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April 21 2012


Insights into data journalism in Argentina

Angelica Peralta Ramos, multimedia development manager, La Nación in Argentina, gave an insight into the challenges of doing data journalism.

In her ISOJ talk, she explained how La Nacion started doing data visualisations with few resources and in a less than friendly government environment.

Peralta pointed out that Argentina ranks 100 out of 180 in corruption index. The country does not have a freedom of information law and it not part of the open government initiative.

But there is hope said Peralta. La Nacion wanted to do data journalism but didn’t have any programmers so they adopted tools for non programmers such as Tableau Public and Excel.

One of its initiatives involved gathering data on inflation to try to reveal more accurate inflation levels.

The newspaper has been taking public data and seeking to derive meaning from masses of figures.

For example, La Nacion took 400 PDFs with tables of 235,000 rows that recorded subsidies to bus companies to figure out who was getting what.

It is using software to keep track of updates to the PDFs to show how subsidies to the companies are on the rise.

Peralta’s short presentation showed how some media organisations are exploring data journalism in circumstances which are very different to the US or UK.

La Nacion have a data blog and will be posting links to the examples mentioned by Peralta.

January 19 2010


IBM funds my research into visualisation in journalism

IBM Global Services
Image via Wikipedia

I am very pleased to say that I have received a $10,000 award from IBM to support research into visualisation in journalism.

Big thank you to the research team at IBM Canada for the grant.  We’ve been talking about doing some research into best practices in journalism for the use of IBM’s ManyEyes.

Here’s the announcement posted to the UBC Graduate School of Journalism website:

UBC journalism professor Alfred Hermida has been awarded $10,000 from IBM to support his research into the application of visualization in journalism.

The 2010 IBM Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) Faculty Award is designed to support Prof Hermida’s research in the area of business intelligence for journalism. IBM said the award was in recognition of the quality of his research and its importance to the industry.

Prof Hermida is researching the application of visual analytics to develop of new digital story-telling techniques that take advantage of the ability to manipulate and represent complex datasets in visual and compelling ways.

Visual analytics is an emerging area of research that applies the science of analytical reasoning supported by highly interactive visual interfaces.

It is increasingly being adopted in journalism to communicate information clearly and effectively through the use of computer-generated images, gaining insight and knowledge from data, and its inherent patterns and relationships.

The UBC journalism school is developing a Visualization Lab for Civic and Investigative Journalism to research and develop innovative approaches to data manipulation, integration and querying for the purpose of understanding complex public policy issues using investigative journalism and visual analytics.

The aim of the visualization project is to improve access to essential data on public policy issues benefits all Canadians. Reducing barriers to information access is valuable because the democratization of data plays a meaningful role in fostering civic engagement.  It is a response to the growing need for credible information on key quality of life issues brought directly to Canadians in a visual form that is both easily accessed and understood.

The IBM Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS), established in 1990 at the IBM Toronto Software Laboratory, brings together IBM researchers and technical leaders with academic and government research organizations from around the world.

The IBM CAS awards recognize individuals who best epitomize the mission of CAS to facilitate the exchange of academic research knowledge and real world industry.

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