Posts tagged QA

TMZ.

TMZ.

Digging Through the Archives
That’s quite the memory you have. I think you’re referring to this post:

A recent question in our inbox asked, “What is it about journalism that you love? Why did you become a journalist?”
I began replying, looked at what I was writing, decided it was pretty dull and cast my net on Twitter where I asked #whyJournalism and linked to a simple Google form for people to answer.
Above is a collection of some of the answers we received. Some interesting replies not shown here include people motivated by specific events. For example, NBC’s Craig Kanalley points to 9/11 and his inspiration about how the press covered it.

FJP: Survey Says! #whyJournalism — Michael.

Digging Through the Archives

That’s quite the memory you have. I think you’re referring to this post:

A recent question in our inbox asked, “What is it about journalism that you love? Why did you become a journalist?”

I began replying, looked at what I was writing, decided it was pretty dull and cast my net on Twitter where I asked #whyJournalism and linked to a simple Google form for people to answer.

Above is a collection of some of the answers we received. Some interesting replies not shown here include people motivated by specific events. For example, NBC’s Craig Kanalley points to 9/11 and his inspiration about how the press covered it.

FJP: Survey Says! #whyJournalismMichael.

Who Controls The Media? Who Controls The FJP?
Let’s take this in order: Who controls the media?
If we’re talking traditional, corporate media it typically looks like this:
GE Owns: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures.
News-Corp Owns: Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post.
Disney Owns: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax.
Viacom Owns: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount.
Time Warner Owns: CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers.
CBS Owns: 60 Minutes, Showtime, NFL.com.
They all own way more than this, and I’d also add Clear Channel to the equation since it owns the majority of radio stations throughout the United States.
But you can’t talk about “owning the media” without talking about who owns cellular and Internet pipes. That includes companies like AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.
Online sources remain remarkably diverse despite reliance on upstream providers. People can reach and enjoy them despite the depth and breadth of overall marketshare of the properties mentioned above. That said, recent Network Neutrality rulings threaten our ability to access, interact with and enjoy this online diversity. Take, for instance, this AT&T patent application that would let it discriminate against online content and gives us access (or blocks access) accordingly:

A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.

Similarly, you can’t talk about owning and influencing the media without paying attention to how our technology companies operate within the ecosystem. Namely, how our interaction with information and communication is mediated by the code created by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. As CUNY’s Lev Manovich has written:

Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today’s techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.

So, that is more or less who controls American media.
Second question, who controls Future Journalism Project?
Ask a question, get an answer: meet the power behind the throne.
Most days though it’s me and Jihii. — Michael

Who Controls The Media? Who Controls The FJP?

Let’s take this in order: Who controls the media?

If we’re talking traditional, corporate media it typically looks like this:

  • GE Owns: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures.
  • News-Corp Owns: Fox, Wall Street Journal, New York Post.
  • Disney Owns: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax.
  • Viacom Owns: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Paramount.
  • Time Warner Owns: CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers.
  • CBS Owns: 60 Minutes, Showtime, NFL.com.

They all own way more than this, and I’d also add Clear Channel to the equation since it owns the majority of radio stations throughout the United States.

But you can’t talk about “owning the media” without talking about who owns cellular and Internet pipes. That includes companies like AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

Online sources remain remarkably diverse despite reliance on upstream providers. People can reach and enjoy them despite the depth and breadth of overall marketshare of the properties mentioned above. That said, recent Network Neutrality rulings threaten our ability to access, interact with and enjoy this online diversity. Take, for instance, this AT&T patent application that would let it discriminate against online content and gives us access (or blocks access) accordingly:

A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible. Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.

Similarly, you can’t talk about owning and influencing the media without paying attention to how our technology companies operate within the ecosystem. Namely, how our interaction with information and communication is mediated by the code created by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. As CUNY’s Lev Manovich has written:

Software has become a universal language, the interface to our imagination and the world. What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. I think of it as a layer that permeates contemporary societies. If we want to understand today’s techniques of communication, representation, simulation, analysis, decision making, memory, vision, writing, and interaction, we must understand software.

So, that is more or less who controls American media.

