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Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Pizza and Election Night: Some Things Just Go Together

pizza election nightIt’s election night and everyone knows election night is nothing without pizza. What did your newsroom eat tonight? Read more

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Why You Need To Verify Tweets Before Including Them In Your Reporting

New York Times social media staff editor Daniel Victor shared a simple tweet last night that says a lot about the hit-and-run-with-it journalism industry today.

The conversation he linked to was his own attempt to connect with a NY resident who had mentioned long voting lines in yesterday’s election. Good thing he verified the author’s intention and didn’t just run with it. Turns out, the tweet was attempting to make a joke:
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Washington Post Covers Conventions Using ‘Live Grid’

In a step away from the traditional topic landing page, The Washington Post is using a layout called “The Grid” to collect the latest coverage around the Republican National Convention.

The Grid features, as you may have guessed, a grid of content that includes a stream of articles, listing of events, tweets, photos and video. When you first land on the grid, you see editor’s picks, but you can filter down by news organization, politician, delegate and content type. There’s a live listing of latest headlines and a chat  component for readers to weigh in. At certain times, they were also streaming live events using a YouTube live player. Read more

Campaign finance updates in real time? There’s an API for that

Recognizing an always-on political news cycle demands immediate updates, the New York Times says its updated its campaign finance API to make updates in real time. This will give them (and other apps using this Application Programming Interface, which allows outside app developers to retrieve the data collected) access to information significantly quicker than prior incarnations.

The API, which initially launched during the 2008 presidential election, previously updated every other week. In some cases, some data updated daily, according to a post about the upgrade from NYT developer Derek Willis. Now, the updates happen within minutes after the FEC receives them (updated every 15 minutes).
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NICAR roundup of data journalism ideas

For those who don’t know, or haven’t seen the flurry of #NICAR12 tweets this past week/end, the best minds in data journalism met in St. Louis for the annual CAR conference put on by IRE and its National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.

Between the hashtag and the official blog, you’ll get a good overview of initial impressions and topics covered — from avoiding data dumps in stories to harvesting trends from social media. Chrys Wu, again this year, has done a fabulous job rounding up the multitude of presentations at NICAR.

Here are five of my favorite topics, but I encourage you to bookmark Wu’s page and peruse them all, because there are some awesome ideas and tips there:

  • Human Assisted Reporting — This slideshow presents an “aha idea” that I can’t believe I never thought of: automating tasks beat reporters do regularly with data, and then programming your computer to do simple data analysis automatically. My favorite easy example of this was mining the daily police blotter for trends or keywords (who has the highest bail and what is the bail/the crime? any nurses, teachers, ministers, etc. arrested?)
  • Weathering the Storm: Using data to bolster the traditional weather story — Maybe it’s the nearly four years I spent working as a news reporter at a mid-sized paper and the dozens of weather stories I was forced to work on, but I believe there’s a special place in journo-heaven for anyone who can turn the most over-used story topic into something new and interesting for readers/watchers/listeners. Here’s your ticket to attempting just that.
  • Advanced Excel Tips — Excel is pretty much the program I use the most, and most heavily, on my work computer, after Firefox of course. So this tipsheet from the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s MaryJo Webster is not only a good refresher on bits I know well, but it also includes some great tips on doing things I haven’t quite mastered. From date functions to string functions, this is a solid list that I’ll be saving for future reference, and you should too.
  • How to use election data (and other good stuff to know) — This is actually a round-up from John Keefe of his four presentations, including one on election night and maps and election data without databases. He also covers other interesting topics, including everything you need to know about APIs, using Google Spreadsheets as your backend CMS, and hacking the Census data.
  • Build your first news app with Django — Their first step-by-step tutorial is how to build an interactive poll, with some other getting started resources.

There are many other topics covered, including on some of these same topics, as well as new tools to use and some examples of investigative data journalism at work. What was your favorite element of NICAR this year?

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