Computational journalism – news journalism, new ideas

Over the last couple of years, Richard Sambrook and Martin Chorley and I have been working on a new course – I’m proud to say it is all going ahead for September this year.

It will be mixing the best of Cardiff University’s schools of computing and journalism for a new course aimed at new skills for newsrooms.

It will include learning how to code in python, build web apps, understand the changing media industry and develop skills in datajouranlism and digital investigation.

You can read more below, but keep your ears open as we get nearer to the launch date.

 

What is “Computational Journalism”? | JOMEC @ Cardiff University

We’re delighted to announce that Cardiff University is launching a new Masters programme in Computational Journalism from September this year – jointly run by the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and the School of Computer Science and Informatics.  But what IS computational journalism?

Bookmarks for March 6th

These are my links for March 6th:

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When X is the new why? Or Journalists really need to get their CPD sorted out

As you may have gathered, I’m really interested in curriculum design. Not in the “by the end of the session the learner will be able to” kind of way, but more about helping journalists get the skills they need to do the job.

20110502-NodeXL-Twitter-data journalism graph

20110502-NodeXL-Twitter-data journalism graph (Photo credit: Marc_Smith)

I got a status update from my colleague Emma Gilliam earlier today, sharing a post about how hand-wringing journalists should go back to school. As I read this I was thinking how wise these words were as I’ve changed my modules to include these skills over the last few years and regularly chat with colleagues – inside and outside my department – about how to get the next generation of journalists up to speed with these ideas.

But then it struck me, this isn’t just about the skills – it is also about attitude and that’s one thing you can’t teach. And it isn’t just about age, journalists old and young don’t always get why they need to learn new skills for the job – even as the newsroom shifts and changes around them.

Journalism in the UK doesn’t have much in the way of continuous professional development – but then we aren’t a profession. Nurses, as an example, have a prep folder which they need to keep up to date and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing training and development.

In all my time in newsrooms – and I worked in quite a few – I went on one course. And it was crap. It was subbing on paper, when my job (which I could already do) was subbing on a computer. So, then I decided to do it for myself.

And then it struck me why that post is wrong, it’s not about going back to school (although that is one great way of doing it if the skills you want are on offer).

It’s easy to moan about how much better things were (we are all guilty of that at one time or another) but the key thing for me is about taking control.

So that’s why I spent my Sunday afternoon (while cooking lunch) having a go at building a web app which pulls in data from a CSV spreadsheet and spits out web pages. (hat tip to the brilliant Chrys Wu for the link to the tutorial by Ben Welsh.) I regularly do this kind of thing and am fascinated by the tools and ideas we can use to investigate, communicate and share.

In lieu of any form of proper CPD – we need to build a proper network of practice. Find out the best people to follow on Twitter, what blogs there are to learn from and who to go buy a coffee for. (I’ll update this post later to add some links in here)

And as to what to learn first – it’s the attitude. Take control of your own career or you might not have one for long.

You could learn how to geolocate tweets to see what people are talking about near you, develop your FOIA requests to get data sets and then Excel the crap out of them. You could learn to scrape, build an infographic or develop your long form writing to best effect (and you could even use an immersive platform to do it). Find a group (google or in real life) and have a chat with someone who is further along than you are.

Just one thing, remember the people. To me datajournalism = people + data not just a fancy infographic with some cool numbers on it.

And if you remember the folk at the centre of the data, the interview and at the other end of the distribution channel you’ll get a stronger idea of what is going on by joining in the community you are working with/through/for.

Feel the fear and do it anyway? Nah, just take responsibility for your own CPD and start buildilng your networks and skills.

Crowdfunding journalism

Journalism crowdfunding site

Journalism crowdfunding site

I’ve been reading a lot about the potential futures for the media, and journalism particularly, over the last few months.

There’s been quite a lot of talk about personal brand journalism (have a read of this piece by Michael Wolff to find out more about that) and this week I’m delighted to hear that Sarah Hartley and colleagues Matt McAlister and Dan Catt have launched their new project.

Essentially it is a crowdfunded journalism community – something I’ve been interested in since Dave Cohn launched Spot.us in 2007 (it is still going but now under American Public Media and the Public Insight Network).

I’ll be watching this one with interest.

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Why are we still having this argument about free web content?

Some wise words from David Higgerson about the free vs paywall debate. 

 

When a hyperlocal site can have a bigger audience than a century-old newspaper, do you still think it’s wrong to ‘give away’ content for free? | David Higgerson

The arrival of the internet didn’t lead to people expecting their local news for free. That ship sailed in the 1980s when free newspapers were born. The internet simply made it possible for people to pick and choose the content they consume, rather than receiving everything we thought they wanted. If we’d not bothered putting it online, they simply would have gone elsewhere, or managed without.

Bookmarks for October 9th through June 19th

These are my links for October 9th through June 19th:

Me, openness and education

A few years ago I did a course in elearning technologies – I’m a journalism lecturer at Cardiff University who teaches digital journalism so it merged my interests in technology and education.

I became more interested in what were then called Personal Learning Environment and networked learning rather than how to get the best out of the VLE.

I got really interested in the work of people like George Siemens and Martin Weller and their interests which led for connectivist courses to moocs.

So, being a fan of Martin’s work I decided to sign up here.

I look forward to chatting with you all over the coming weeks.

Tablets as part of the student journalist’s media quartet

Over the coming weeks I’ll be working with some of my students to create tablet edition magazine/supplements alongside their website and newspapers that they do as part of their development on the postgraduate course at Cardiff University.

I’m currently reading The iPad Design Book by design legend Dr Mario Garcia (who <shameless plug> reviewed my book before Christmas </shameless plug>).

I’ll be sharing what we are up to as we go through – the first stage is about business development, community and engagement before we even approach design.

But as part of my morning read around I thought I’d share these points from Mario.

 

García Media | The Mario Blog by Mario Garcia — Storytelling, Design & the Things We Learn Along the Way

The important questions The other two thirds involve an honest appraisal that answers these five questions:

1. Where does the publication stand in terms of its offerings across the media quartet (mobile, online, print and tablet)?

2. When the editors gather for their daily planning, are they thinking of storytelling across the platforms? Or, is is still the planning of a print product?

3. Are there editors assigned to the role of editing for mobile and tablet editions?

4. Are there at least five daily stories that are presented differently across platforms, exploiting the capabilities of each platform to enhance the storytelling process?

5. Are we diligently working on the way this publication will be in 2018?

Bookmarks for September 24th through October 2nd

These are my links for September 24th through October 2nd:

E-learning, Web 2.0, stuff