FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Welsh’

Journalism Site Checks In with LAT’s ‘Robot Reporters’

Sarah Marshall shares a couple of fascinating new examples at journalism.co.uk of the algorithm-assisted reporting being perfected at the LA Times under the watchful eye of database producer Ben Welsh (pictured).

The first is an early-morning Ken Schwencke-bylined item on February 1 about a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that hit SoCal. Even though the reporter was still in bed, he was first to the news:

“Ken wrote the algorithm that sits on top of earthquake notifications,” Welsh explained. “The structured data comes in and Ken has an algorithm that says if the earthquake is close to California and over a certain magnitude it is ‘news’.”

Read more

Mediabistro Course

Copy Editing: Intro

Copy Editing: IntroStarting January 6, learn basic copy editing skills using the AP Stylebook! In this course, you'll learn how to use dictionaries and online reference tools to edit work, ask the right questions to clarify convoluted copy, prepare for a copy editing test, and tailor your resume to find more work as a copy editor. Register now!

Nieman Lab Congratulates LA Times Employee for ‘Best F-Bomb of the Conference’

Thanks to the wonders of Web video, it’s possible to point readers to the exact minute and second mark where the good stuff can be found. Case in point: Nieman Lab staff writer Adrienne LaFrance’s item extolling some of the best video clips culled and belatedly posted from this spring’s International Symposium on Online Journalism.

We wrote at the time about LA Times database producer Ben Welsh’s participation. But we did not realize until now that it featured a “crescendo that ends with the best F-bomb of the conference:”

Read more

LAT Database Producer Archives Newspaper Website Home Pages

Interesting sideline project from Ben Welsh, a database producer at the LA Times. It’s called PastPages and has been set up to record hourly snapshots of the home pages of various newspaper websites.

There are currently about 80 publications being tracked, everything from the LAT and TMZ to Le Monde and The Guardian. Welsh has managed to quickly exceed a Kickstarter fundraising goal of $5,000 and tells journalism.co.uk he’s looking forward to building out his non-profit venture:

Currently, the site just takes an image snapshot of the front pages but in the future PastPages will scrape and host all the HTML, images and code running on the website. This will create an archive which is searchable by keyword and there are also plans to create an API which would allow other programmers to create new projects and mash-ups with the site’s data…

Read more

LAT Database Producer Discusses His LAPD Experiment

The future of journalism was sliced, diced and debated in a myriad of ways this past weekend at the 13th International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ). Held April 20-21 at the University of Texas at Austin, the event featured innumerable keynote addresses and industry panels.

During one discussion titled “From Desk (lap) top Computers and Smartphones to Tablets: How Journalists are Responding to the Mobile Revolution,” LA Times database manager Ben Welsh suggested that he’s aiming for a Minority Report-like future. He envisions layers of computer-assisted reporting – operated by robotic spiders, and explained how he has been experimenting with the concept. Per a report by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas:

“You find a simple, repetitive and moving data stream that updates every day,” Welsh said. His data stream? The Los Angeles Police Department emails he receives at 2:30 every morning.

Read more

LA Times Wins Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism

The LA Times has won the prestigious Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism for the paper’s 18-month, 6-part investigation into the $5.7 billion plan rebuild nine community colleges in Los Angeles. Michael Finnegan and Gale Holland were the lead reporters on the pieces, along with investigative reporter Paul Pringle, data specialists Doug Smith, Sandra Poindexter and Ben Welsh and graphics producer Raul Ranoa.

“This was an extraordinarily challenging reporting assignment that documented pretty much every abuse of the public trust that could be made by public officials when they have a lot of taxpayer money to spend,” said Bingham award judge Walter Robinson. “This was an important public works project whose biggest beneficiaries should have been working class community college students. Instead, the funds were used to award lucrative contracts to politically connected companies, with lax oversight. The result, richly documented and compellingly presented by the Times, was wasteful spending for inferior design, shoddy construction, excessive and unchecked billing practices, and a boondoggle for the relatives and friends of many of the decision-makers. This work by the Times is a stark reminder of the importance of the watchdog role the press plays when government spends scarce public funds.”

The Bingham award comes with a $20,000 prize. Not too shabby. Congrats to all involved!

LA Times Gets Mostly Snubbed by the Webbys This Year

logo_webbyawards_md222.pngOh yes, it’s like the 2008 Pulitzers all over again. The New York Times gets some shout outs and LA Times isn’t even mentioned in passing. You’d think the thing wasn’t on the web at all.

Other winners are our lovely former FBLA editor Mayrav Saar‘s hubby Glenn Gaslin who works on the E! Blog Red Carpet, that won the People’s Voice Award for Celebrity/Fan.

Special Achievement Awards

  • Webby Artist of the Year: Trent Reznor
  • Webby Person of the Year: Jimmy Fallon
  • Webby Breakout of the Year: Twitter
  • Best Actress: Sarah Silverman
  • Outstanding Comedic Performance: Lisa Kudrow
  • Film & Video Person of the Year: Seth MacFarlane

  • Full list is here.

    CORRECTION: LAT got one prize for the I C U blog on missed Craigslist meetings. Our thanks to LAT tech dude Ben Welsh for ruining our quip with facts…nice job.