Second question, who controls Future Journalism Project?

Ask a question, get an answer: meet the power behind the throne.

Most days though it’s me and Jihii. — Michael

Fifty, You Say?
Have your people call our people.

Fifty, You Say?

Have your people call our people.

How Do I Get Started in Journalism?

I’m an aspiring journalist. That’s what I want to do with my life. However, I’m not sure where to start. Could you help me?raetschi

May we direct you to our QA Tag where you’ll find FJP deep thinking on subjects such as:

I hope these links help.

One item perhaps not mentioned in the above though is this: Ask every journalist you know (and even those you don’t) how you can break in, who you might be able to talk to and if, of course, they know of any openings you might be able to pursue.

Have other questions? Ask away. — Michael

Tor, Privacy and Security

TOR was compromised and some other items on that list are just plain and simple idiotic and impossible to the common user - information like this to people on a site where they take it to heart really quickly isn’t the best idea… — Anonymous

Yesterday we highlighted steps you can take against Internet surveillance. One suggestion was to use Tor to anonymize your online activity.

As this message from our inbox notes, earlier this year a compromise was discovered in the Tor browser.

This is true. But once the vulnerability was discovered an update came out that resolved it.

Also true are revelations that the NSA went after the Tor network itself. Here’s what leaked documents say about the agency’s attempts to hack Tor:

"We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time” but “with manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users.”

Of course, no system or defense mechanism is foolproof and that should always be remembered. If you really need absolute privacy, leave your tracking device (read: phone) at home and go for a walk in a very loud place with whoever you need to communicate with.

But don’t succumb to privacy nihilism. As Bruce Schneier writes in The Guardian, “The NSA has turned the fabric of the internet into a vast surveillance platform, but they are not magical. They’re limited by the same economic realities as the rest of us, and our best defense is to make surveillance of us as expensive as possible.”

One way to do that is to encrypt and anonymize, and help your friends and networks do the same.

For more information about defensive technology and steps you can take to secure your communications, visit this primer from the EFF. It covers browser, email, chat, phones and secure deletion of your files.

Main thing is to publish. Blog, tweet, write, photograph, tweet, video, code, play around with data - or a combination of all of the above. a) it will keep your journalistic ‘muscle’ in practice. b) if you’re any good, you’ll get noticed. And bear in mind you can do these things at other places than conventional news organisations. Many businesses, NGOs, arts organisations, public bodies, universities, etc are now publishers of extremely high quality stuff. Good places to practise your craft before moving on…

Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief, in response to a Redditor’s question: What advice would you have for a journalism student attempting to get into the industry at the moment?

He did an IAmA on Reddit yesterday, mainly about the Guardian’s coverage of the NSA files. It’s an interesting conversation in which he links out to some good reads such as these tips on communicating securely with your sources.

There is a chasm of difference between skepticism and speculation. Michael Hastings, the 33-year-old journalist who died in a car crash in Los Angeles this week, knew the difference well. Hastings didn’t speculate; he devoted years of his too-short life to a different project entirely — investigation propelled by fierce skepticism.

There is some sad irony, then, that the journalist’s tragic death has been followed by a storm of wild speculation — conspiracy theories about car bombs and government assassinations abound through cyberspace. It is the sort of knee-jerk speculation — concerns expounded based on threadbare evidence and assumptions — that sits quite at odds with Hastings’ legacy of thorough reporting and serious probing.

Natasha Lennard, Stop Speculating About Hastings’ Death, Salon.

The News, via Mother Jones:

Michael Hastings, a respected young journalist forRolling Stone andBuzzFeed, was killed in a car accident in Los Angeles Tuesday, according to his bossBuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith.

Hastings, who was 33, was perhaps most famous for “The Runaway General,” his June 2010Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of US forces in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama fired McChrystal after the publication of the article. Hastings expanded “The Runaway General” into a book, The Operators, that was published in January 2012 and became a New York Times bestseller.

Hastings first rose to prominence for his coverage of the Iraq war inNewsweek. His then-fiancée Andrea Parhamovich was killed in Iraq in 2007; he later wrote a book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad, about his years in Iraq.

