Tag Archives: bcuvideos

VIDEO: How (and why) to create an R notebook for data journalism

Notebooks are one of the ways that data journalists document their work, and make it transparent for others to follow and reproduce. In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what notebooks are and walk through how to create one in RStudio.

(Check out yesterday’s video on the pros and cons of R in data journalism for an introduction to R in general)

You can read Knuth on literate programming here; more on the pitfalls of “bad Excel”; and the story about the Excel spreadsheet that led to austerity here.

VIDEO: Why is R used by data journalists?

R — along with Python and JavaScript — is one of the most popular programming languages used by data journalists. In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what R is and why you might choose to use it rather than spreadsheets alone, or other languages, in your work.

Oh, and a quick caveat: since Colab notebooks were added to Google Drive, I now prefer Python — but it’s a personal thing, and most of this video can be applied to either language.

The talk by FiveThirtyEight’s Andrew Flowers mentioned in this video can be found here.

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VIDEO: Search engine optimisation (SEO) for journalists

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the skill of making it easier for people to find your article when they’re looking for the story, or issue, online. In this video I explain some key techniques in optimising your writing for findability, some of the jargon involved in SEO, and three ‘levels’ that you need to consider in optimising content.

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University. A series of video posts from my teaching can be found at this link.

VIDEO: Genre and structure in factual storytelling

In a fifth video post on narrative concepts* I build on some of the ideas about structure in the third post, exploring Freytag’s Pyramid and the kabob as narrative devices for structuring longer stories — and the role of genre in learning how to write in a new format.

In particular, I look at the interview format and different generic techniques such as headline styles and standfirsts — and I look at immersive longform stories and the new genre of scrollytelling.

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. A series of video posts from my teaching can be found at this link.

*The other videos are:

  1. How narrative concepts can help journalists
  2. Elements of narrative for factual storytellers
  3. How narrative structures can help you write quicker, and better
  4. More factual storytelling techniques: time, narration, and “show, don’t tell”

VIDEO: More factual storytelling techniques: time, narration, and “show, don’t tell”

In a fourth video post on narrative concepts* I look at the different ways temporality can be used in factual storytelling, different choices that can be made about the narrator, and the principle of showing rather than telling.

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. Links mentioned in the video include:

A series of video posts from my teaching can be found at this link.

*The other videos are:

  1. How narrative concepts can help journalists
  2. Elements of narrative for factual storytellers
  3. How narrative structures can help you write quicker, and better

VIDEO: How narrative structures can help you write quicker, and better

In the latest video post on narrative concepts (you can see the previous two here), this video looks at narrative structure — in particular, how Cortazzi‘s typical narrative structure can help us identify common patterns across different journalistic formats, from the inverted pyramid to the WSJ feature formula.

Being able to identify these structures means we can adapt more quickly to new formats — including those on new platforms.

The video also touches on the use of temporality in storytelling, and how stories might jump back and forth in time to keep readers engaged.

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. The series of video posts can be found at this link.

VIDEO: Elements of narrative for factual storytellers

Building on last week’s video post on narrative concepts, this latest video explores how journalists can think about different elements of narrative and their role in our stories — from Mieke Bal’s fabula, stories and texts, to considering character and settings, and how both can be used to create movement to engage the audience.

The video was made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University. A couple of other videos are mentioned in it: firstly, this Twitter video story made using Apple Clips; and secondly, Ira Glass’s advice on storytelling, embedded below.

A series of video posts from my teaching can be found at this link.

VIDEO: How narrative concepts can help journalists

Having a critical awareness of narrative concepts and techniques can help journalists report in a more engaging — and a more ethical — way.

In the video below, made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University, I talk about what research tells us about narrative’s impact on audiences of news, how concepts like the ‘Law of narrative gravity‘ can make us more aware of potential negative impacts, and how using concepts like genre and audience can help when adapting to new platforms.

This video was first made for students on the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and is shared as part of a series of video posts.

VIDEO PLAYLIST: Finding stories in company accounts

Company accounts can be a goldmine of story leads — from “following the money” and uncovering complex webs of relationships, to simply reporting concerns and individual payments.

I’ve put together a playlist of videos covering a number of different techniques you can use to find stories. Those are:

  1. What stories can be found in company accounts
  2. How to find stories in the text section at the front of company accounts
  3. Finding stories in the cash flow statement
  4. Using accounts to find stories about relationships and potential conflicts of interest
  5. Tools and tips for journalists using company accounts
  6. Finding stories about tax, pay, debt and other leads

The entire playlist is embedded below.

You can also read my posts on teaching journalists how to find stories in company accounts; how one journalist used these techniques to tell a story about a social media platform for sex workers; and tips from a story about a fashion charity.

You can find resources related to the video in this GitHub repo including examples of accounts and links to stories using these techniques.

The video was first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and is shared here as part of a series of video posts.

VIDEO: Computational thinking in data journalism

I’ve written previously about the importance of computational thinking as a technique in data journalism, as well as some examples of that.

In this video — first made for students on the MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University and shared as part of a series of video posts — I explain what computational thinking is and how it can improve your ability to work with data as a journalist, with some exercises and examples that help you exercise your own computational thinking.

Links mentioned in the video include Adrian Holovaty’s post A fundamental way newspaper sites need to change; Politifact; and How BuzzFeed News Used Betting Data To Investigate Match-Fixing In Tennis;

Computational thinking challenges can be found here.

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