Tag Archives: data journalism

“Data matters — but people are still the best sources of stories”  —  insights from investigative journalist Peter Geoghegan

Peter Geoghegan

Peter Geoghegan

In a guest post Jane Haynes speaks to investigative journalist Peter Geoghegan of the award-winning news site The Ferret about data, contacts and “nosing up the trousers of power”.

When the Scottish Government announced last month that it was banning fracking, it was a moment to savour for a group of journalists from an independent news site in the heart of the country.

The team from investigative cooperative The Ferret had been the first news organisation to reveal plans by nine energy companies to bid for licences to extract shale gas from central Scotland.

Using a combination of contact-led information and FOI requests, they uncovered the extent of the ambitions to dig deep into Scottish soil.

Firms target more of central Scotland for fracking

It was part of a steady flow of fracking stories from the Ferret team, ensuring those involved in making decisions were in no doubt of their responsibilities and recognised that every step would be scrutinised. Continue reading

Data storytelling done right: 8 easy tips to avoid bad visualisation

tesselationIn a guest post for OJB, Steve Carufel interviews Dutch data journalist Thomas de Beus about visualisation, storytelling — and useful new tools for data journalists.

Data journalism is, among other things, the art of resisting the temptation to show spectacular visualisations that fail to highlight the data behind a story.

Insights and relevant statistics can get lost in visual translation, so Thomas de BeusColourful Facts is a great place to start thinking more about clarity and your audience — and less about spectacular graphic design (although you do not want to forego attractiveness entirely). Continue reading

Here are 9 email newsletters about data… I think you’ll like at least 4 of them

fairwarning metrics

Sophie Warnes doesn’t just round up data journalism in her emails, she *does* data journalism *about* her emails

As the first group of MA Data Journalism students prepare to start their course this month, I’ve been recommending a number of email newsletters in the field that they should be following — and I thought I should share it here too.

Here, then, are 9 email newsletters about data — if I’ve missed any please let me know. Continue reading

No, I’m not abandoning the term “storytelling”, Alberto — just the opposite (and here’s why)

A digital storyteller looks like this

digital storyteller image by Darren Kuropatwa

Alberto Cairo provoked quite a bit of reaction this week when he tweeted that data journalism and data visualisation ought to abandon the term “storytelling”…

Given that in two weeks I’ll be doing exactly the opposite (my first intake of MA students begin a new module in Narrative at the end of the month) I thought I should add my own reaction. Continue reading

Pete Sherlock on Twitter This is the first piece of content the BBC has shared under a new partnership with the News Media Association

Local publishers — want some data journalism content from the BBC? Local News Partnership applications open again

The BBC’s Local News Partnership — a project to support local and hyperlocal media through access to extra content and staff — has just opened up applications to its second stage.

The ‘Section Two’ stage is focused on contracts for Local Democracy Reporters — but applicants can also now just complete the ‘Section One’ application to receive BBC content. Continue reading

Computational thinking and the next wave of data journalism

In this second extract from a forthcoming book chapter I look at the role that computational thinking is likely to play in the next wave of data journalism — and the need to problematise that. You can read the first part of this series here.

Computational thinking is the process of logical problem solving that allows us to break down challenges into manageable chunks. It is ‘computational’ not only because it is logical in the same way that a computer is, but also because this allows us to turn to computer power to solve it.

As Jeannette M. Wing puts it:

“To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Just as the printing press facilitated the spread of the three Rs, what is appropriately incestuous about this vision is that computing and computers facilitate the spread of computational thinking.”

This process is at the heart of a data journalist’s work: it is what allows the data journalist to solve the problems that make up so much of modern journalism, and to be able to do so with the speed and accuracy that news processes demand. Continue reading

The next wave of data journalism?

In the first of three expanded extracts from a forthcoming book chapter on ‘The next wave of data journalism’ I outline some of the ways that data journalism is reinventing itself, and adapting for a world which is rapidly changing again. Where networked communications and processing power were key in the 2000s, automation and AI are becoming key in the decade to come. And just as data journalism raised the bar for journalism as a whole, the bar is about to be raised for data journalism itself.

Data journalism isn’t doing enough. Now into its second decade, the noughties-era technologies that it was built on – networked access to information and vastly improving visualisation capabilities – are now taken for granted, just as the ‘computer assisted’ part of its antecedent Computer Assisted Reporting was.

In just ten years data journalism has settled down into familiar practices and genres, from the interactive map and giant infographics to the quick turnaround “Who comes bottom in the latest dataset” write-up. It’s a sure sign of maturity when press officers are sending you data journalism-based media releases.

Now we need to move forward. And the good news is: there are plenty of places to go. Continue reading

Podcast: Data journalism: More important than ever?

data journalism podcast

I took part in a BBC Academy podcast about data journalism last week, along with The Guardian’s Helena Bengtsson and the BBC’s Daniel Wainwright and John Walton, in the wake of the BBC’s annual plan and three-year strategy which included a focus on the “interrogation of data”.

Among other things we talked about why data journalism is increasingly important, what skills are needed (including the role of code), why I’m launching an MA in Data Journalism, and what sorts of stories can be done with those skills.

If you want to listen, it’s now live on the Academy website.

Data journalism on radio, audio and podcasts

In a previous post I talked about how data journalism stories are told in different ways on TV and in online video. I promised I’d do the same for audio and radio — so here it is: examples from my MA in Data Journalism to give you ideas for telling data stories using audio.

this american life

As with any audio post, This American Life features heavily: not only is the programme one of the best examples of audio journalism around — it also often involves data too. Continue reading

Data journalism in broadcast news and video: 27+ examples to inspire and educate

channel 4 network diagram

This network diagram comes from a Channel 4 News story

The best-known examples of data journalism tend to be based around text and visuals — but it’s harder to find data journalism in video and audio. Ahead of the launch of my new MA in Data Journalism I thought I would share my list of the examples of video data journalism that I use with students in exploring data storytelling across multiple platforms. If you have others, I’d love to hear about them.

FOI stories in broadcast journalism

victoria derbyshire gif

Freedom of Information stories are one of the most common situations when broadcasters will have to deal with more in-depth data. These are often brought to life by through case studies and interviewing experts. Continue reading