During the 2015 UK general election the Trinity Mirror Data Unit created a special interactive tool which allowed readers to find out more about their own constituency. The Find My Seat tool was used across all their titles including the national Mirror newspaper as well as the Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail, Manchester Evening News, Newcastle Chronicle and north Wales’s Daily Post. The tool has recently been relaunched for the 2017 election. Patrick Scott (now at the Telegraph) was part of the team behind it — in an interview by Antia Geada, he explains how they did it. Continue reading →
Last week one of the students on my MA in Online Journalism was looking to find French people based in the city for a local angle on the presidential elections taking place in France. “Ah!” I thought. “That’s a job for a Facebook Graph search”. It’s the sort of situation that arises regularly in the newsroom — so here’s how to do it:
What is Facebook Graph search — and why is it useful for journalists?
Facebook Graph Search in 2013
Facebook Graph was launched in 2013 as a specific tool for finding people based on their interests. The ‘graph’ part refers to its ability to find people based on intersecting qualities: combinations of their likes, places of work, friends, and where they live and come from.
The tool itself was dropped in 2014, but the ability to search based on intersecting qualities remained, as part of the general Facebook search. You just have to know how to use it… Continue reading →
Tonight many journalists will have Tweetdeck or similar social media dashboards ‘tuned in’ to coverage of the US election, typically by creating columns to monitor activity on key hashtags like #Election2016. But on a big occasion like this, the volume of tweets becomes unmanageable. Here then are a few quick techniques to surface tweets that are likely to be most useful to reporters:
Picking the right hashtags: Hashtagify
Hashtagify is a tool for finding out the popularity of certain hashtags. Type a tag into the search box and you’ll get a network diagram like the one shown above — but you can also switch to ‘Table mode’ to get a list of tags that you can sort by popularity, correlation, weekly or monthly trend. Continue reading →
A screenshot of the BirminghamEastside WhatsApp channel
During this year’s general and local elections a collection of my Birmingham City University students used WhatsAppto publish regular updates throughout the two days of voting. Frankly… they nailed it. In the process they learned a lot, so I thought I’d share some of the things that came up throughout the process – as well as the experiences of the person responsible for the Mirror‘s political WhatsApp account in the week leading up to the election. Continue reading →
“Last year, electoral reform opened the door for politics 2.0 by authorizing parties to use social networks to raise campaign donations and participate in streamlined debates”, claims Manuella Ribeiro about the recent Brazilian election that made Dilma Rousseff the new president.
Ribeiro made a compilation of the best online projects that worked on transparency, civic engagement and public policies monitors. Here are my personal favorites:
Eu lembro: “Be a voter with an elephant’s memory. Vote and remember everything that happens to politicians”.
VotenaWeb: “A site where you can approach the decisions of National Congress that directly affect your life. Vote and be heard”. Citizens can compare, with an easy interface, their votes on bills and the votes of politicians. The congressional bills are translated into simple language and you can monitor the voting records of different candidates.
Quanto vale seu candidato?: in English “How much is your candidate worth?” is a nice piece of data journalism with information about the patrimony of candidates.
Eleitor 2010: developed with Ushahidi to monitor the elections, receive and map complaints about electoral crimes through Twitter, SMS, email and social networks.
Adote um Vereador: encourages citizens to “adopt” a city councilman and open blog about their work to keep an eye on them and their parliamentary activities.