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May 22 2013

17:54

Who’s reusing the news?

Derek Willis, interactive news developer for The New York Times, wrote a blog post about a different way to use analytics. Willis says he’s interested in tracking and mapping who is citing and quoting the work of major news outlets (like The New York Times).

The idea behind linkypedia is that links on Wikipedia aren’t just references, they help describe how digital collections are used on the Web, and encourage the spread of knowledge: “if organizations can see how their web content is being used in Wikipedia, they will be encouraged and emboldened to do more.” When I first saw it, I immediately thought about how New York Times content was being cited on Wikipedia. Because it’s an open source project, I was able to find out, and it turned out (at least back then) that many Civil War-era stories that had been digitized were linked to from the site. I had no idea, and wondered how many of my colleagues knew. Then I wondered what else we didn’t know about how our content is being used outside the friendly confines of nytimes.com.

That’s the thread that leads from Linkypedia to TweetRewrite, my “analytics” hack that takes a nytimes.com URL and feeds tweets that aren’t simply automatic retweets; it tries to filter out posts that contain the exact headline of the story to find what people say about it. It’s a pretty simple Ruby app that uses Sinatra, the Twitter and Bitly gems and a library I wrote to pull details about a story from the Times Newswire API.

April 24 2012

14:40

News algorithms do exist – and that’s good

Matt Waite says it's possible to do more with less in newsrooms -- and one solution is robots. But far from stealing jobs, bots and the "news algorithms" that power them could change how journalists do what they do for the better. Read More »

May 06 2010

08:48

May 05 2010

22:37

NYT Data Journalist Walks Through ‘Toxic Waters’


The New York Times investigation into national water quality and pollution regulation required a tremendous effort in reporting and data analysis. The project, titled “Toxic Waters,” was enhanced by the painstaking efforts of many in the newsroom, including journalist-developer Derek Willis, a member of NYT’s Interactive News Technology team.

He described how the Times produced its award-winning series to members of the Online News Association and Hacks & Hackers in Washington yesterday. Above is the recording of his presentation.

(Note: I’m an active member of both organizations.)

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