Tag Archives: Health

Useful sources of health data – on Help Me Investigate

Last month I spoke to some health reporters from a national broadcaster about my favourite sources of health data. As part of that I wrote a post on Help Me Investigate. I’m cross-posting it here this month as I talk about sources of data on the Data Journalism MOOC:
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Video: Heather Brooke’s tips on investigating, and using the FOI and Data Protection Acts

The following 3 videos first appeared on the Help Me Investigate blog, Help Me Investigate: Health and Help Me Investigate: Welfare. I thought I’d collect them together here too. As always, these are published under a Creative Commons licence, so you are welcome to re-use, edit and combine with other video, with attribution (and a link!).

First, Heather Brooke’s tips for starting to investigate public bodies:

Her advice on investigating health, welfare and crime:

And on using the Data Protection Act:

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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Social bookmarking the Birmingham Post way

Sometimes I feel like my vision of the future is slowly coming true in front of my eyes. Yesterday I discovered that the Birmingham Post features writer Jo Ind has started incorporating Del.icio.us social bookmarks into her articles. If you look at the bottom of this health article you’ll see the following line:

To learn more about Select Research and the body volume index, see Jo Ind’s suggested links or visit her blog.”

Jo Ind’s suggested links are on Del.icio.us The tool is also being used by Radio 4’s iPM, as previously reported and Jemima Kiss integrates her feed into her Guardian blog as the PDA ‘Newsbucket’ (much as this blog and many others do as an albeit more prosaic “delicious feed”).

But phrasing the link as ‘suggested links’ (rather than ‘iPM Delicious’) and positioning it at the bottom of an article rather than as a sidebar widget is a better idea, and closer to what I was suggesting in the ‘What’ of my ‘Five Ws and a H that should come after every story’.

I’m currently preparing an article on social bookmarking for journalists. Does anyone know of any other examples of it being used in public by journalists?

Oh, and by the way: to learn more about delicious and social bookmarking, see my suggested links here and here.