Directors' blog

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Archive for the ‘data’ tag

The BBC and more on those 150 public service reporters

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Deliberately piggy-backing on the hyperlocal consultation, the BBC also used yesterday’s event to update people on its post-Charter Review progress on how the corporation might better interact with local news providers of all shapes and flavours.

The discussion picked up in many of the subjects raised at the first hyperlocal forum held in Birmingham last year and Matthew Barraclough was able to update the attendees on the draft consultation plans currently under construction.

Much has been written about the plans – eg. this and this - but generally from the viewpoint of the mainstream news groups and so this event provided an opportunity for the independent sector to feed in their comments and questions.

Sadly the one hour allocated to the update probably wasn’t sufficient as just about everyone in the room wanted more detail but Matthew said he is open to hearing from people via his Twitter @M_R_Barra or by email. The plans have to be firmed up by the end of this year and the hope is to start work early in 2017 – although that intention maybe set back until Ofcom are fully in place in the spring.

Notes taken during the Q and A are below and I’ll update this blog with more as detail and discussion update.

150 reporters scheme

Will be focussed on top tier of local authorities ie. metropolitan and maybe county councils.

Unitary bodies and not down to district/parish level.

Intention is to demonstrate more value no intention to cover courts now – reason; BBC doesn’t carry much low level court reporting at present and so wouldn’t intend to expand into that area

primarily text based but with some provision for mobile phone footage

resulting coverage would be basic and publishable but more of a foundation story than a finished product (think PA wire)

being made freely available to ‘qualifying’ local news organisations

bbc will fund it partner news orgs will employ the reporters NOT the BBC

hard deadline of news years eve for plan in place. would then depend on whether consultation was required as OFCOM coming on board

contracts to employ a named individual only, via a company. NOT a contract for an organisation who then assigns individiual reporters eg. rota

might not be entirely just the councils, could be other elements of council activity or event quagos and leps

licensing issues unclear


Giving away content for re-use
gobe to BBC research people to
managed access
online only
searchable and downloadable
identified as coming from the bbc
hoping to be tagged to where/when for useage
control access on where and when from area

Data Hub

Idea to work with partners in industry or maybe academics
Create central data hub
where and how big it is still tbd
Waiting for some of the consultation over BBC new data consultation

Written by sarahhartley

July 27th, 2016 at 7:20 am

Data journalism academy sets to work

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Journalist Raymond Joseph addresses some of the first fellows at the data journalism academy

The doors opened, and the first Fellows came along. The data journalism academy at Code 4 South Africa is now up and running.

Day one saw participants explore some of the data tools available including the impressive Wazimap which takes census data to a new level and provides journalists with embeddable graphics as well as new insights into geographies and demographics.

Likewise, People’s Assembly which allows for in-depth connections to data about elected representatives.

The activity at the Academy is now also being detailed via social media with a dedicated Twitter stream
@Code4SAJourn and on the Facebook page:

* This is a School of Data initiative kindly sponsored by Omidyar Network, Code for Africa, Knight Foundation and the Indigo Trust.

Written by sarahhartley

February 2nd, 2016 at 7:45 am

Launching a data journalism newsroom in South Africa

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Yes it’s an empty room with an odd assortment of chairs. But not for long. This unassuming space is about to be transformed into a fully functioning newsroom.

Journalists from multiple news organisations will soon be at work here, digging, delving and mining for some of the most important stories to come out of South Africa.

The location is Code 4 South Africa‘s base in Cape Town where we’re working with the soon-to-launch Data Journalism Academy – Africa’s first bricks and mortar school.

There’s so much going on behind the scenes here it’s dizzying – building a new online presence, compiling training materials, bringing in tutors and participants from around the globe, setting up social media channels and more.

I’ll blog here some more over the next couple of weeks as everything gets up and running.

* This is a School of Data initiative kindly sponsored by Omidyar Network, Code for Africa, Knight Foundation and the Indigo Trust.


Written by sarahhartley

January 27th, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Crunching marriage data on Valentine’s morning

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It is legal, under special circumstances, for a 12 year old to get married in South Africa. That’s just one of the startling facts revealed through the open data work carried out by Code4SouthAfrica which you can interact with above.

