This BBC story involved converting phrases into numbers that could be used in calculations
Earlier this month the BBC Data Unit published a story on unduly lenient sentences which involved working with data that was trapped in phrases.
We needed to be able to take a collection of words such as “11 years and 5 months’ imprisonment” and convert that into something that could be used in spreadsheet calculations (specifically, comparing the lengths of time represented by two different phrases).
It’s a problem you come across every so often as a journalist — especially with FOI requests — so in this post — taken from the book Finding Stories in Spreadsheets — I’ll explain how to do that. Continue reading
My new book — Mobile-First Journalism, with Steve Hill — is published this week.
The book tackles various aspects of the new wave of mobile-centred publishing, from “mojo” techniques and creating mobile apps to native content and visual storytelling.
Along the way we also looked at the new critical issues raised by the shift, from strategic decisions involved in platform publishing, to fake news, trolling and verification.
It’s been a timely book — building on my experiences of designing the new MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University (with some of the first students’ work inspiring parts of the book) — and fun to write.
I’ll be posting extracts from the book in the coming months…
Journalist SA Mathieson has used open data in Britain to put together an impressive new ebook. In a guest post for OJB he looks at the country’s strengths when it comes to open data — and the problems still facing journalists who want to see how the public’s money is spent.
It is tough for a British journalist to admit that their government does something well, but here goes: when it comes to openly releasing data, Great Britain (in other words England, Scotland and Wales) is second only to Taiwan according to the Global Open Data Index.
Westminster gets maximum marks for releasing data on the government’s budget, national statistics, administrative boundaries, national maps, air quality and company registers. Continue reading
The 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!
A month ago I blogged an extended version of a chapter I was invited to write for an edited collection by the Political Studies Association.
That collection is now out. It features over 70 contributions on everything from the role of social media in the election (including specific focuses on gender and UKIP) and media influence to analysis of reporting and, of course, those polls.
The book is available as a free PDF and a website.
A new book on web journalism – with chapters on the seven qualities of journalism on the web – has been made available for free online. Continue reading
My short ebook Data Journalism Heist is now available on Amazon for Kindle (US link here – also available on other countries’ Amazon sites).
The book is an introduction to data journalism and two simple techniques in particular: finding story leads using pivot tables and advanced filters.
The book also covers useful sources of data, how to follow leads up, and how to tell the resulting story.
You can also buy it from Leanpub, where it’s been live for a couple months now and is available in PDF, mobi and ePub formats. Comments welcome as always.