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#Tip: Advice on ethics and best practice in data journalism

September 27th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists

As a still emerging field, data journalism throws up a number of practical and ethical pitfalls that have no real precedent in the industry.

Paul Bradshaw, who runs an MA in online journalism at Birmingham University and is a visiting Professor at city University London, has been publishing a series of articles through his Online Journalism Blog this week that seek to define some elements of best practice when it comes working with online data sources.

Privacy, protection of sources, automation and more are covered as part of a “draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism” Bradshaw is producing. Well worth remembering for established data journalists or those just starting out.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.
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#Tip: Advice on improving process of data journalism

September 10th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists
numbersdata Flickr Dave Bleasdale

Image by DaveBleasdale on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

On his Online Journalism Blog, journalism academic Paul Bradshaw is part-way through a collection of five tips on how to make the process, or “workflow” of data journalism more efficient. His advice includes ways to help find data in the first place, such as by creating “data newswires”, and using bookmarking to keep track of useful material. Bradshaw published his third tip today, looking at how to “anticipate problems”.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.
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#Tip: Visit VisualisingData.com for lists of tools to use

September 9th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists

By Jorge Fran Ganillo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By Jorge Fran Ganillo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A website called VisualisingData.com, run by Andy Kirk, recently published a group of posts, each one outlining numerous resources for those working in all stages of a data journalism project, and looking for the right tools for the job.

The “essential collection” is organised based on the task at hand, from scraping to visualising data, with additional links to useful data sources and books to help guide you through the process.

Hat tip: Scott Klein (@kleinmatic)

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#Tip: Try the new chart and map tools in GetBulb

September 6th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists

GetBulb

Data visualisation tool GetBulb has this week announced the release of new tools for building charts and maps.

GetBulb was last year’s winner of The Irish Times’s digital challenge, a contest which saw the news outlet invite members of the technology industry to pitch projects which could impact on the newsroom.

There is more information on the tool, which is currently invite-only, here.

 

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#Tip: Try out updated data visualisation tool Datawrapper

September 3rd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists
Image by Abron on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Abron on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Data visualisation tool Datawrapper has had a significant update, which includes improvements in the of ease of use and in how charts appear.

The updates are explained here, and there is a new tutorial here.

You can see sample visualisations created with Datawrapper here.

Datawrapper is a free open source tool developed for data journalists. It was developed for ABZV, a journalism training organisation affiliated to BDVZ (German Association of Newspaper Publishers).

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#Tip: Listen online to Open Data Institute lectures

July 22nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists
Image by Brett Levin Photography on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Brett Levin Photography on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The Open Data Institute (ODI) launched in December. The non-profit, as the name suggests, works with open data – which can be a source of stories for journalists.

Founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and web academic Nigel Shadbolt, the government has pledged £10 million of funding to the ODI.

The ODI runs free lunchtime lectures on a Friday and makes the slides and audio available.

Journalism.co.uk attended the first lecture, which was on open health data, an area of interest to health reporters (the notes on the health data lecture are at this link).

The audio of most of the lectures is on SoundCloud. More information on the lectures and the slides are at this link.

Journalism.co.uk runs a one-day course in partnership with the ODI. See details of the course which is an introduction to open data for journalists.

 

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#Podcast: Talking social media and interactives at Al Jazeera

Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

This podcast provides an in-depth look at innovations in social media and interactives at Al Jazeera.

We hear how journalists go beyond Twitter and Facebook to crowdsource, using SMS and phone calls to gather the voices on the ground in different parts of the world.

Sarah Marshall, technology editor at Journalism.co.uk, speaks to:

  • Riyaad Minty, head of social media for Al Jazeera
  • Mohammed Haddad, interative producer, Al Jazeera English

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

You might also be interested in:

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#Tip: Learn to code with Codecademy

Image by espensorvik on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by espensorvik on Flickr. Some rights reserved

At the LA Times, code and algorithms are scraping stats from automated reports and writing updates for journalists to analyse. Learning to code is fast becoming a life skill so over at Codecademy they have created a free and open network for people to come online and learn from each other.

After a quick sign up, to keep track of your progress, there are simple step-by-step lessons in basic HTML and CSS all the way through to JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, Python and Ruby. Beyond the standard curriculum there are forums, groups and user submitted lessons on a wide range of topics. There are even guides on how to combine different languages to make large web-based projects.

Whether you are a complete beginner or are already making websites, Codecademy has lessons to teach you the ways of the web. Highly recommended.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Tip: Scrape web pages using this Chrome extension

Scrape is an screen scraper Chrome extension.

It is really easy to use. Simply install it and then right click on any web page that contains a table you want to scrape and there is an option to save the data to a Google spreadsheet.

Journalist Jens Finnäs has provided a tutorial on his Dataist blog. He explains how he used the extension to scrape the contact details of all Swedish MPs.

Another example

scrape

If I want to create a Google Doc spreadsheet of the list of people who signed up to the last Hacks/Hackers London event, I simply go to the Meetup group, click ‘print attendee list’, right click to ‘scrape similar’ and ‘export to Google Docs’.

Another way of doing this is to scrape the table directly, adding =ImportHtml (“url”,”table”,0), in the first cell (A1) of a Google Doc spreadsheet. (The URL is the page which contains the table.)

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#Tip: Three converters for dealing with pesky PDFs

PDF

Image by rillian on Flickr. Some rights reserved

If you have ever attempted to extract data or text from a PDF, here are three tools that might be of interest.

1. CometDocs 

CometDocs converts PDFs to Word and Excel.

2. PDF to Excel 

This does exactly what it says on the tin, creating an Excel spreadsheet from a PDF.

3. Zamzar 

Zamzar allows you to convert from PDF to a range of file types.

If you have a favourite PDF concerter, do share in the comments below.

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