Last month Basile Simon from BBC News Labs gave a talk at the CSV conference in Berlin: a two-day “community conference for data makers” (notes here). I invited Basile to publish his talk here in a special guest post.
At BBC News Labs, we’ve been pushing for more linked data in news for years now. We built a massive international news aggregator based on linked data, and spent years making it better… but it’s our production and live services who do the core of the job today.
We’re trying to stay relevant and to model our massive dataset of facts, quotes, news and articles. The answer to this may lie in structured journalism.
Starting in 2012, News Labs was founded to play with linked data. The original team, comprised of many data architects, strongly believed this was a revolution in the way we approached our journalism.
The media’s reaction to David Bowie‘s death from cancer early this morning demonstrates just how widely curation has become in journalism practice – and specifically, how it has become the web native version of the obituary. Below I’ve done a bit of curation of my own: 8 13 16 ways that different publications used curation to mark the death of a legend. If you have seen others, please let me know.
At the end of July this year the BBC ended a quiet experiment that had been going on for the last 18 months: a Head of Statistics role funded initially by the corporation’s innovation fund and then by election coverage money.
Anthony Reuben was the person occupying that role. A business reporter with almost two decades’ experience at the BBC, Reuters, Sky, the Money Channel and the FT, he was helping to design a new statistics course for the BBC College of Journalism when the need for a new role became clear.
“We got to the last slide, which was where to turn for more help. There were plenty of people outside the BBC, but nobody in it who had the time or skills to help with statistical questions. So we applied for a year’s funding from the Innovation Fund.”
What the head of statistics role involved
Once in the role Reuben would sit with the planning team and attend some of the daily news and planning meetings to anticipate big stories which might “set off alarm bells”. Continue reading →
The proposals include the creation of a Hyperlocal Forum which will work towards a number of objectives and shared areas of interest, with initial partners including Nesta and the Carnegie Trust.
The proposals for comment are to:
introduce an external linking system, currently being rolled out to all BBC website Local Live streams across the country, to hyperlocals and bloggers, and ensuring their content is showcased and credited on the BBC website
include hyperlocal providers in training and events as part of its media partnership work
invite hyperlocal bodies to be represented on the Local Journalism Working Group and other relevant panels
ensure all local BBC teams are aware of hyperlocals operating in their area
promote an updated register of hyperlocal sites, expected to be published at the end of the year
engage with partners from across the hyperlocal community and other external media to establish a Hyperlocal Forum to meet twice a year from November.
Some of this work is already being done (particularly Local Live), but the register suggests a more comprehensive approach and linking has long been a concern.
In a guest post for OJB, Damian Radcliffe argues that the need for policy makers to support hyperlocal publishers is stronger than ever – and explains just how that support can happen.
When I first started reporting on hyperlocal media in 2009 it was against a daily backdrop predicting the death of newspapers and clarion calls for public intervention to save this vital resource.
Since then, this hysteria has died down, although it’s clear that many of the structural challenges being faced by the local media sector have not gone away.
In January Press Gazette reported that there had been a net reduction of 181 UK local newspapers since 2005, including a further 11 lost this year, whilst a leaked memo from Trinity Mirror shed light on the commercial pressures many newspapers groups face and how this is influencing reporting on the ground.
Despite this, the UK’s industrious hyperlocal media sector continues to beaver away. Continue reading →
This has been the election when the geeks came in from the cold. There may be no Nate Silver-style poster boy for the genre this side of the pond – but instead, I believe we’ve finally seen the culmination of a decade of civic hacking outside the newsroom. And if anyone deserves credit for that, it is not the Guardian or the Telegraph, but MySociety, Tweetminster, and Democracy Club.
In the time between that election and this one, however, two things have changed within the news industry: firstly, a more code-literate workforce, including dedicated data project teams; and secondly, the rise of mobile, social media-driven consumption and, as part of that, visual journalism. Continue reading →
What do you do when you’ve been using a hashtag for some time and another one comes along with the potential to be more popular? Do you jump on board – or do you stick with the hashtag you’ve built up? How do you measure the best hashtag to use for your work?