Writing on openDemocracy, Nicola Hughes, who is also known as DataMinerUK, has questioned what the use of the term ‘hack’ and its related synonyms mean for journalists following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
Hughes explains how journalists scrape data.
The people who are part of this community (I flatter myself to be included) are ‘hackers’ by the best definition of the word. The web allows anyone to publish their code online so these people are citizen hackers. They are the creators of such open civic websites as Schooloscope, Openly Local, Open Corporates, Who’s Lobbying, They Work For You, Fix My Street, Where Does My Money Go? and What Do They Know? This is information in the public interest. This is a new subset of journalism. This is the web enabling civic engagement with public information. This is hacking. But, unlike other fields of citizen journalism, it requires a very particular set of skills.
Hughes goes on to explain how journalists “need to get to grips with data to get the public their answers” and ends with a plea saying the News of the World affair should not define ‘hacking’.
In the Shakespearean sense of “That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet”, we should define journalism not by a word but by what it smells like. Something stank about the initial inquiry into the News of the World. Nick Davies smelled it and followed his nose. And that’s the definition of journalism.
The full post is at this link
Places are still available for a one-day symposium on the Future of Public Service Broadcasting, on Thursday 10 June 2010. The event is the result of the Public Service Broadcasting Forum project, which has debated public service broadcasting issues to coincide with the public consultation period for the BBC’s Strategy Review.
The symposium is organised by openDemocracy, hosted by City University London’s Department of Journalism, and chaired by Steve Hewlett, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show.
The aim of the day:
The symposium embraces the current consultation on the BBC’s Strategy Review in asking a broader question: what is the future for pluralism in the supply of public service content in the UK?
The schedule includes: The role of the licence-funded BBC and the significance of the Strategy Review with Caroline Thomson (chief operating officer, BBC), Professor Steven Barnett, Mark Oliver (Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates), Professor Richard Collins; How to identify, supply and fund the PSB needs the BBC cannot fulfil with Jonathan Thompson (Director of strategy, Ofcom), Geraint Talfan Davies (former controller of BBC Wales), Blair Jenkins (former head of news, BBC Scotland), Helen Shaw (Athena Media); and The public service media content that merits support in the digital future, and how it can be funded with Tim Gardam (Ofcom board member), Tony Curzon Price (openDemocracy), Claire Enders (Enders Analysis), and Jeremy Dear (NUJ).
Tickets can booked at http://psbf.eventbrite.com for £25 (including coffee/lunch)/£15 for students. Any enquiries should be sent to the PSBF’s moderator, Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal via daniel.macarthur-seal [at] opendemocracy.net.