The following is the first in a series of extracts from a draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism. This is a work in progress, so if you have examples of ethical dilemmas, best practice, or guidance, I’d be happy to include it with an acknowledgement.
Data journalism ethics: accuracy
Probably the most basic ethical consideration in data journalism is the need to be accurate, and provide proper context to the stories that we tell. That can influence how we analyse the data, report on data stories, or our publication of the data itself.
In late 2012, for example, data journalist Nils Mulvad finally got his hands on veterinary prescriptions data that he had been fighting for for seven years. But he decided not to publish the data when he realised that it was full of errors. Continue reading →
On Friday I had quite a bit of fun with Churnalism.com, a new site from the Media Standards Trust which allows you to test how much of a particular press release has been reproduced verbatim by media outlets.
The site has an API, which got me thinking whether you might be able to ‘mash’ it with an RSS feed from Google News to check particular types of articles – and what ‘signals’ you might use to choose those articles.
In January I made the following presentation to the Association for Journalism Education, talking about how digital technologies can be used to facilitate research. Let me know if you have had any similar experiences with using digital technologies in research yourself.
Last week I interviewed Mike Hill, Deputy Editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, for an article on changing tools and approaches in local newsrooms (due to appear on Journalism.co.uk). Mike has some interesting plans on using surveys beyond the simple reader poll (since reported here), and experiences of the weaknesses of geotagging, among other things. The interview can be heard here – it’s around 10 minutes.
Two weeks ago I conducted a mini-survey of readers. For those who responded, thank you very much – for those who tried to but couldn’t because it was closed, apologies (Surveymonkey’s free version only allows 100 responses and it reached that point within two days). Here are the results:
By far the biggest category, 47% of readers are online journalists. 29% described themselves as print journalists, and 6% broadcast, but as respondents could fill in more than one category, I’m guessing the majority of online journalists write for print or broadcast as well. Continue reading →