Posts Tagged ‘events’

Data Journalism in the City

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Events
Tags: , ,


The Centre for Investigative Journalism – advances education for, and public understanding of, investigative journalism, critical inquiry, and in-depth reporting and research


Summer School – a three day event with talks and practicals running in parallel so you’ll always find something to interest you. Book here.


15th – 17th July 2011, starting each day at 09:00 am and finishing at around 05:00 pm


College Building
280 St John’s Street
City University London

For map and directions see here.


With stories from WikiLeaks dominating the news agenda over the last year, the main strand for summer school 2011 will be whistleblowing. In a practice both praised and condemned, WikiLeaks aims to challenge secrecy and hold governments to account.

But it didn’t start with WikiLeaks and the school will bring some of the best- known “whistleblowers” to tell their stories. As a journalist you will learn about protecting sources and how to advise potential informants on securing their information and staying anonymous. A speaker from WikiLeaks will deomonstrate their tested methods of protecting sources, winning legal battles and preparing redactions.

The school will also look at the issue of taxation and how the big corporations avoid large tax bills by moving their profits to offshore tax-havens. At a time of massive cuts, layoffs and collapsing public services we will show you how to investigate the way companies legally protect their profits.

The school will illustrate what happens when you knock on the door of offshore accounts, how to differentiate between tax avoidance and tax evasion and how the rich hide their fortunes and minimise their tax bill.

The school will draw upon a recent, major investigation into a multinational company and examine what it revealed about its tax-havens around the world.

The third strand will look at digital journalism – has social media given rise to an army of citizen journalists who are undercutting paid reporters? Or can new technology make it easier to hold powerful organisations to account? Paul Lewis, Special Projects Editor at the Guardian, will reveal how he has used Twitter and other techniques to collaborate in hard-hitting investigations.


Hacks/Hackers London




Wednesday, 23 March at 07:00 PM


Artillery Arms
102 Bunhill Row
Nr Moorgate, EC1Y 8ND


Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, and Ben Campbell, programmer at the Media Standards Trust, will be talking about and – the design and creation of media monitoring platforms. They will speak about how both sites fit into the Trust’s broader aims of making online journalism more transparent and will also be launching their new “manifesto for transparent online journalism”.

Matt Curtis, art director of Eureka – The Times’ monthly science magazine – explains the process the team went through to create The Times’ first standalone iPad application about how the science of sport is changing the human race.


This is a fringe event to the E-Campaigning Forum run by Fairsay. Rolf Kleef (Open for Change) and Tim Davies (Practical Participation) are co-ordinating the day in a voluntary capacity, with support from Javier Ruiz (Open Rights Group)


The Open Data Campaigning Camp will immediately follow the annual E-Campaigning Forum (#ECF11), so will be targeted particularly at campaigners interested in increasing their understanding of how to engage with open data. They also invite developers and data experts interested in exploring the connections between data and campaigning.


Thursday, 24th March at 09:30 AM


St. Annes College


The day will start with an introduction to open data, the history of open data campaigning, and short presentations on finding and using data, and on publishing data, for advocacy and campaigning. Then there will be action-learning – with participants choosing projects to work on throughout the day – exploring open data for campaigning around a key themes including:

  • International Development
  • Environment and Climate
  • Public Spending Cuts

Projects might include: designing a campaign using open data; building a data visualisation; creating a data campaigning toolkit for local activists; creating a data-driven mobile app for campaigning; publishing a dataset for campaigners to create mash-ups with; exploring and updating data catalogues; and whatever other ideas you bring along.The great thing is is that there will be support on hand to introduce different ways of engaging with data. Sign up for it here.





Hacks and Hackers Hack Day


Friday, 25 March


Viewing Theatre,
Pacific Quay,


Just read up on how #hhhCar went on the ScraperWiki blog. There were schools from space and a catering college with a Food Hygiene Standard rating of 2!




A Hacks and Hackers Hack Day – where journalists (hacks) and developers (hackers) spend the day working with data and scraping away to reveal what lies within.


Friday, 11th March at 09:00 am


Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries
University of Glamorgan, Adam Street
CF24 2FN Cardiff


Come along and see! It’s an opportunity to work in a team you’ve probably never worked with before so you’d be amazed what you can make. Oh, and there’ll be prizes for the best projects!

Actually being called Data Journalism that is.


It’s from and is headed by Kevin Anderson who I see at most of the events I attend.