You can find Hastings’Rolling Stonearchives hereand his BuzzFeedstuff here, but hisNewsweek writing is mostly not available online.Rolling Stone's obituary for him is here; Smith’s, which is a particularly gutting read, is here.

Also—and this is wonderful—Hastings’ advice to young journalists by way of Reddit:

1) You basically have to be willing to devote your life to journalism if you want to break in. Treat it like it’s medical school or law school.

2) When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word “prose,” or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer.

3) Be prepared to do a lot of things for free. This sucks, and it’s unfair, and it gives rich kids an edge. But it’s also the reality.

4) When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence.

5)Also, keep the stories simple and to the point, at least at first.

6) You should have a blog and be following journalists you like on Twitter.

7) If there’s a publication you want to work for or write for, cold call the editors and/or email them. This can work.

8) By the second sentence of a pitch, the entirety of the story should be explained. (In other words, if you can’t come up with a rough headline for your story idea, it’s going to be a challenge to get it published.)

9) Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it’s more important to you than anything else in your life—family, friends, social life, whatever.

10) Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.

FJP: RIP Michael Hastings.

Intern with The FJP this summer: Apps due Friday!

It’s Spring. Which means it’s time to start thinking about summer. And working with the FJP is assured to be a summer well spent. 

NYC applicants, see details here.
If you’re not in NYC, send us a note anyway.

Hello! Do you lovely folks offer summer internships? — Asked by ericgeller

Why, yes we do. And the application deadline is quickly approaching. Details here. Apply by May 10.

How polluted is the ocean near Daiichi Japan? — rogerwhart
Timely of you to ask.
From today’s New York Times.

Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain.
Groundwater is pouring into the plant’s ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean…
…While the company has since built a makeshift sealed cooling system, underground water is breaching basement walls at a rate of about 400 tons a day and becoming contaminated, according to Tepco’s estimate.

The company has two options, reports Bloomberg. One is to build above ground storage facilities but with 400 tons of contaminated water pouring in a day, it can only build so much. The second option, which Bloomberg says the company is hesitant to do but isn’t ruling out, is to dump the water into the ocean.
Back in November, Nature had this to say:

The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.
Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident…
…a fresh analysis by oceanographer Jota Kanda at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology suggests that not one source, but three, are responsible. First, radioactivity from the land is being washed by rainfall into rivers, which carry it to the sea. Second, the plant itself is leaking around 0.3 terabecquerels (1012 becquerels) per month, he estimates.
But Kanda thinks that the third source, marine sediment, is the main cause of the contamination. Around 95 terabecquerels of radioactive caesium has found its way to the sandy ocean floor near the plant.

Becquerels? That would be a unit of radioactivity. To get at the science of all this, we suggest you ask this guy. — Michael
Have a question? Ask away.
Image: Satellite view of Daiichi, Japan (indicated by the red pin), via Google Maps.

How polluted is the ocean near Daiichi Japan?rogerwhart

Timely of you to ask.

From today’s New York Times.

Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain.

Groundwater is pouring into the plant’s ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean…

…While the company has since built a makeshift sealed cooling system, underground water is breaching basement walls at a rate of about 400 tons a day and becoming contaminated, according to Tepco’s estimate.

The company has two options, reports Bloomberg. One is to build above ground storage facilities but with 400 tons of contaminated water pouring in a day, it can only build so much. The second option, which Bloomberg says the company is hesitant to do but isn’t ruling out, is to dump the water into the ocean.

Back in November, Nature had this to say:

The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.

Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident…

…a fresh analysis by oceanographer Jota Kanda at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology suggests that not one source, but three, are responsible. First, radioactivity from the land is being washed by rainfall into rivers, which carry it to the sea. Second, the plant itself is leaking around 0.3 terabecquerels (1012 becquerels) per month, he estimates.

But Kanda thinks that the third source, marine sediment, is the main cause of the contamination. Around 95 terabecquerels of radioactive caesium has found its way to the sandy ocean floor near the plant.

Becquerels? That would be a unit of radioactivity. To get at the science of all this, we suggest you ask this guy. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

Image: Satellite view of Daiichi, Japan (indicated by the red pin), via Google Maps.

