Tag Archives: hackday

Come help dig into data on football agents – and eat pizza

Pizza

Pizzas and footballs are both round. That’s enough justification for us. Image: Adam Kuban

Next Friday (November 13) I’ll be holding a day full of activities in Birmingham for anyone interested in digging into the world of football agents.

You won’t need any special skills – you can take part by doing basic internet searches, or you can bring your data journalism mojo and play with the data we’ve already gathered.

And we’ll also have people on hand to show you a range of useful techniques if you’re interested.

The special hackday is part of an investigation I’m doing, and we’re also working with OpenCorporates as part of their #FlashHacks series to build open data on football agents, identifying the biggest operators and their ownership structures.

If you can’t make it for the whole day feel free to drop in for part of it. Oh, and there’ll be pizza, stickers and t-shirts.

You can sign up and find more details about location and timings here.

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Join an election hackday at the BBC in Birmingham, Monday April 27

Hacks Hackers Birmingham logo

I’m organising an election hackday at the BBC in Birmingham on Monday April 27.

The event will involve journalists from the BBC and other news websites in the Midlands – but more importantly it’s open to anyone who wants to get stuck into data related to the key issues this election.

If you want to sign up to take part you can do so here. That page also includes details on times and location.

Some more details:

  • We’ll be particularly looking at issues affecting young people, and those affecting female voters.
  • But immigration, welfare and employment, the NHS, the economy, rural issues, the environment and anything else are all options too.
  • Some teams will focus on stories, spending some of the day turning the leads they find in the data into stories with quotes and other elements.
  • Some teams will be focused on tools: from interactive maps to resources to make it easier for journalists to fact-check claims made by candidates.
  • If you can’t make the whole day but want to contribute something, let me know and we’ll see what we can do.

Reflections on the Birmingham Hacks & Hackers Hackday (#hhhbrum)

map of GP surgeries - first thousand results

Last week I spent a thoroughly fascinating day at a hackday for journalists and web developers organised by Scraperwiki. It’s an experience that every journalist should have, for reasons I’ll explore below but which can be summed up thus: it will challenge the way you approach information as a journalist.

Disappointingly, the mainstream press and broadcast media were represented by only one professional journalist. This may be due to the time of year, but then that didn’t prevent journalists attending last week’s Liverpool event in droves. Senior buy-in is clearly key here – and I fear the Birmingham media are going to left behind if this continues.

Because on the more positive side there was a strong attendance from local bloggers such as Michael Grimes, Andy Brightwell (Podnosh), Clare White (Talk About Local) and Nicola Hughes (Your Local Scientist) – plus Martin Moore from the Media Standards Trust and some journalism students.

How it worked

After some brief scene-setting presentations, and individual expressions of areas of interest, the attendees split into 5 topic-based groups. They were:

  • The data behind the cancellation of Building for Schools projects
  • Leisure facilities in the Midlands.
  • Issues around cervical smear testing
  • Political donations
  • And our group, which decided to take on the broad topic of ‘health’, within the particular context of plans to give spending power to GP consortia.

By the end of the day all groups had results – which I’ll outline at the end of the post – but more interesting to me was the process of developers and journalists working together, and how it changed both camp’s working practices.
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