We talked a bit in the lecture last week about data journalism, when Tom Hannen showed us his inforgraphic work for the BBC. I thought we'd look at it a bit more today. Datajournalism has a bit of a hot topic in online journalism circles for the last couple of years with lots of developers and journalists experimenting with different ways to find stories in data.
A good place to go for an introduction to the field is The Guardian's Datablog – The Guardian has been experimenting for a while now with making data available to people to use in various ways. Their best known efforts include their coverage of the MPs' expenses scandal and their ground-breaking experiment in crowd-sourcing investigative analysis and, obviously, Wikileaks.
A debate has been going on for a few years now, linked to the growing availability of data online, one that suggests that journalists need to be more than storytellers now, that they need to know how to work with data in different ways. A couple of years agi, the new media pundit Jeff Jarvis asked the question, 'Is Journalism Storytelling?' Adrian Monck tackled the same area around the same time, arguing that the future of journalism was maths, or rather 'presenting mathematised knowledge'. The story is now redundant, he suggests…
These are rather extreme positions – perhaps what Wikileaks shows is that data on its own isn't enough – that to reach a larger audience there needs to be some sort of story there, or narrative frame… Martin Moore has a good introduction to current thinking about the field – he argues that data journalism is about coping with information abundance and that it means lots of different things – it's not just about database programming.
If you want go deeper, Paul Bradshaw has published some excellent early drafts of a chapter from his book on online journalism, covering data and what to do with it – have a look at his general Data Journalism posts too. He also wrote a really useful intro for The Guardian. Jonthan Stray published a good list of links to further reader on data.
One thing you can do online is find new ways to present data… There's a growing interest in data visualisation, in mixing data, maps, charts and text to explore and communicate ideas and issues…If we get a chance, we'll talk about this, I hope.
We'll have a look at David McCandless' work in this area – his site has lots of great information and some brilliant interactives you can can play with (e.g Snake Oil?). We'll also look at his TED lecture.
And we might watch this: Alex Lundry's Chart Wars
Here are a few more links re data and story telling:
Nieman Storyboard on maps, charticles and stories
The American Journalism Review on the rise of the charticle
Nieman Storyboard on Cutthroat Capitalism – a ground-breaking piece of investigative journalism by Scott Carney, done as a series of graphic/visualisations and then turned into game online. The piece ran in the magazine last year and is still online. Carney talks about how he did the story on his blog – it was a lot of work.
The 'how are you doing today?' project
Here's a nice example of using infographics to get a story across – So You Still Think the Internet is Free
Here's an interactive visualisation of the way organised crime works, from Wired Magazine
Today we're going to look at how to use maps in your online journalism. Sometimes this is about telling a story in a new way. Sometimes it's about infographics – about getting across information in a clear and engaging way. We're going to look at various examples of online maps and then you're going to work on creating a few Google Maps.
Here are a few links we might look at:
- 10,000 words on how to make a Google Map in 30 minutes
- More recent stuff from 10,000 Words – 7 Innovative online maps
- Engadget with a more geeky/demanding guide to creating annotated Google Maps
- Word Herder on using Google Maps in journalism
Here are a few maps and some stories:
- The BBC Berkshire Flood map
- Heron Sightings in Grantham
- The Homicide Report map from the LA Times
- The Crisis Map of Haiti
- The History Pin map
- Nieman Storyboard on maps, charticles and stories
- Dinty Moore's Mr. Plimpton's Revenge
- Travis Fox's Hard Times
- The American Journalism Review on the rise of the charticle
Some of these examples are a bit old now. But they show you some of the things people tried as the ideas of using maps in stories online developed. Now map-based stories are very complex – they blur with timelines and infographics in general and involve some serious programming and Flash animation. Reza will show you a bit of this in class today. You can also find state of the art map stories via the Maps Mania blog mentioned above.