How We Follow Breaking News
A lot is happening in Boston, just like a lot has happened in past months, including a lot of hype on the news, a lot of confusion, and the spread of quite some misinformation.
But eventually, the chase ends, the investigations close, the who, what, where, when, and how get answered, and the why gets speculated over until everyone agrees on a narrative that can help us digest the horror. The journey involves a lot of hype, and lot of (digital and analog) talk around the coffee-machine, Facebook feeds and Twitter channels. Some people end up very hurt, some people cynical, some people apathetic, some people clueless, some people motivated to help however they can.
So what can we take away from events like today in Boston? We can think about how we read about it. And in the era of everyone having a voice and a blog and the power to create content, it might help to think a little bit like a journalist.
Breaking news creates an information fog. Mistakes are made as rumors are spread. Important though is to think about how we follow and consume news, and if we’re journalists ourselves, how we report — and when we report — the latest factoid that comes across our radar. As GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram writes, Twitter shows how the news is made, and it’s not pretty — but it’s better that we see it.
Here’s our two-step process for following breaking news, keeping the drama to a minimum, and finding voices who know what they are talking about:
1. Pick a place to get a regularly updated version of the big picture.
If you don’t have cable or choose to stay online instead of on TV, you can watch CNN’s livestream here. Or, if you’re not at your computer and not in front of a TV but still want to listen in there are apps for that. For example, TuneIn Radio is available for the iPhone and iPad and gives you access to local, regional and global radio stations and broadcast network feeds. But keep in mind that they too get their stuff wrong sometimes, and if you’re watching TV (or reading the NY Post) you’re in for a lot of drama.
Examples of places to keep track of the big picture:
The New York Times Lede Blog
The Atlantic Wire
The Reuters live feed
2. Get on Twitter for primary sources to supplement that big picture and ask your own questions about it.
It’s the place where news breaks these days and holds a ton of value in the discovery-of-information ecosystem. It’s my first stop, nearly always. But it’s also a space for misinformation to spread incredibly fast so knowing how to use it (and not abuse it) falls into the hands of us—the people on it. Think (like a journalist would) about who’s gonna have the (mostly like correct) valuable information on the situation. This morning we were following people like Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa, The Wall Street Journal’s Liz Heron and the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley. Even closer to the action, here’s a public list on Watertown put together by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan.
But think: Who’s actually there? Follow news organizations for regular updates. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook too. You’ll get linked out to further resources as the events unfold without having to keep up with just one paper’s website up all day.
Google the local publications, namely The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald. Who are the reporters on the story? Who’s the editor? Follow them on Twitter. Follow the police commissioner, the mayor.
Also, did you know you can listen to the police scanner itself? Here’s an app for that. Remember though, if listening to the police scanner you’re listening to people who are trying to figure things out as well. This is information fog. What is said on the scanner is not necessarily fact. It’s first responders trying to understand the situation they’re in. Also remember that there are ethical considerations when listening to a scanner. Just because you hear someone say something doesn’t mean that you should post it to your social network of choice. There are lives on the line in situations like this.
Finally, with so many rumors and posts swirling about, remember that much information will be wrong and a significant part of the entire process is to verify what we hear. To that end, remember that in times like these, some trolls create fake social media accounts. If you really wanna get good at Twitter, Josh Stearns has a a guide on how to verify social media content. — Jihii
Related, Part 01: Thoughts on slow news from the FJP archives.
Related, Part 02: Getting it Wrong in Boston.
Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

How We Follow Breaking News

A lot is happening in Boston, just like a lot has happened in past months, including a lot of hype on the news, a lot of confusion, and the spread of quite some misinformation.

But eventually, the chase ends, the investigations close, the who, what, where, when, and how get answered, and the why gets speculated over until everyone agrees on a narrative that can help us digest the horror. The journey involves a lot of hype, and lot of (digital and analog) talk around the coffee-machine, Facebook feeds and Twitter channels. Some people end up very hurt, some people cynical, some people apathetic, some people clueless, some people motivated to help however they can.

