Ricardo Lafuente of Journalism++ talked about data journalism. He talked Thursday at 15:30, in Portuguese.
Ricardo started by recalling that, in 2013, the New York Times interactive had 18 journalists and 30 graphical designers. If we have less money than them, we must remain frugal.
- Use free and open tools. Open tools foster a community.
- Structure and share the data. Make data easy to access.
- Contact with people in different circles.
The first step to frugality is to reuse what is available, instead of reinventing the wheel. Several open source tools are available for free using only a browser:
- Data visualization: Datawrapper, Chartbuilder, RAW, Highcharts, Tableau Public, Infogram, Raphael, D3js.
- Maps: OpenStreetMap, Mapbox/Tilemil, Leaflet, CartoDB, Kartograph, QGIS.
- Statistical analysis: R, PSPP, Statwing.
- Timelines: Timeline.js, TimeMapper.
Practice self-reuse by creating your own templates. Each of your own projects becomes a resource for the next projects. For example: elections, World championships, floods, fires, ...
Put all the templates in the same place. Think about the community. Share publicly, for example on Github.
Finding, refining and maintaining a set of data takes time. Organize the datasets so that they can be easily queried. Store the data in the same place, so that the whole newsroom can have access.
An example: on September 21st, 2013 there was a shooting in a mall in Nairobi. Using a clean and filtered database on terrorism, journalists used OpenRefine to find previous terrorist attacks in Kenya, graph the results, and conclude that terrorism has increased in the past ten years.
- Schools in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune provided interactive access to the school data instead of just publishing an article.
- The Texas Tribune published the salaries of government employees in Texas.
- Connected China displays the power relations in China, based on a proprietary database of facts collected by journalists.
- European Youth Migration Data-driven Project crowdsources the investigation, collecting stories of young “PIGS” migrants. They used Google Docs to collect 1000 stories.
Expand the networks
Create meeting points between journalists (hacks), developers (hackers), and citizens. These meetings are common in Berlin. In Portugal, we have Transparency Hack Day in Oporto.
Connect with other journalists, and with people from different circles.
- Slides of the presentation, using Reveal.js to convert Markdown to slides. There is also a visual editor at Slides.com.
- Journalist++ at Porto
- The Portuguese branch of Journalism++, a duo of Ricardo Lafuente and Ana Isabel Carvalho. Other branches include Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, and Stockholm.