As Adi Eyal explains:

The most disturbing part of the diagram is on the far left. Girls younger than 16 are getting married. Two 12 year-olds were married off, one to a 20 year old man, another to a 67 year-old.

The data set looked at 161,000 civil marriages in 2012. Trends such as popular months for marrying (December) and the most common age to get hitched are all there but it’s in the outliers that the biggest stories lie.

On Valentine’s day, who could fail to be touched by the story of a 92 and 94 year old taking the plunge!

Having been introduced to this data (we are currently working out of Code4SA’s Cape Town base) prompted me to have a look at the same situation in the UK.

But to no avail. The Office for National Statistics offers a listing for ‘age at marriage‘ in its menu but – not one piece of data is available. A couple of mentions in aged articles and summaries and that’s your lot…….

Not so open with our national statistics.

Written by sarahhartley

February 14th, 2015 at 7:44 am

Data and culture metrics for arts organisations

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Capturing ideas

Gathering a group of arts organisations together to talk about ‘measuring cultural value‘ was never going to be an easy task. As researcher Franzi Florack pointed out in her opening remarks to the assembled culture thought-leaders in Manchester this week, every word in that phrase can be contested.

In the first of the two workshops looking at the sort of measures and metrics which could be useful when concerning cultural value (however that’s eventually defined!) participants were faced with a series of questions seeking to assess areas including, but by no means limited to, economic, cultural and social impact.

Please note, this is a cross post from the official research blog which contains further updates from the project and can be seen here but I felt the points deserved a wider airing as the issues raised are likely to cross into many other sectors of work and it would be interesting to hear from others who may be wrestling with similar complexities.

This blog post contains some notes the day from myself and Julian as we start to focus on the issues. We were both invited to attend to help formulate the provocations for the next workshop which looks more at data aspects and would appreciate any input you might have to the debate.

Some of the issues raised yesterday:

  • is a framework to assess cultural value even necessary/relevant/desirable?
  • when co-producing metrics, (how) could participatory events be used for the activity?
  • how can evaluation be longitudinal enough to include community?

Working in groups, participants considered their own organisation’s methods of data collection and evaluation. These included feedback surveys left in venues, interviews with visitors, random telephone cold call research interviews, social media monitoring and collation of newspaper reviews.

Small matter of reading

Some interesting points emerged including:

  • was collection and evaluation steered by financial imperatives?
  • notable that traditional marketing segmentation still seems widespread use across organisations.
  • changing role of front of house staff mentioned as venue ‘hosts’.
  • the friction between rewarding loyal engaged audiences and developing new ones through outreach to non-audiences and non-visitors.
  • discussion about the extent to which data collection was driven with funders in mind.

The two of us were asked to finish the session with a very brief introduction into the big data session which will come next.

Julian spoke about the need to identify gaps in the data currently being collected, and also referred to some of the rhetoric surrounding the ‘big data’ agenda which, in itself, can sometimes put up barriers to finding new, collaborative ways of working.

I used two case studies from the media sector to illustrate different ways in which data is being harvested, visualised and analysed. The first was this example from ReFramed.TV and the second, this opensource platform from

Before the next session on March 16, we will post some provocations into the internal critical friends forum and elsewhere. Further debate via the comments here also most welcome.

Written by sarahhartley

January 20th, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Making parliamentary data come alive #ipiwoco

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These are updating notes from the breakfast session on data.

People’s Assembly recently launched in South Africa – bit similar to in the UK.
Track proceedings, bills and committees. Lots of information to engage citizens in democratic process.

In Kenya – Mzalendo turned data on attendance of MPs into a front page story.

Lungisa platform is for reporting issues in locations via mobile eg. Broken stuff. Now looking to use the platform for people in communities to tackle water and sanitation issues.

Citizen Journalism projects going on in townships to highlight issues such as rubbish introducing rats.

Written by sarahhartley

April 14th, 2014 at 6:19 am

On the crime beat to open data with #hackthecity



Hacking underway

What could you do with crime and justice data?

A map to tell you the safer places in a city to park maybe? Or how about a way to check the work has been carried out near you by those who’ve received a court sentence to do it to see justice being done?