So what can we take away from events like today in Boston? We can think about how we read about it. And in the era of everyone having a voice and a blog and the power to create content, it might help to think a little bit like a journalist.

Breaking news creates an information fog. Mistakes are made as rumors are spread. Important though is to think about how we follow and consume news, and if we’re journalists ourselves, how we report — and when we report — the latest factoid that comes across our radar. As GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram writes, Twitter shows how the news is made, and it’s not pretty — but it’s better that we see it.

Here’s our two-step process for following breaking news, keeping the drama to a minimum, and finding voices who know what they are talking about:

1. Pick a place to get a regularly updated version of the big picture.

If you don’t have cable or choose to stay online instead of on TV, you can watch CNN’s livestream here. Or, if you’re not at your computer and not in front of a TV but still want to listen in there are apps for that. For example, TuneIn Radio is available for the iPhone and iPad and gives you access to local, regional and global radio stations and broadcast network feeds. But keep in mind that they too get their stuff wrong sometimes, and if you’re watching TV (or reading the NY Post) you’re in for a lot of drama.

Examples of places to keep track of the big picture:

2. Get on Twitter for primary sources to supplement that big picture and ask your own questions about it.

It’s the place where news breaks these days and holds a ton of value in the discovery-of-information ecosystem. It’s my first stop, nearly always. But it’s also a space for misinformation to spread incredibly fast so knowing how to use it (and not abuse it) falls into the hands of us—the people on it. Think (like a journalist would) about who’s gonna have the (mostly like correct) valuable information on the situation. This morning we were following people like Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa, The Wall Street Journal’s Liz Heron and the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley. Even closer to the action, here’s a public list on Watertown put together by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan.

But think: Who’s actually there? Follow news organizations for regular updates. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook too. You’ll get linked out to further resources as the events unfold without having to keep up with just one paper’s website up all day.

Google the local publications, namely The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald. Who are the reporters on the story? Who’s the editor? Follow them on Twitter. Follow the police commissioner, the mayor.

Also, did you know you can listen to the police scanner itself? Here’s an app for that. Remember though, if listening to the police scanner you’re listening to people who are trying to figure things out as well. This is information fog. What is said on the scanner is not necessarily fact. It’s first responders trying to understand the situation they’re in. Also remember that there are ethical considerations when listening to a scanner. Just because you hear someone say something doesn’t mean that you should post it to your social network of choice. There are lives on the line in situations like this.

Finally, with so many rumors and posts swirling about, remember that much information will be wrong and a significant part of the entire process is to verify what we hear. To that end, remember that in times like these, some trolls create fake social media accountsIf you really wanna get good at Twitter, Josh Stearns has a a guide on how to verify social media content. — Jihii

Related, Part 01: Thoughts on slow news from the FJP archives.

Related, Part 02: Getting it Wrong in Boston.

Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

Data Journalism: From the Inbox
any recommendations for training/workshops in data journalism? (also, i love this blog) — aliciee
Hi there. We love that you love this blog. Here goes:
Since I don’t know where you actually are I’m going to stick to mostly online resources.
One place I’d start is Lynda.com which is an online training site with video-based courses that range from desktop applications like Photoshop to programming languages like Ruby. It’s subscription-based but you can pay by the month ($25) and drop it at any time. Two courses that might be of interest are Interactive Data Visualization with Processing and Up and Running with R. Also, if you’re still in school, see if it’s available to you for free. Jihii has free access to it at Columbia.
One of the hard things about answering this question though is that there are various moving parts, not least of which is what tools you want to be working with. I mentioned R and Processing above, but there are also tools like Google’s Google’s Fusion Tables, Hadoop and Gephi, not to mention a whole host of others.
Which, come to think of it, is probably why you’re asking about training and workshops. Figuring out where to start can be confusing.
So here are some places to start:
Go Through the Data Journalism Handbook.
Review DataVisualization’s inspiration on tools you can use.
Hit up Reddit, and head to the subreddits such as this one on visualization. Ask questions.
Go to Perugia, Italy. There’s a data journalism conference going on there April 24-28… We can fantasize, right?
In the offline world, take a look at Meetup and Eventbrite for events and workshops. They pop up all the time. For example, here are upcoming workshops in New York City and here are NYC Meetup groups that focus on data.
So, with apologies for not being more specific on actual workshops, that’s what I got for you. Hope it helps. — Michael
Have a question? Ask away.
Image: Using Google Earth to visualize marine and coastal data. Via OpenEarth.

