Tag Archives: netherlands

Training: scraping in the Netherlands

Scraping for Journalists ebookI’m delivering a course in scraping in Utrecht in the Netherlands on April 2. The booking page with more details about location etc is here – a broad breakdown below:

  • Scraping for journalism: ideas and examples
  • Scraping basics: finding structure in HTML and URLs; what’s possible with programming
  • Simple scraping jobs: how to write a basic scraper in 5 minutes
  • Scraping tools: Outwit Hub and Import.io
  • How to scrape dozens of public webpages
  • Scraping databases with empty searches
  • How to understand scrapers on Scraperwiki: Scraping PDFs, lists of URLs, and databases with specific searches
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Research: disengaging from the news and hyperlocal engagement

People who live in areas branded as ‘problem communities’ by the media feel disengaged with the news – but hyperlocal citizen journalism offers an opportunity to re-engage citizens. These are the findings of a piece of research from the Netherlands called ‘When News Hurts‘, which measured mainstream coverage of ‘problem communities’ then followed a hyperlocal project which involved local people.

The findings won’t be a big surprise to those running hyperlocal blogs, which often focus on practical steps to improving their area and building civic participation rather than merely telling the stories of failure. But they do offer some lessons for traditional publishers, not just on what they could do better, but on what they’re doing badly in their current coverage – especially the regional publishers who would be expected to provide more ground-level reporting on local issues:

“Remarkably, in spite of being located close to these areas, the regional press hardly differed in their coverage from their national (quality) counterparts […] National newspapers quoted residents in 23 per cent of their larger reports on Kanaleneiland and 35 per cent of their reports on Overvecht. The regional newspaper quoted residents in only 26 per cent of its larger reports on Kanaleneiland and in 24 per cent of its reports on Overvecht. Unexpectedly, 55 per cent of all news items about a nearby elite neighbourhood (Wittevrouwen) used a resident as source.” Continue reading

Dutch regional newspapers launch data journalism project RegioHack

In a guest post for OJB, Jerry Vermanen explains the background to RegioHack

The internet is bursting with information, but journalists – at least in The Netherlands – don’t get the full potential out of it. Basic questions on what data driven journalism is, and how to practise it, still have to be answered. Two Dutch regional newspapers (de Stentor and TC Tubantia) have launched RegioHack, an experiment with data driven journalism around local issues and open data.

Both newspapers circulate in the eastern and middle part of the Netherlands. In November, journalists will collaborate with local students, programmers and open data experts in a 30 hour coding event. In preparation for this hackathon, the forum on our website (www.regiohack.nl) is opened for discussion. Anyone can start a thread for a specific problem. For example, what’s the average age of each town in our region? And in 10 years, do we have enough facilities to accommodate the future population? And if not, what do we need?

The newspapers provide the participants with hot pizza, energy drink and 30 hours to find, clean up and present the data on these subjects.

After the hackathon, the projects are presented and participants will be named in the publications. That’s what RegioHack is all about: making unique stories with data, helping each other to develop new skills and finding out how to practise data driven journalism.

If you happen to be in The Netherlands on November 10th and 11th, contact me on jerry@regiohack.nl or Twitter (@JerryVermanen) for an invite to the final presentation.

We’re also searching for guest bloggers – and yes, that can be in English.

Hyperlocal voices: Bart Brouwers, Telegraaf hyperlocal project, Netherlands

Bart Brouwers has been overseeing the establishment of a whole group of hyperlocal sites in the Netherlands with the Telegraaf Media Group. As part of the Hyperlocal Voices series, he explains the background to the project and what they’ve learned so far. Two presentations on the project can be seen above.

Who were the people behind the blog, and what were their backgrounds?

About a year ago, I came up with the plan for a hyperlocal, hyperpersonal news and data network covering all of the Netherlands. My dream was to give every single Dutchman (we have 16 million & counting…) his own platform for local relevance.

I wanted to roll it out myself and in order to get it financed I made contact with the board of directors of the Telegraaf Media Groep. I already worked for them (as the editor-in-chief of national free newspaper Sp!ts and before that as the editor-in-chief of regional newspaper Dagblad De Limburger), so it felt kind of natural to tell and ask them before I would pitch my idea somewhere else.

What I didn’t know is that TMG was already working on a hyperlocal platform, so after a few talks we decided to combine both plans. So instead of quitting TMG and starting my own company, I’m still an employee.

What made you decide to set up the blogs?

I was convinced local relevance would/will be a strong force in media. The combination of local business and local information (news, data) could easily become the trigger for a fine enterprise. Continue reading

A week in online journalism: roundup

Allison White has written this wonderful roundup of last week’s news for the OJB. But now she’s got a job. Persuade her to do this again in the comments…

Google

-Announced no desire to create content and will respect copyright.

It added face-blur technology to its Street View mapping serivce to protect privacy. Also speculation from Groves Media on whether this technology is more of a threat to civil liberties than CCTV.

Microsoft

-Looking to limit the kinds of computers that can use their low-cost OS, making them poor computers even if they could be better and still be as cheap. Continue reading

French, Norwegian and US newspapers added to News Interactivity Index

Just to let you know that the News Interactivity Index now includes newspapers from Norway (thanks Kristine Lowe), France, the Netherlands and the US. You can use it to compare any two newspapers or country averages. The following countries are now covered:

  • France
  • Hungary
  • Macedonia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • US

Dutch site reinvents what news looks like online

Recently my attention has been drawn to the Dutch news website www.en.nl. Wilbert Baan, interaction designer for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, told me he wants to see “what we can do with news, social networks, wikis and more.

“I think you might like the experiment we are doing,” he wrote.

And bloody hell was he right. Continue reading