Is data journalism ‘time consuming’ or ‘resource intensive’? The excuse – and I think it is an excuse – seems to come up at an increasing number of events whenever data journalism is discussed. “It’s OK for the New York Times/Guardian/BBC,” goes the argument. “But how can our small team justify the resources – especially in a time of cutbacks?”
The idea that data journalism inherently requires extra resources is flawed – but understandable. Spectacular interactives, large scale datasets and investigative projects are the headliners of data journalism’s recent history. We have oohed and aahed over what has been achieved by programmer-journalists and data sleuths…
But that’s not all there is.
As many readers of this blog will have received a Kindle for Christmas I thought I should share my list of the free ebooks that I recommend stocking up on.
Online journalism and multimedia ebooks
Starting with more general books, Mark Briggs‘s book Journalism 2.0 (PDF*) is a few years old but still provides a good overview of online journalism to have by your side. Mindy McAdams‘s 42-page Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency (PDF) adds some more on that front, and Adam Westbrook‘s Ideas on Digital Storytelling and Publishing (PDF) provides a larger focus on narrative, editing and other elements.
After the first version of this post, MA Online Journalism student Franzi Baehrle suggested this free book on DSLR Cinematography, as well as Adam Westbrook on multimedia production (PDF). And Guy Degen recommends the free ebook on news and documentary filmmaking from ImageJunkies.com.
The Participatory Documentary Cookbook [PDF] is another free resource on using social media in documentaries.
The Traffic Factories is an ebook that explores how a number of prominent US news organisations use metrics, and Chartbeat’s role in that. You can download it in mobi, PDF or epub format here.
In writing last week’s Guardian Data Blog piece on How to be a data journalist I asked various people involved in data journalism where they would recommend starting. The answers are so useful that I thought I’d publish them in full here.
The Telegraph’s Conrad Quilty-Harper:
Keep adding to your knowledge and follow other data journalists/people who work with data on Twitter.
Look for sources of data:
ONS stats release calendar is a good start http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/release-calendar/index.html Look at the Government data stores (Data.gov, Data.gov.uk, Data.london.gov.uk etc).
Check out What do they know, Freebase, Wikileaks, Manyeyes, Google Fusion charts. Continue reading