Data Journalism: From the Inbox

any recommendations for training/workshops in data journalism? (also, i love this blog) — aliciee

Hi there. We love that you love this blog. Here goes:

Since I don’t know where you actually are I’m going to stick to mostly online resources.

One place I’d start is Lynda.com which is an online training site with video-based courses that range from desktop applications like Photoshop to programming languages like Ruby. It’s subscription-based but you can pay by the month ($25) and drop it at any time. Two courses that might be of interest are Interactive Data Visualization with Processing and Up and Running with R. Also, if you’re still in school, see if it’s available to you for free. Jihii has free access to it at Columbia.

One of the hard things about answering this question though is that there are various moving parts, not least of which is what tools you want to be working with. I mentioned R and Processing above, but there are also tools like Google’s Google’s Fusion Tables, Hadoop and Gephi, not to mention a whole host of others.

Which, come to think of it, is probably why you’re asking about training and workshops. Figuring out where to start can be confusing.

So here are some places to start:

So, with apologies for not being more specific on actual workshops, that’s what I got for you. Hope it helps. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

Image: Using Google Earth to visualize marine and coastal data. Via OpenEarth.

Where to Start as a Journalist? Try the Peabody Awards

I’m graduating in May in hopes of becoming a journalist. I’ve had internships and I’ve worked for my university’s online news source. Can you steer a terrified senior in a direction? Where should I look? What should I be looking for? What should I work on?” — Helena

We get questions like this fairly frequently and there’s no exact answer. But with yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 Peabody Award winners we’re seeing the incredible range of today’s journalism.This isn’t to say that you can’t quibble with this story winning over that story, or say they could chose more innovative work, but it is to say that if you look at the winners from the Web, radio, television and documentary you see a wild diversity of storytelling approaches and ideas.

And reviewing some of the winners, I think, is a great place to start.

Start with the Web and The New York Times win for “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” a multimedia feature using aerial photography, video and words while taking advantage of contemporary presentation techniques such as responsive design and parallax in order to augment and further drive the story forward.

SCOTUSBlog is the other Web winner. There are no bells and whistles. Instead, it’s pretty much a text only blog that’s become a go to resource for stories, background and explainers on all things that have to do with the US Supreme Court. Here, deep, thorough, consistent reporting and analysis wins out.

Radio, I think, is in a golden age and the reason I think this is is because of the launch of iTunes back in 2001. This allowed people to easily subscribe to podcasts — and by extension radio programming — that we previously didn’t have access to. Yes, RSS already existed but iTunes gave us an easy interface to either hear or distribute programming. While your local public radio station might not carry it, you can now hear everything from the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent to The Moth Radio Hour, 99% Invisible and Radiolab among a host of other exceptional programming.

Each of these programs uses different techniques and styles. By listening and analyzing, we learn new tricks that expand our understanding of what’s possible in audio storytelling.

One of this year’s radio winners comes from Radio Diaries, is called “Teen Contender" and follows the 16-year-old Olympic boxer Claressa Shields in a first person narrative from Flint, Michigan to London. Here’s a great breakdown by Julia Barton on the techniques used and how this created great radio.

Other radio winners include WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, a “traditional” hosted show about New York’s political and cultural life; This American Life’s “What Happened at Dos Erres,” an incredible radio documentary about a Guatemalan immigrant in Boston “who learns that the man he believed to be his father actually led the massacre of his village”; and NPR for its hard news reporting in Syria by Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos.

I’ll leave it at this and with the recommendation to explore different types of journalism awards across magazines, multimedia, photography, documentary, radio and the rest. Through it, you’ll come across work that brings about an “Aha!” moment, one that makes you say, “This is what I want to do.” And then start positioning yourself and aiming towards doing it by applying for work — or learning the skills needed to apply for work — in that area.

Hope this helps. — Michael

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