Read & Respond week 7: Data

February 19, 2015

This week we delve into data. You’re surrounded by it, but do you know how to use it as a blogger? As a journalist? As we discussed in our Mobility week, we’re increasingly devoted to technologies that track our movements, habits, and preferences; these trackers produce a wealth of data.

Consider Wikileaks, arguably “The game-changer in data journalism.” Approached with this massive wealth of data, The Guardian compiled phenomenally complex accounts of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a collection of cables (communication dispatches) from the U.S. Embassy. Not only this, they made the data itself available to readers to make their own stories out of it.

Oh, and also the guy who gave them the data threatened to sue them.

What can you do with data in your own writing? What, if anything, have you done already? Here are a few more supplements to give you some ideas:

  • SKIM the Data Journalism Handbook, paying particular attention to the Introduction and Case Studies (I use this in my data visualization class – offered this fall!).
  • Poynter offers a “getting started in data journalism” guide with some good links and examples.
  • Have a look at the sample version of Paul Bradshaw’s Scraping for Journalists (free PDF) for some ideas on gathering data (Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog is a good resource too!)

Be sure to post your response to Briggs and the readings as a comment to this post by 10a Monday, February 23.

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Assignment #7: Blog-a-Day Week

February 19, 2015

After blogging for several weeks, you should have a feel for what works, what doesn’t, and how to plan your attack. So far you’ve been doing sprints, but this week will be a 5K. Beginning with Monday, Feb. 23, you will post something EVERY day to your personal blog for a week (yes, this includes Saturday & Sunday). This will not be easy, but you can do it, and at the end you’ll have a newfound respect for those who do this every week.

Some rules and tips:

  • The first rule of Blog-a-Day Week is: We do NOT talk about Blog-a-Day Week! This means no posting about how hard it is to post every day, or other such metacommentary.
  • Likewise, no posting about how you don’t know what to post. Use the skills from previous challenges, ideas from your blogroll, synthesis posts, comments from other students … ANYTHING that leads to a substantive post!
  • As always, good posts will have rich content (links, videos, images, maps, etc.) and be connective. Now might be the time to check out that “Add Poll” button up at the top of your New Post window.
  • Scoring (10 pts total): Your Monday and Thursday posts count for your required weekly posts (5 pts each) and are NOT part of the assignment. The remaining five are worth 2 pts each.

DUE: Every day from Monday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, March 1 (seven posts in all)

So that’s it. Daunting, but I promise you’ll survive and learn some new skills. THIS is what a full-time blogger does. I strongly recommend writing a few posts in advance to keep from going insane. You might also want to check out the National Blog Posting Month website for advice and support – you can even sign up to win prizes.