Data journalism for beginners
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Review April 20, 2011 06:00 AM ET Computerworld - You may not think you've got much in common with an investigative journalist or an academic medical researcher.
Been getting a ton of requests for ‘how to’s and guides for creating decent visualizations and information designs. Made me think: maybe I could do some workshops in this area. I like developing ideas and working with people. Could be fun! So if you think you’d like to attend a workshop on visualization or organize one for your organisation, please fill in this quick form (30 seconds) .
Numbers can't "talk," but they can tell you as much as your human sources can. But as with human sources, you have to ask! So what should you ask a number? Well, mathematicians have developed an entire field — statistics — dedicated to getting answers out of numbers. Now, you don't have to have a degree in statistics in order to conduct an effective "interview" with your data. But you do need to know a few basics.
In writing last week’s Guardian Data Blog piece on How to be a data journalist I asked various people involved in data journalism where they would recommend starting. The answers are so useful that I thought I’d publish them in full here. The Telegraph’s Conrad Quilty-Harper: Start reading: http://www.google.com/reader/bundle/user%2F06076274130681848419%2Fbundle%2Fdatavizfeeds Keep adding to your knowledge and follow other data journalists/people who work with data on Twitter.
Data journalism is huge. I don't mean 'huge' as in fashionable - although it has become that in recent months - but 'huge' as in 'incomprehensibly enormous'. It represents the convergence of a number of fields which are significant in their own right - from investigative research and statistics to design and programming. The idea of combining those skills to tell important stories is powerful - but also intimidating. Who can do all that?
When you come face to face with unfamiliar data, how do you proceed? How do you avoid sending you and your shiny “speed of thought” tool slamming into a dead end? Dan Murray’s got a routine — and he’s also got certain music and right-brained books to go along.
L’emploi du temps du président des Etats-Unis: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/potus-tracker/?wpisrc=nl_fed Michel Guerry (1802-1866), avocat, statisticien et criminologue: http://www.datavis.ca/papers/A.M.Guerry-Tours.pdf Charles-Joseph Minard, ingénieur des Ponts et Chaussées et cartographe: http://cartographia.wordpress.com/category/charles-joseph-minard/ Jacques Bertin (1918-mai 2010), fondateur de la sémiologie graphique: http://cybergeo.revues.org/index258.html ... [Lire la suite]
Livres/Textes de référence
I recently spent 2 days teaching the basics of data journalism to trainee journalists on a broadsheet newspaper. It’s a pretty intensive course that follows a path I’ve explored here previously – from finding data and interrogating it to visualizing it and mashing – and I wanted to record the results. My approach was both practical and conceptual. Conceptually, the trainees need to be able to understand and communicate with people from other disciplines, such as designers putting together an infographic, or programmers, statisticians and researchers.
Data-driven journalism was a buzzword in 2010. What is this really? A short-lived trend or "ray of hope" for journalism?
A graph showing the number of IEDs cleared from the Afghanistan War Logs Only a couple of years ago, the idea that journalists would need to know how to use a spreadsheet would have been laughed out of the newsroom. Now those benighted days are way behind us and extracting stories out of data is part of every journalist's toolkit of skills. Some people say the answer is to become a sort of super hacker, write code and immerse yourself in SQL. If you decide to take that approach, you can find a load of resources here.