Tag Archives: open data

Teaching data journalism in developing countries: lessons from ODECA

Eva Constantaras

Eva Constantaras

Eva Constantaras is a data journalist and trainer who recently wrote the Data Journalism Manual for the UN Development Program. In a special guest post she talks about the background to the manual, her experiences in working with journalists and professors who want to introduce data journalism techniques in developing nations, and why the biggest challenges not technological, but cultural.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant shift in global experiments in data journalism education away from short term activities like boot camps and hackathons to more sustained and sustainable interventions including fellowships and institutes.

There is a growing awareness that the challenge of teaching data journalism in many countries is split straight down the middle between teaching data and teaching journalism — where neither data science nor public interest journalism are particularly common. Open data can be a boon to democracy — but only if there are professionals capable and motivated to transform that data into information for the public. Continue reading

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Civio and transparency in Spain: “We fight for public access to data”

Javier de la Vega

Javier de la Vega

Spanish citizens are now a step closer to understanding how power operates in the country, and how decisions affect them, thanks to the work of organisations like Civio fighting for transparency and access to public data. In October their work was recognised with the Gabriel Garcia Marquez award in innovative journalism for their investigations Medicamentalia. In a guest post for OJB, Nuria Riquelme Palazón spoke with Javier de la Vega, one of the members of Civio.

Access to public information, accountability and participatory democracy may have been a reality in many countries for some time — but in Spain they sounded like a utopia. Entrepreneur Jacobo Elosua and computer technician David Cabo decided that this had to change.

The pair used their savings to build an organisation with the intention of serving those active citizens who, like them, believed in transparency: Civio Foundation.

Taking inspiration from organisations like mySociety in the UK, Ciudadano Inteligente in Chile and the Sunlight Foundation in the USA, they began the long process in 2011. Continue reading

We are proposing to hand away property details at the very point journalists need them most

offshore property private eye

Late last year, as the government indicated it was prepared to water down the Freedom of Information Act, industry publication Press Gazette launched a petition. It was one of a range of factors which led to a promise to leave the Act alone.

This year we face a similar threat. But the industry press is silent. Press Gazette say nothing. Hold The Front Page is empty of reference.

What am I talking about? The Land Registry.

The government is holding a consultation on moving Land Registry operations to the private sector, and with one week left the industry press needs to wake up. Continue reading

Comparison chart between Glasgow and national average

How Scotland made its council audit data less open (with happy ending)

Once upon a time Audit Scotland published performance data for every council in Scotland. The approach was simple: a spreadsheet for every council with dozens of indicators across several pages.

audit scotland data

Audit Scotland data from 2012/13

As far as open data goes it wasn’t ideal: comparing councils involved manually downloading spreadsheets and combining them, unless you wrote a scraper to do that for you. Which is what I did last year while working with the Sunday Post on a series of stories.

But at least you had the data in some sort of raw format.

If you look for the data this year, however, you will find things a little more complicated:

“The local government community now produce council performance information through the Local Government Benchmarking Framework.”

Now there’s a middleman. And here things start to go downhill (before a happy ending). Continue reading

Keeping up to date with FOI and open data: new mailing list launched

Transparency Bulletin by FOIDirectory

Matt Burgess, the man behind FOI Directory (and the former editor of Help Me Investigate Education) has launched a new weekly email newsletter providing regular updates on developments in Freedom of Information and transparency. Continue reading

MPs’ CVs now available in the Democracy Club App

democracy_club screenshot

The developers group Democracy Club have created an app which collects the CVs of candidates standing in the general election.

Democracy Club CVs is intended to help constituents get access to information on their candidates’ experience and background.

Users can also use the site to ask candidates for their CVs by sending an email or tweeting them. Continue reading

Hyperlocal Voices: Mark Baynes, Love Wapping

In our latest interview with hyperlocal practitioners, Damian Radcliffe speaks to Mark Baynes from Love Wapping.  A journalist, professional photographer and user experience designer; Mark explains how his mutual love of data and wildlife has manifested itself in this East London  hyperlocal site.

mark-baynes-geese-300x225

Who are the people behind the blog?

Just me! Fortunately I have an odd mix of professional skills that are invaluable for hyperlocal work: photography, journalism, print production and web design and development. Continue reading