Tag: data journalism

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Hey, Washington Post (and Other Investigators), How About Comparing Candidate Spending Habits?

Let me preface: this is not a political endorsement for Donald Trump or anyone else. But the comedy and drama of this early campaign cycle sure is interesting. Among yesterday’s dramedy stories catching my attention: Washington Post on Mr. Trump telling super PACs to return contributions gathered in his name.

The presidential hopeful finances the campaign from his wealth and smaller donations from individual contributors. I got to wondering: Wouldn’t a candidate largely using his own money spend differently from someone getting to what amounts to free cash? There’s a stereotype that people spend their own (say, savings) more prudentially than what comes easily and freely (like credit). Is there a difference this early on among the would-be nominees in how or where they spend on the respective campaigns? 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter VII

Nearly a month has passed still the last installment of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. I have been overwhelmingly busy with other projects, which is no excuse. My apologies, please. Over the next couple of Sundays, I will serialize the remaining few chapters before releasing the tome into the public domain.

This chapter, like most of the others in Section 3, is vital to your success, which means rising above the endless sea of sameness. You must be original, and produce original content that finds and builds audience. Today’s chapter gives varied examples of news organizations doing just that. 

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Three Words That Go Oddly Together: ‘BuzzFeed’, ‘News’, ‘Investigation’

Among the many posts in my Google+ feed this AM is link to “Fostering Profits“, which dek begins: “A BuzzFeed News investigation”. My initial reading stopped there. What the frak? For the king of linkbaiting, “news” and “investigation” look wrong.

But as a Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard video interview indicates, and as I explain in my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, BuzzFeed seeks to be more than the list-linker to the Millennial generation. I am not so much skeptical as critical. The writing needs to be crisper and more inviting than this news story. I suggest editors take cues from Mother JonesVice News or Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi rather than from ProPublica

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You Could Study Journalism, or Learn as Much Watching These Five Films

If you gather and report news and would like a New Year’s resolution, consider this: Put your audience first by building trust. The how depends much on the type of journalism you practice: Advocacy, contextual. conversational, data, immersive, or process, but hopefully not mob, or a combination of them. You could seek the method in a book, like my Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. But do you really want to take your work home and read? Movie marathon is better. Grab the popcorn and Bunch-a-Crunch.

Any—and ideally all—of these films are a great way to shake the ethical cage as 2015 starts. Wikipedia lists 188 entries in category “films about journalists“, and I choose just five that combined convey lessons about responsible and irresponsible news reporting. They are textbooks anyone writing news should study; presented alphabetically. 

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ProPublica and NPR hit a Home Run

Every news gatherer should read “Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts“, which is example of great news reporting. The sidebar is just as good.

Increasingly, news reporting is more than culling sources and chasing leads. ProPublica practices what sometimes is referred to as “data journalism”, and it is a cornerstone of the news organization’s investigative reporting. As I learned from working as an analyst for JupiterResearch a decade ago, collected data wants to tell a story. Hidden in spreadsheets is truth that only lies when someone deliberately misinterprets the meaning.