Browse > Home /

Data visualisations that tell the news

The Linked and Open Data conversation is extremely relevant for news telling and I’m hoping this week’s Linked Data meetup – Web of Data – will introduce me to some new ideas which could be used effectively in journalism. There’s some incredibly inspiring stuff going on outside traditional newsrooms, but some media organisations have also been building some fantastic interactive features on their sites, which allow users to customise the way they view and consume data.

Last month at the first official UK Future of News Group meeting, the Financial Times deputy interactive editor, Cynthia O’Murchu, shared some  inspiring ways of news storytelling. She later sent me a list of inspirational links, which I’ll share with you here.

O’Murchu believes that data visualisations can add so much value to a story, and allow more user control, too. The great thing about various data visualisations was that “you allow people to choose their story”, she said. Here are some of the visualisations she flagged up in particular:

[Note: for FT.com articles, you will need to register or subscribe to receive full access after a limited number of views]

This Financial Times feature from 2007 mapped the different factors affecting food prices around the world: export restrictions, price measures, civil unrest, trade balances and inflation. Additional text boxes, brought up by clicking on a certain location, give additional information.

Another feature brought together video and slide shows that explain why food prices are rising.

It was about presenting things in a comprehensible way for users to understand, said O’Murchu.

She flagged up how the New York Times had  used geolocal information to show what people were talking about on Twitter (see below, for example).

O’Murchu urged the room of journalists to go and play with data tools: “If you’re inclined to do a type of story telling, just do it!”

Some of the other interactive packages at the FT:

Data visualisations:

She also showed examples of applications that helped users customise information, to help with a particular problem:

O’Murchu also mentioned the non-profit information site Gapminder. In this video, Gapminder’s Hans Rosling shows users how countries have developed since 1809, based on individual life expectancy and income. [You can see another Rosling video here, 'Let my dataset change your mindset'].

O’Murchu also recommends taking a look at these links, for further inspiration:

And finally, for even more examples of interactive graphics:

What are your favourites? Add them in the comments below…

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

Plans afoot for new management journalism service

Last August, amidst all the speculation over the Observer’s future, we reported how academics and business figures were threatening to cancel their subscriptions to the Sunday newspaper, following the decision to axe Simon Caulkin’s Observer Management column. Guardian News and Media never re-instated Caulkin and a letter of complaint from nearly 100 leading authors and academics went unpublished.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Observer did not later report how the Work Foundation had named Caulkin columnist of the year at the end of January. As noted by Private Eye in its latest issue (1255): “Newspapers usually trumpet awards their writers win. But the Observer and the Guardian were strangely silent…”

Philip Whiteley, management author, blogger and editor of the Human Capital Forum, who spearheaded the Caulkin complaint, has now launched a new campaign: for more effective coverage of management in UK media.

“It is also a reaction to the feeble coverage of the Kraft-Cadbury merger in mainstream newspapers in which business journalists repeatedly refused to put any tough questions to the Kraft or Cadbury leadership on the very high risks and integration costs that mega-mergers involve,” he said.

Whiteley believes that in reporting the Kraft-Cadbury merger, journalists focused on finances and the offer price rather than management challenges.

“The error common to the banks and the Kraft-Cadbury affair is to imagine that the management task, even though it is responsible for delivering the vast bulk of the returns from investment strategies of banking employees, or take-over activity respectively, is still bizarrely regarded as a junior matter, not front-page material,” Whiteley argued in a recent blog post, criticising both the Financial Times’ and the Telegraph’s coverage.

The new management project will collect blogs and other web news sections and launch a ‘blog of blogs’ – “a summary from the management blogosphere”.

Whiteley will circulate this to the Human Capital Forum’s database (16,000 subscribers) on a monthly basis, with the possibility of extending that to the databases of all participants.

“The aim is to provide more critical coverage of governance and management in the public and private sectors,” Whiteley said.

He cited a comment left on his blog, as another prompt for the new network:

“There was a time when papers like the FT and others had the expertise and inclination to dispel the myths of uttered corporate statements. Alas, no longer. The institutions that were supposed to be ever vigilant and fearless are now content to simply cover the passing parade. One has to read the right blogs and the right books to get any sense of objective insight into what’s going on. A real shame.”

Human Capital Forum has listed some online management resources here: http://www.humancapitalforum.com/links/index.php

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Sunday Times: Breakingviews.com in ‘advanced talks’ with Thomson Reuters

September 21st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

The Sunday Times reports that Hugo Dixon is in ‘advanced talks’ to sell Breakingviews.com to Thomson Reuters – for a reported £10 million.

Dixon, former Lex editor at the Financial Times, co-founded the online financial analysis site in 1999 and could receive £2.7 million if the deal goes through. The other founder, Jonathan Ford, left in 2007 and has no remaining shares, according to the Sunday Times.

