GUARDIAN: Tim Radford lists what he calls his 25 commandments for beginner science journalists. READ MORE>
VIRGINIA McMILLAN: People are wired to accept mathematical deception, according to a New York mathematician who’s also a journalism professor.
The tendency of academics, politicians and pundits to generate numerical falsehoods from data is cleverly explored in the new book Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception, by Charles Seife, The New York Times reports.
We are routinely bamboozled by phony data, bogus statistics and bad math, he says.
A good example is in economics. If you think elections are affected by the inflation rate and G.D.P. and the unemployment rate, you turn all of these things into a regression model, and you come up with a formula that predicts the president based on these variables. The problem is that if your initial assumptions don’t have a basis in reality, then it’s going to come up with an answer that makes it look like there’s a connection when in fact there isn’t.
Posted in Discussion, JOURNALISM, Journalism education, Journalists, LEARNING RESOURCES, RESEARCH
Tagged Charles Seife, data, economics, GDP, numeracy, proofiness, Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception, statistics, The New York Times
VIRGINIA McMILLAN: With apologies for the pun, this post is to direct you to a magnificent multi-levelled infographic packed with easy-to-grasp Christchurch earthquake data. Tweeted today by @nzherald.
VIRGINIA McMILLAN: Staff from British newspaper The Guardian have analysed their own reporting/ethical and data analysis approaches to the massive bulk of data they received on Afghanistan via WikiLeaks.
What got The Guardian started? Investigations executive editor David Leigh writes:
What actually happened was that my Guardian colleague Nick Davies, in an inspired moment, tracked down nomadic WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in Brussels, about a month ago.
In six hours of intensive talks, Davies established three things that could never have happened before the internet age.
One, that the US army had built a huge database with six years of sensitive military intelligence material in it. Two, that many thousands of US soldiers had access to this electronic archive, and some had been able to download copies.
And three, WikiLeaks now had one copy which it proposed to publish immediately online, via a series of uncensorable global servers. READ MORE HERE.
On the nerds team, hugely important in this exercise, was Simon Rogers, who reflects for journalism.co.uk on the unpacking of 90,000 rows of data.
Posted in Discussion, Ethics, Government/Politics, Investigative, JOURNALISM, Journalists, LEARNING RESOURCES, MEDIA FREEDOM, Media law, Newspapers, RESEARCH
Tagged Afghanistan, David Leigh, Julian Assange, leaks, Nick Davies, Simon Rogers, the Guardian, US Army, WikiLeaks
DER SPIEGEL: Manfred Dworschak hits the nail on the head with some wry, research-based observations about young people and Web 2.0. This is the intro to his recent feature, The Internet Generation Prefers the Real World, in the magazine’s English edition:
They may have been dubbed the “Internet generation,” but young people are more interested in their real-world friends than Facebook. New research shows that the majority of children and teenagers are not the Web-savvy digital natives of legend. In fact, many of them don’t even know how to google properly.
Hat tip: Jim MacMillan
Posted in Blogs, Discussion, Google, JOURNALISM, Journalism education, Journalists, LEARNING RESOURCES, Multimedia, NEW MEDIA, Twitter, YouTube
Tagged Der Spiegel, digital natives, Facebook, Google, internet generation, Manfred Dworschak
VIRGINIA McMILLAN: Punctuation can go viral, a fact helping to explain the resurgence of the humble colon.
A fabulous post for lovers of language can be found here, as Connor J Dillon declaims on a new usage of the colon, now “peppering” journalism as a result of our embrace of Twitter and texting.
Dillon writes that we now have the “jump colon” coming after a dependent clause but distinct from the four traditional usages. One of the examples he provides is:
“For those who just can’t get enough of Carrie Bradshaw, Candace Bushnell’s latest: The Carrie Diaries.”
The trad ones he cites are:
- The lister (“The meal requires three ingredients: milk, eggs, and flour.”)
- The talker (“He shouted at the sky: ‘I’m retired!’”)
- The natural extension (“She saw him for what he was: a prodigy.”)
- The juxtaposer (“His face was red: the guests were staring.”)
(Hat tip: Jim MacMillan)
Posted in Discussion, JOURNALISM, Journalism education, LEARNING RESOURCES, Other/Notices
Tagged colon, Connor J Dillon, editing, English language, punctuation, style, syntax, usage, writing
VIRGINIA McMILLAN: The term “portfolio journalist” seems to catch all the various jobs some multimedia freelancers/entrepreneurs are cobbling together these days to earn a living independently.
British journo Adam Westbrook writes and talks about how he works in this way here. (Warning: Book promo included.) Hat tip: Jim MacMillan – a US multimedia journalist and teacher – tweeted the link to this one.
Jim’s quirky daily catch-up of media, education, technology and current affairs can be found here.
A similarly multimedia-oriented journo and teacher in the US, Will Sullivan, runs the site Journerdism. It’s an interesting update on the collisions between journalism and technology.
Posted in Blogs, Discussion, Freelancers, JOURNALISM, Journalism education, Journalists, LEARNING RESOURCES, MEDIA INDUSTRY, Multimedia, NEW MEDIA, State of the media, Twitter, Video
Tagged Adam Westbrook, freelance journalists, independent journalists, Jim MacMillan, JOURNALISM, Journalism education, Journerdism, Multimedia, portfolio journalism, The Daily Mac, Will Sullivan
Nepalese villager. Photo: Mike Scott, Taranaki Daily News.
By Virginia McMillan
TARANAKI Daily News’ video footage was spliced into a TV3 News item last week about Kiwi and other Western dentists helping Nepalese villagers with dire tooth problems.
Turns out the provincial New Zealand daily newspaper, with a range of sponsors, had sent reporter Mike Scott to Nepal on the trail of philanthropic Taranaki dentist Julian Haszard.
I was impressed by the straight-to-camera comments Scott drew from Haszard and other medicos for the video segment of his reports. The dramatic landscape was also allowed to “speak” throughout the video. The seven-minute video story is published here, along with one of Scott’s feature articles.
Posted in JOURNALISM, LEARNING RESOURCES, Multimedia, NEW MEDIA, Newspapers, TV, Video
Tagged Julian Haszard, Mike Scott, Nepal, oral health, Taranaki Daily News, TV3 News, Video
NOTES FROM A TEACHER: There is a wealth of tools and sites out there for upgrading journalism skills and learning new ones, says Mark Hamilton, Canada.
“Some links to what I have recently come across,” writes Hamilton, a journalism teacher who blogs regularly:
• Both the Reuter’s Handbook of Journalism and the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices handbook are available to all online.
• YouTube Reporters’ Center has a number of short videos (from people such as Katie Couric and Scott Simon) dealing with different aspects of doing the journalism.
• 10 Inspirational New York Times multimedia and interactive features at 10,000 Words isn’t a how-to. Mark has smartly chosen 10 examples of how multimedia can be used to spread information.
• 100 best blogs for journalism students is at the cutely-named website Learn-gasm. It’s a solid list that students can mine to build their own collection of continuing must-reads. (Found via Multimedia Shooter, which should be on everyone’s list.)
Posted in LEARNING RESOURCES
Tagged 10 Inspirational New York Times multimedia and interactive features, 100 best blogs for journalism students, CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices handbook, JOURNALISM, Katie Couric, Mark Hamilton, Multimedia Shooter, NEW MEDIA, newswire, Notes from a teacher, Reuter’s Handbook of Journalism, Scott Simon, upgrading journalism skills, whitireia journalism school, wireblog, YouTube Reporters’ Center