facebook Live

facebook live bbc newsnight running order

For 45 minutes every weekday night the BBC airs its current affairs program Newsnight. Today, however, the UK needs a little more than 45 minutes to get its head around ‘events‘.

And so, the day that the UK voted to leave the European Union, Newsnight is using Facebook Live to essentially run its own 24 hour TV channel. Beginning with Chris Cook as the UK woke to the result, through to Evan Davis as the day ends, it’s a sign of how a news programme can work around the limitations of broadcast. No fancy studio, no lights and make up: just a journalist and a webcam. Well worth watching.

How one Mexican data team uncovered the story of 4,000 missing women

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by Maria Crosas Batista

Mexican newspaper El Universal has put a face to the 4,534 women who have gone missing in Mexico City and the State of Mexico over the last decade: Ausencias Ignoradas (Ignored Absences) aims to put pressure on the government and eradicate this situation.

Daniela Guazo, from the data journalism team, explains how they gathered the data and presented the information not as numbers but as close people: Continue reading

Sometimes we talk to bad people, and they have to trust us – a podcast talking point

Radiolab’s recent podcast The Buried Bodies Case is a brilliant piece of storytelling. The producers’ newsgathering; the choices of elements and how they are arranged; the tight editing and use of silence — all these make for a masterclass in longform narrative that any journalism student would benefit from exploring.

But it’s not that which prompted me to blog about it.

The content of the podcast is perhaps the best exploration of journalist-source ethics I’ve heard, without it actually being about journalists.

Spoiler alert: if you want to enjoy the podcast without knowing where it goes, then stop here, listen to it, and then come back. Continue reading

Guest post: 5 things I learned from recording my first podcast

Anna Noble, one of my MA Online Journalism students, wrote this about her first experiences of podcasting. I liked it so much I’ve asked to reproduce it here.

For my latest journalism experiment I have bravely entered the world of podcasting with zero broadcasting experience under my belt.

The result was literally days of record, delete, record, edit, delete and then: “That was perfect! But… you forgot to press the record button.

I did manage to work through the frustration and actually start to enjoy discovering what you can do with a mic, a recorder and the free audio editing software Audacity.

I love the amount of creativity that audio allows you: you’ve got the tone, pitch, speed, sound effects, and the actual words you use, all at your disposal. It really allows you the freedom to present a story in a unique voice.

Anyway, here are 5 lessons I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to. Continue reading

Gunfight at the V.V. Corral: the shootout over vertical video

David Neal (@walruswinks) is a producer and director who has been working in vertical video for years. In a special guest post he tells the story of the ongoing battle over the format, how video makers identified good practice, journalists overcame their dislike of vertical — and how in 2016 advertisers are now coming on board.

Since the dawn of the smartphone equipped with a video camera, and even before, people have been posting vertical video on the internet (see here for a retrospective look).

Initially the format was met with almost universal scorn: in 2012, Bento Box, creators of the Glove and Boots video blog, produced the opening salvo (shown below) in what has become a multimedia struggle over the future, or lack thereof, of vertical video, and from there the gunfight expanded.

Hence the title of this post. You may scoff at it, but there is actually (simulated) gunfire in the piece “Turn Your Phone 90 Degrees” at the 50 second mark, as well as lots of gratuitous violence in the animated video “Flip it Parody“, to say nothing of the explosion at 1:10 in “Vertical Framing Video Essay.” Many anti-vertical video trolls are even more hostile: this is something people feel very strongly about. Continue reading