During the 2015 UK general election the Trinity Mirror Data Unit created a special interactive tool which allowed readers to find out more about their own constituency. The Find My Seat tool was used across all their titles including the national Mirror newspaper as well as the Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail, Manchester Evening News, Newcastle Chronicle and north Wales’s Daily Post. The tool has recently been relaunched for the 2017 election. Patrick Scott (now at the Telegraph) was part of the team behind it — in an interview by Antia Geada, he explains how they did it. Continue reading →
Throw in journalism’s default dislike of ambiguity and a political tendency to play to that… well, it can all make for some flawed reporting.
I was so impressed with Guesstimate and the opportunities it presents for a new style of data reporting that I sought out Gooen to find out more about the project and how he came to launch it. Continue reading →
At the end of July this year the BBC ended a quiet experiment that had been going on for the last 18 months: a Head of Statistics role funded initially by the corporation’s innovation fund and then by election coverage money.
Anthony Reuben was the person occupying that role. A business reporter with almost two decades’ experience at the BBC, Reuters, Sky, the Money Channel and the FT, he was helping to design a new statistics course for the BBC College of Journalism when the need for a new role became clear.
“We got to the last slide, which was where to turn for more help. There were plenty of people outside the BBC, but nobody in it who had the time or skills to help with statistical questions. So we applied for a year’s funding from the Innovation Fund.”
What the head of statistics role involved
Once in the role Reuben would sit with the planning team and attend some of the daily news and planning meetings to anticipate big stories which might “set off alarm bells”. Continue reading →
When should you stop buying football stickers? I don’t mean how old should you be – but rather, at what point does the law of diminishing returns mean that it no longer makes sense to buy yet another packet of five stickers?
‘I don’t do numbers’ and ‘I hate maths’ were depressingly common expressions, perhaps unsurprisingly. People wanting to study journalism enjoy the use of language and rarely expect that numbers will be vital to the stories they are telling.
So those responsible for journalism education have a tricky task. A bit like providing a sweet covering to a nasty-tasting tablet, it was said that lecturers need to be adept at finding ingenious ways to teach a practical and relevant use of numbers without ever mentioning the M (maths) or S (statistics) words. Continue reading →
Elections set the pace for much of journalism’s development: predictable enough to allow for advance planning; big enough to justify the budgets to match, they are the stage on which news organisations do their growing up in public.