Utilising data available within the crime and justice field was one of the challenges facing attendees of Saturday’s Hack the City event in Sheffield.

Developers, designers and various general interested oddbods like myself were invited to share some ideas and see if maybe the room could come up with the next killer app or business idea for data.

Alongside a general city based hack, the event organised by Open Data Sheffield was also an opportunity to meet with those involved with the Open Data Institute’s Immersion programme.

The series lead on the project, Simon Whitehouse introduced participants to the scheme which is looking for people to engage in a process which will result in a data business looking at how open data projects can be constructed to achieve one of the following:

- increase community involvement with the criminal justice system
- create further evidence for what are effective interventions for rehabilitation
- address the rise in personal crime
Home Office representatives were also present and introduced the data sets already opened up around policing – – which includes more than the headline grabbing neighbourhood crime mapping data such as extra police officer details for neighbourhood teams.

The Home Office is hoping that by opening this data, developers and communities will start to engage more in conversations about policing and they’d especially like to see more activity around the Police and Crime Commissioner roles.

The hacks were well on their way at the point I left and were competing for prizes. They included building an email alerts system into this web map for stolen bicycles, a transport app for Sheffield, a ‘where not live’ crime mapping app and this library recommendation from the two youngest hackers to attend.

The full hacks, videos from the day and more information with developer links can be found at the website here.

A wiki with useful data in the crime and justice area has been set up here and the ODI’s website has the full details of all the current data challenges here.

Written by sarahhartley

September 8th, 2013 at 9:53 am

Video: Data journalism camp 2013, Istanbul

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I grabbed a quick word with some of the participants at the end of the first data journalism camp we hosted in Istanbul. Here’s how the journalists found the experience.

Written by sarahhartley

February 6th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Data Journalism Camp 2013: Ready to get started in Istanbul #djcamp2013

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djcamp2013The next two days will be taken up with DJ Camp 2013 in Istanbul. This event is part of a programme created through Uclan’s Media and Digital Enterprise programme and will see Francois Nel, Megan Knight, Patrick McGee and I working with a group of journalists in Istanbul.

It’s all about data journalism – from sourcing information, work on verification and different outcomes including mapping and other visualisations.

The work comes at an important time for the development of an open data culture for the city. Late last year, Istanbul’s links with representatives from Manchester’s digital community kicked off discussions about the challenges and benefits of opening civic data sets during a visit from Julian Tait and Adrian Slatcher.

Now, in this separate initiative, we will pick up on that conversation again and look forward to hosting a panel event with representatives from Istanbul city council as well as prominent editor and columnist with national newspaper Milliyet, Mehves Evin tomorrow evening.

During the two days of workshops and coaching, there will be a liveblog running which you can see at the Uclan Made blog here:
and I’ll hope to do more updates here and on the Flickr group for MADE Turkey here.

The hashtag for the event is #djcamp2013.

Written by sarahhartley

January 25th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Testing the new spreadsheet n0tice tool with Manchester toilets data

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Picture: Phil W Shirley

As announced in the n0tice newsletter earlier this week, there’s a new feature available in the open journalism toolkit to help data journalists – the ability to easily map data contained in a spreadsheet.

Still in beta, it provides an opportunity to play around a bit and see how it might fit into the whole suite of geo-tagging related tools being developed.

Being one of those involved in the team developing this I wanted to get straight onto trying it out so I’ve created a very simple spreadsheet of the locations and opening times of Manchester’s city centre toilets. The data comes from the Data GM store. Creating the spreadsheet took the longest time, the set up and ingestion into the noticeboard probably 10 mins at most. Quick and dirty toilets mapping as it were!

You can see the items and click on items to get a map view here, but, as n0tice is primarily a mobile experience, the worth of this type of information is more obvious when viewed via the app where users will encounter the information in a serendipitous way due to their proximity to the location. (Alternatively a feed of the info from the api could create something in a different platform or publication.)

If you fancy giving the new spreadsheet feature a go, the instructions on how to get started are here: the apps to experience the content in your location are free and can be downloaded here.

Written by sarahhartley

January 18th, 2013 at 7:29 am