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December 10 2010

09:51

Hacks & Hackers RBI: Snow mashes, truckstops and moving home

Sarah Booker (@Sarah_Booker on Twitter), digital content and social media editor for the Worthing Herald series, has kindly  provided us with this guest blog from the recent  Scraperwiki B2B Hacks and Hackers Hack day at RBI. Pictures courtesy of RBI’s Adam Tinworth.

Dealing with data is not new to me. Throughout my career I have dealt with plenty of stats, tables and survey results.

I have always asked myself, what’s the real story? Is this statistically significant? What are the numbers rather than the percentages?
Paying attention in maths O level classes paid off because I know the difference between mean and mode, but there had to be more.

My goal was greater understanding so I decided to go along to the Scraperwiki day at Reed Business Information. I wanted to find out ways to get at information, learn how to scrape and create beautiful things from the data discovered.

It didn’t take long to realise I wanted to run before I could walk. Ideas are great, but when you’re starting out it’s difficult to deal with something when it turns out the information is full of holes.

My data sets were unstructured, my comma separated values (CSV) had gaps and it was almost impossible to parse it within the timeframe. My projects were abandoned after a couple of hours work, but as well as learning new terms I was able to see how Scraperwiki worked, even though I can’t work it myself, yet.

What helped me understand the structure, if not the language, was spending time with Scraperwiki co-founder Julian Todd. Using existing scraped data, he showed me how to make minor adjustments and transform maps.

Being shown the code structure by someone who understands it helped to build up my confidence to learn more in the future.

Our group eventually came up with an interesting idea to mash up the #uksnow Twitter feed with pre-scraped restaurant data, calling it a snow hole.  It has the potential to be something but didn’t end up being an award-winning product by the day’s end.

Other groups produced extremely polished work. Where the Truck Stops was particularly impressive for combining information about crimes at truckstops with locations to find the most secure.

They won best scrape for achieving things my group had dreamed of. The top project, Is It Worth It? had astonishingly brilliant interactive graphics polishing an interesting idea.

Demand for workers and the cost of living in an area were matched with job aspirations to establish if it was worth moving. There has to be a future in projects like this.

It was a great experience and I went away with a greater understanding of structuring data gathering before it can be processed into something visual and a yearning to learn more.

Read more here:


October 19 2010

09:38

Scraperwiki/RBI launch first in-house Hacks & Hackers event – for B2Bs

Tickets are now available for a Scraperwiki hack day at Reed Business Information (RBI) on Monday 29th November in Quadrant House, Surrey, from 8am (registration) – 8.30pm.

B2B journalists, developers and designers are invited to attend the one-day ‘Hacks and Hackers’ event hosted and sponsored by RBI, B2B publisher of titles including FlightGlobal, Farmers Weekly and New Scientist.

The idea is that business journalists and bloggers (‘Hacks’) pair up with computer programmers and designers (‘Hackers’) to produce innovative data projects in the space of one day. Food and drink will be provided throughout the event. Prizes for the best projects will be awarded in the evening.

Any journalist from a B2B background, or developer/designer with an interest in business journalism is welcome to attend. We’re especially keen to welcome people who are interested in producing data visualisations.

“Data journalism is an important area of development for our editorial teams in RBI,” said Karl Schneider, RBI editorial development director:

“It’s a hot topic for all journalists, but it’s particularly relevant in the B2B sector. B2B journalism is focused on delivering information that it’s audience can act on, supporting important business decisions.

“Often a well-thought-out visualisation of data can be the most effective way of delivering critical information and helping users to understand key trends.

“We’re already having some successes with this kind of journalism, and we think we can do a lot more. So building up the skills of our editorial teams in this area is very important.”

The event is the first in-house hack day that Scraperwiki has organised as part of its UK and Ireland Hacks & Hackers tour.

5o places are available in total: half for RBI staff; half for external attendees. People wishing to attend should select the relevant ticket at this link.

Past hacks and hackers days have run in London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester. For a flavour of the projects please see this blog post.

If you have any questions please contact Aine McGuire via Aine [at]scraperwiki.com.

March 24 2010

15:07

RBI sells off furniture titles in US

Reed Business Information (RBI) has sold its Furniture Today group of titles to Sandow Media, part of private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

No financial terms have been disclosed for the deal, which includes Furniture Today, Casual Living and Interior Design magazine, according to a media release from Sandow.

The sale is the latest in a series of deals as part of the piecemeal divestment of a number of RBI’s B2B and trade titles, after the company’s attempt to sell the whole of its magazine publishing arm failed in December 2008.

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March 12 2010

16:34

January 24 2010

13:17

December 08 2009

09:30

FollowJourn: @adders/RBI head of blogging

#FollowJourn: Adam Tinworth

Who? Head of blogs for Reed Business Information.

What? A blogger from the early days, Tinworth monitors the media industry and its digital developments via social media.

Where? Follow him via his blog, or Twitter account.

Contact? Via Twitter: @adders.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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November 12 2009

22:10
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