An introduction to data journalism: Taming the numbers


Wednesday, 19th January at 10:00 am


Royal Society of Medicine

1 Wimpole Street

London W1G 0AE


Says it will cover:

  • The basics of data files and formats
  • Sources of data
  • How to collect your own data
  • Free and low-cost tools to analyse and visualise data
  • Editorial planning for data

Says it will leave you with an understanding of:

  • How to design news features with data in mind
  • How to extract data from PDFs
  • How to use Google Docs for data collection
  • How to visualise data, including charts, graphs and maps

That and it’s the first course I’ve found in London to actually call itself data journalism! I imagine the first port of call will be a definition.

This event hosted by The Guardian. They say:

“The web not only gives easy access to billions of statistics on every matter – from MP’s expenses to the location of every public convenience in the UK – but also provides the tools to visualise said information, giving a clarity of voice and an equality of access to stories that pre-web could never have been told on such a scale.

But the data revolution has also brought with it the risk of confusion, misinterpretation and inaccessibility. How do you know where to look? What is credible or up to date? Official documents are often published as uneditable pdf files for example – useless for analysis except in ways already done by the organisation itself.”

This discussion will be chaired by an expert panel (people I know) consisting of David McCandless of ‘Information is Beautiful’ fame, Heather Brooke of FOI fame, Simon Rogers of Guardian DataBlog fame and Richard Pope of ScraperWiki fame.

Data journalism: our five point guide – Simon Rogers

None of this is new – need to visualize data to make a point. Table in the Guardian in May 1981 – data has always been around and needed to know the truth. If you don’t know what’s going on how can you change things in society.

Now, public spending visualizations. Beautiful but a lot of work. But then government requests it. Now we all have the tools. A lot doesn’t even involve hard core programming. Need to be inspired by telling stories. Story needs to drive the editorial need to use data.

Only computers will know what to ask e.g. Wikileaks data. Technical skills and design needed but can be built upon. Not all data is interesting. Need to have a nose for data to learn what will be good for a data driven story. Raw data is just numbers without the design to make it beautiful.

It’s about sharing. Data needs to be made as open as possible! People out there have much better knowledge than journalists sitting in the office. We need to harness that knowledge.

Information is Beautiful – David McCandless

You need to see patterns and connections that matter in the data. That is data journalism. You need to orientate your audience, take them on a journey.

Data is abstract. You need to contextualize to understand what it means. Need to make it relevant. If you make it beautiful/interesting everyone will love it. Looking at graph of most common break up time according to Facebook.

We’re saturated with data. Data is the new soil. Visualizations are the earthy blossoms!

We are saturated by data but if we use the right journalistic inkling we can grow beautiful stories. Our fears visualized using Google Insights. Check it out at Columbine shooting and violent video games co-dependent?

Data as a prism – use it to correct your vision. Can take all the other top ten military budgets and fit it into America’s. But it’s a vastly rich country it can fit in all the other four top economies. So military budget as % of GDP? Myanmar is the biggest. Biggest arny = China. But as % population = North Korea.

The internet is a visualization design medium. we’ve been drenched in it. We’re constantly hunting for patterns in a sea of information. We’ve all been trained by our use of the web. We’re all information curious.

Heather Brooke

“The only way I could get answers to my questions to public bodies was through data”. Police in her local area were not turning up, she wanted to know was it just her. Only way you could tell was through officials logs and not their word.

Once you ask data starts trickling out. But needed around 50 requests! And in the form of a complex spreadsheet. Riven with factual inaccuracies. Data is only as good and usable as the person who gathers/inputs it. The pubic can’t be trusted with the raw data – attitude got from public bodies. Need Freedom of Information Act.

Open data needs to start from the top – MPs expenses. A democratic state has a right to openness. We need true open data.

MPs expenses shifted everyone’s notion of who the government were actually working for. MPs felt their expenses were their data, not ours.

Simon Jefferies

Different structured forms are needed for different data. The structure gives in power. Data within data within context. Very rich stories. A new way of journalism. All users to interrogate data themselves. Information architecture!

You have to be sure your fact is right!

Richard Pope – ScraperWiki

Data is rarely useable for journalists. Data is collected with journalists or the public interest in mind. ScraperWiki wants to make data useable and collaborative.

There’s a blending of skills needed to do datajournalism. We need to democratise these skills to break a story.

These are early days but we can see that journalism is changing. A computer is another tool. When a journalist makes a call it’s not called ‘telephone-assisted-reporting’. It’s not new, we just need to learn to use more and more data. And we need to understand it.

This will not be a specialised area, it will just be reporting! It all comes down to asking the right questions.

Questions being tossed around panel. Will go to twitter and throw them out. Join in.