Archive for February, 2012
The #solomoDEN event in Salford Quays was an opportunity to hear about projects, research and initiatives in the area of social-local-mobile journalism.
I attended to talk about a GMG project I’m involved with called n0tice.com which has these ideas at its heart to produce an online/mobile noticeboard (and if anyone would like an invite please drop your email here or via the comments below).
Here’s my pick of the other talks;
1. World Newsmedia Innovation Study.
There’s a lot of information in these 130 pages, 100 data sets compiled by 500 respondents in 11 languages. The aspect that caught my eye was the plans that news organisations have around developing new businesses and this mysterious finding: “While mobile phones, e-readers and social media remain the top propescts in 2011, responses show that managers are generally less enthusiastic about these opportunities than in 2010.” The full report is being being available to download at the website.
2. Help me Investigate networks.
The collaborative website that helps people investigate issues of shared concern has recently refined the proposition into various strands including health, welfare and education.
Currently Paul is calling on interested bloggers to get involved in a Help Me Investigate health project looking at some of the data on GP surgeries’ patient list numbers. More on that here: http://helpmeinvestigate.com/health/
3. Sky in Tyne and Wear.
It was fascinating to hear from Simon Bucks about the video journalism experiment going on in the north east. The unease from local newspaper editors in the room was palpable as he described how a team of 13 journalists including nine dedicated video journalists were starting work in a patch chosen for its sporting enthusiasim and clear sense of self-identity.
— Robin Morley (@mrrobinmorley) February 23, 2012
As well as the original content that large team is producing, the broadcaster is also encouraging submitted video and self-serve events listings in the locality. One to watch.
4. Launch of Media and Digital Enterprise (Made).
The UK Winner of last year’s Google IPI award for news innovation was officially launched in a low key event at the end of the main sessions. Any budding news entrepreneur looking to develop a business involving data journalism should find this music to their ears – mentoring, software and support on offer. Simply add your details to the form before March 31 [Disclosure: I am involved in delivering some of the training support].
5. Open data cities
A typically barnstorming finale from Greg Hadfield inspired the audience into thinking about data and the role of local journalists in not just acquiring data for stories but being the facilitators for city-level conversations. A whole new way of interacting with the citizens formally known as readers.
— John Thompson (@johncthompson) February 23, 2012
It was not just a great talk, it was a rallying cry to those of us who value data journalism to think about how we can collaborate to make such things happen. Anyone?
The Justice Select Committee will hold its first evidence session in the post-legislative scrutiny of FOIA inquiry on Tuesday 21 February.
Along with a great many other journalists, I’ve put forward some thoughts including why the idea of widening charges for FOI requests would be an unpalatable solution to the problem of cutting the costs of administering the system.
While there’s no doubt that some FOI requests are time-consuming and therefore costly to supply, applying more fees to the process as a matter of course would, in my view, disproportionately impact on freelancers and independent publishers eg. community websites and hyperlocals.
Without the might of a news organisation behind them, even a tiny fee could be enough to deter a hard-pressed community website editor
and result in important local issues being unreported – especially in areas already suffering from lack of accountability through regional news cuts/closures.
Financial Times editor Lionel Barber warns that a cost limit could also result in having no information released at all if charges were applied to redacting of sensitive information:
“At present, cost limits only apply to the expense of locating and extracting information, but not redaction or other costs. These expenses must not be rolled within the cost ceilings. Allowing officials to count such costs towards the limit would encourage them to consider exemptions or redact heavily in order to waste time, and thereby hit the cost limit without releasing any information.”
If the system needs to be less costly, let’s look at other ways to achieve that. For example, greater transparency in what information has previously been released.
If there was proper transparency it would surely save time and therefore money as well as making the whole system more manageable and useful to the public.
As of January, there were 100,000 such requests in the public archive . If this, or something similar, became standard practice would the overall number of requests (and therefore costs) would be reduced without any reduction in the amount of information being made public?
* There’s also a wealth of journalists’ submissions on this at journalism.co.uk which include reports of lack of assistance from authorities, delaying tactics and extending the scope of the act.