Yesterday I wrote the first of a two-part series on the 7 angles that are used to tell stories about data. In this second part I finish the list with a look at the three less common angles: those stories focusing on relationships; angles that focus on the data itself — its absence, poor quality, or existence — and exploratory stories that often provide an opportunity to get to the grips with the data itself.
Data angle 5. ‘Explore’: tools, interactivity — and art
Exploratory angles are largely web-native. Its selling point is often characterised by a ‘call to action’ like “explore”, “play” or “Take the quiz”. Alternatively, it might sell the comprehensiveness of the analysis in the way that it is “Mapped” or documents “Every X that ever happened”, or simply answers the question “Who/how/where”. Continue reading
One of the simplest ways to get started with data journalism techniques is a ‘Get the data’ article.
Start by looking at examples of other ‘Get the data’ articles. A good search for this is:
intitle:"get the data" -getthedata
This searches for the exact phrase “get the data” in the title of the page but also excludes the site getthedata.org (which otherwise dominates results) by using the minus operator.
You can obviously add further terms, such as ‘news’ or ‘finance’, to narrow further.
Here are some examples:
Those three examples show two different types of datablog. The Guardian, for example, take public data which has just been released and make it more accessible to a broader audience. Continue reading
Well here’s another gap in the data journalism process ever-so-slightly plugged: Tony Hirst blogs about a new Q&A site that Rufus Pollock has built. Get the Data allows you to “ask your data related questions, including, but not limited to, the following:
- “where to find data relating to a particular issue;
- “how to query Linked Data sources to get just the data set you require;
- “what tools to use to explore a data set in a visual way;
- “how to cleanse data or get it into a format you can work with using third party visualisation or analysis tools.”
As Tony explains (the site came out of a conversation between him and Rufus):
“In some cases the data will exist in a queryable and machine readable form somewhere, if only you knew where to look. In other cases, you might have found a data source but lack the query writing expertise to get hold of just the data you want in a format you can make use of.”
He also invites people to help populate the site:
“If you publish data via some sort of API or queryable interface, why not considering posting self-answered questions using examples from your FAQ?
“If you’re running a hackday, why not use GetTheData.org to post questions arising in the scoping the hacks, tweet a link to the question to your event backchannel and give the remote participants a chance to contribute back, at the same time adding to the online legacy of your event.”
Off you go then.