Full story at this link…

(via paidContent:UK)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

FT.com: Brazil’s ‘tabloid revolution’

September 1st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

The Financial Times reports on a Brazilian appetite for tabloids, bucking the general trend for declining newspaper circulations:

“Super Notícia is at the vanguard of Brazil’s tabloid revolution. Five years ago, the country’s tabloids sold just 400,000 copies day. Today, they sell 1,500,000. São Paulo, the capital, has several, including two free dailies. Sales of Extra, another tabloid, have grown by 17.96 per cent in the past year to 284,892 copies daily.”

Full story at this link…

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

Journalism Daily: Trinity Mirror’s Midlands consultation, Wikipedia’s editorial changes and the industry chicken and egg conundrum

August 25th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editors’ Blog:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

paidContent:UK: FT.com to profile IP numbers to find new subscribers

August 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

The Financial Times’ website has hired profiling firm Trovus to mine the site’s traffic logs in the hope of generating new paying subscribers by targetting companies whose staff regularly visit free stories.

Trovus will track the IP addresses of these readers to find out where they work, reports paidContent:UK.

Full story at this link…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Lone Star defies downward trend in revised ABC results

August 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has today brought out its revised figures for national newspaper circulation in the UK, reducing the headline circulations of titles including the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times in the light of an investigation into ‘bulk copies’ distributed by Dawson Media Direct, for the London Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph.

The UK newspaper circulation body revised the figures because audit trails for ‘bulks’ did not comply with ABC rules.

Earlier this year, the Financial Times reduced its use of bulks, and this week Guardian News and Media announced that it was currently ditching its bulk distribution completely.

A brief summary of today’s ABC results:

  • The Sunday Times was the only ‘quality’ Sunday title to post a year-on-year rise in sales (2.74 per cent). On average the ‘quality’ Sunday titles posted a 2.77 per cent year-on-year fall.  The Independent on Sunday posted the biggest year-on-year drop – 19.98 per cent.
  • All the daily titles audited posted a year-on-year drop in sales, apart from The Star which increased its circulation by 20.12 per cent compared with July 2008.
  • The Sun recorded a tiny drop of 0.4 per cent year-on-year and although the Daily Mirror was down 7.16 per cent compared with last year’s figures, month-on-month the title’s sales rose by 0.73 per cent.

A more in-depth analysis of these results is available on Guardian.co.uk.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

GNM abandons the distribution of bulks

August 11th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Guardian News and Media announced today that it will abandon the distribution of ‘bulks’.

GNM sold ‘bulk’ bundles of its papers to hotels and airlines for a nominal fee per copy to the businesses, but free to the readers. This sampling method was a way of tempting new readers towards the publications.

But bulk sales only contributed to a fraction of the Guardian and Observer’s overall sales figures compared to other newspaper groups, said a release from GNM.

“To a greater or lesser degree bulk sales are used by newspaper groups to prop up their ABC [Audit Bureau of Circulations] figure.  Yet their credibility in the ad community is low and for those affected by the recent investigation into airline bulks that credibility has been undermined further,” Joe Clark, GNM director and general manager, newspapers, said in the release.

“We are abandoning this practice in order to present a clearer, more honest picture of our sales performance to advertisers and to reinforce the quality of our product to readers.  The success of our subscription scheme has proved the value of rewarding loyal readers and prompted us to question the merit of subsidising a free copy for an occasional reader.

“In short dropping this traditional, and in our view, outmoded practice is a win-win move.  We hope that others will follow our lead.”

On Guardian.co.uk, Roy Greenslade celebrated the decision after a 10-year battle to convince the papers to drop the bulks.

“This so-called ‘sampling exercise’ was anything other than a way to ensure that, in a declining market, headline sales figures remained artificially high,” he wrote.

Over the past 10 years publishers have become increasingly aware that sampling had little effect on their sales.

As Greenslade reports: Trinity Mirror and Express Mirrors were the first to give up the practice, while News International never used bulks for its main titles, The Sun and News of the World, but did for The Times and The Sunday Times.

The Financial Times has also begun to lessen its use of bulks; whereas The Telegraph Media Group continues to use bulks to attract new readers, he adds. In addition The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday have increased their reliance on bulks.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Malcolm Coles: You can print from the FT, but don’t photocopy it

August 10th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

A weird one this, picked up by Malcolm Coles, who has found (at least) 10 sites whose terms and conditions allow you to print a page from their website, but forbid photocopying them – including the Financial Times and Conde Net.

Answers as to why on the back of a postcard or in the comments below please.

Full story at this link…

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

FT.com: GNM considers Observer’s future in digital age

August 3rd, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

The Financial Times isn’t the only site reporting on the future of the Observer, which according to inside sources could cease publication in its current format.

Roy Greenslade has a round-up of the speculation here (no inside track from the Guardian blogger, however, he says).

According to an FT source, Observer staff discovered a secret mock-up of a weekly news magazine carrying the title’s branding.

Last week owners Guardian News & Media reported a pre-tax loss of £89.9 million for 2008-9.

“They [GNM] came up with a similar plan to close us down five years ago, and it was fought off. This time it seems to be couched in terms of saving The Guardian, so you have to think it is much more serious,” a ‘senior Observer journalist’ told the FT.

Full story at this link…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement