From “mojo” to data viz: Five takeaways from the International Symposium of Online Journalism

Mobile journalists, or "mojos," in training. (Credit: Allissa Richardson/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Mobile journalists, or “mojos,” in training. (Credit: Allissa Richardson/Flickr/Creative Commons License

On April 19 to 20, more than 300 journalists from around the world descended on Austin for a sold-out conference on online journalism. The International Symposium of Online Journalism, hosted by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, featured a host of new media gurus discussing everything from “mojos” to data visualization. A selection of takeaways: [Read more…]

Data journalism jobs on the rise

As the Columbia Journalism Review reports, it behooves journalists to become literate in data coding, because that’s where jobs are opening up. It’s still a very small set of people who can combine the speed, ethics, understanding and fairness required of a journalist with the coding skills of a developer, says John Keefe, editor of data news at WNYC.

“[A]nybody who put any effort into being good at that and having those qualities is going to have a job probably before they can graduate,” Keefe told CJR.

Apparently, news sources as small as the Lansing State Journal and Vermont Public Radio are making space for data and design teams on their staffs. Publications can utilize coding-literate teams to produce graphics and surveys of demographics — census maps, for instance, in the case of WNYC’s coverage of Hurricane Irene, which brought them a record-setting amount of traffic.

Free tutorials like ones on Flowing Data and .net magazine teach journalists basic data coding skills that can help them become more employable, as outlets learn that the web offers them even more shots at being inventive and innovative and therefore more interesting to viewers.

Journalism’s problem of scale demands a rethinking of the news product

The newsroom at The Daily Telegraph

The newsroom at The Daily Telegraph. | Credit: victoriapeckham/Flickr

I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to untangle the mass of conflicting visions about the future of the news industry. But recently I heard a phrase of unusual clarity: “Traditional journalism, as a process, does not scale.”

The person who spoke this line was Matt Berger, the director of digital media at Marketplace. What he meant was there is no business model that will support an organization with 100 reporters writing 100 stories (or, as we used to refer to the newsroom, 100 monkeys at 100 typewriters). [Read more…]