Category: Opinion

“Whoah, wait a minute, every reporter needs to be a data reporter”: Conversations with two generations of data journalists at the Los Angeles Times

By Roselyn Du

Over the entrance to the Los Angeles Times headquarters hangs a banner with the newspaper’s promise to the world: REAL JOURNALISM, REAL IMPACT. When I visited in April 2018, the paper was still quietly situated in its historic downtown Los Angeles headquarters, right next to the City Hall and the Grand Park. Three months later, the paper moved out of its historic downtown building to a facility near Los Angeles International Airport, bringing itself closer to the rest of the nation in the latest episode in a series of ownership changes that have been going on for decades. I went there in search of a pair of data journalists, Doug Smith and Ben Welsh, who relayed to me a remarkable story of the evolution of data journalism in recent decades.

Continue reading ““Whoah, wait a minute, every reporter needs to be a data reporter”: Conversations with two generations of data journalists at the Los Angeles Times”

Aaron Mendelson: Would numbers work with radio?

Producer/Editor: Roselyn Du

Project Assistant: Zoe Hu

(Aaron Mendelson at his KPCC desk in Pasadena, California. He was interviewed by Roselyn Du of Hong Kong Baptist University in February 2019 for his data journalism works.)

Aaron Mendelson can usually be found working on one radio broadcast or another in his office at Pasadena, California. Where most journalists work with verbal content, Mendelson also concerns himself with data analysis. He is thankful to his master’s degree from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He said the data skills that he is now using at work for Southern California Public Radio’s data journalism and interactive projects are mostly learnt from there. Continue reading “Aaron Mendelson: Would numbers work with radio?”

Matt Carroll: Numbers Man in the Spotlight

Producer/Editor: Roselyn Du
Project Assistants: Zoe Hu/Bobo Wei

(Matt Carroll interviewed by Roselyn Du and her students at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2018)

Matt Carroll was in Hong Kong in October 2018. He was invited to be a keynote speaker for the week-long Pulitzer Prize Winners Workshop (PPWW) held at Hong Kong Baptist University. The rooms where he spoke were always more than full, with some people having to stand at the aisles or sit on the floor.

Movie effects? Perhaps. But Matt Carroll himself is really a personable, charismatic, and charming character. Continue reading “Matt Carroll: Numbers Man in the Spotlight”

黄志敏与数可视:数据新闻的过去、现在和未来

出品/采访:Roselyn Du

拟稿/整理:Zoe Hu

资料协助:Jiayuan Wen & Miao Xu

(黄志敏是前财新传媒首席技术官(CTO)、财新数据可视化实验室创始人,曾在数据新闻领域获得多项国际和国内大奖,包括连续三年四次获“亚洲新闻奖”、获得全球最佳数据新闻网站提名等,被称为“中国数据新闻第一人”。)

(黄志敏在GEN Summit 2018 年会现场;左为香港浸会大学Roselyn Du)

2011年,可以说是中国数据新闻的“元年”。

这一年,黄志敏加入财新,之后于2013年开始从事数据新闻相关工作。作为目前国内数据新闻媒体的领头羊,财新“数字说”(由“财新数据可视化实验室”出品)从2011年至今,经历了从无到有的重大变换。期间,财新的数项报道在国际和国内获得SOPA,SND等多个奖项,不仅树立了数据新闻在国内新闻领域的地位,也让国内在短短数年间意识到数据新闻在行业中的发展潜力。

2016年,是黄志敏在财新的第五年,离“财新数据可视化实验室”的创立也有三年的时间。这一年,他离开财新,创办了中国“数可视”。 Continue reading “黄志敏与数可视:数据新闻的过去、现在和未来”

Six-Hour with Geeks: A Glance into Hong Kong Open Source Movement

Loads of imagination about programming has been running helter-skelter in my mind before I step into the spacious and well-polished Spectrum studio on the 11th floor of an office building at Sheung Wan in this bright Saturday morning. As someone who has been concentrating only on courses about liberal arts since senior school, I always consider coding as something far away from my daily life.

But today, Chico Xu, Ivy Wang and I, as student reporters, are going to take a glance into this sophisticated business which we once thought was irrelevant to the lives of us and the lives of many, but which actually is, and to a large extent.

The event we are attending is called the Global Pandas Documentation Sprint, a worldwide event held simultaneously in more than 300 countries on March 10, 2018, aiming at improving this Python library’s documentation with clearer explanations and better examples, and trying to leave, at the end of the day, with the library enhanced “in a perfect state,” as put by its official website.

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The Global Pandas Documentation Sprint was held simultaneously in more than 300 countries around the world.

Continue reading “Six-Hour with Geeks: A Glance into Hong Kong Open Source Movement”

Data News of the Week: Hong Kong Legislative By-Election 2018

The hope for pro-democracy camp to regain its veto power in the legislature vanished as Edward Yiu Chung Yim failed to beat his rival Vincent Cheng Wing-shun in last week’s by-election.

Legislative By-election 2018 was held on 11 March for four vacant seats in the council, following after the oath-taking saga which disqualified six councilors. New legislators were elected from three regions – New Territories East, Kowloon West, and Hong Kong Island, as well as Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency.

Election is all about numbers – voter turnout rate, numbers of votes, and percentage of voters supporting candidate A or B, making it a golden opportunity for data visualization. In this article, we select three local news media, which are Initium, SCMP, and HK01, to discuss their different coverages on the by-election.

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Key Takes from Jessica Lo’s Sharing on ODD-HK 2018 about Government Data Portal

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. In the year of 2018, more than 400 cities simultaneously organise hackathons on Mar 3. According to one Hong Kong organiser, Bastien Douglas, most local organisers of ODD are government affiliates. In Hong Kong, communities like OSHK and ODHK lead the organisation every year. One highlight for ODD-HK-18 is the talk from Jessica Lo, the system manager from OGCIO responsible for the open data portal: data.gov.hk

Continue reading “Key Takes from Jessica Lo’s Sharing on ODD-HK 2018 about Government Data Portal”

Lightning News from Public Data Sets

It is time to break-down the broad concept of “data journalism”. When talking about the combination of data and news, we usually refer to two processes, sometimes conducted in an integral manner. One process is to discover news points from datasets. The datasets can provide a lead for further investigation. The final product does not necessarily reflect the usage of data. It may look the same as normal news products mainly composed of interviews and photos. This is called “data mining” in the science domain. Another process is to present news points using data. There come to all kinds of charts and interactive/ immersive presentations. This is called “data visualisation” in the science domain.

Let’s focus on the “data mining” part in this article. That is to discover news from datasets, or more precisely discover a news lead from datasets. The further development of the entire news story may take much more efforts with a combination of traditional and modern methods. For easier discussion, we treat “news” in the general form: something the audience does not know before reading, a.k.a, something that “appears new”. It could be the status update of a current affair, or it could be the “new knowledge” to the readers (probably be “common knowledge” to experts which we don’t want to waste time debating).

As advocated by the “Road to Jan”: the most profound theory takes the simplest form. As a first step, we try not using programming, or even sophisticated spreadsheet skills. One can readily find some “news” with a bit “nose for news” and be computer literate is good enough. In this article, we will demo a few news points mined by our undergraduate students from Hong Kong government data portal: https://data.gov.hk . It took around 20 minutes in the second class of a data journalism course. We start with a public dataset from the portal, check out the data tables and eyeball if there is anything interesting. The process is so quick that we would like to give it a brand name: Lightning News. One can sharpen his/her news sense and data sense by doing this as daily exercise.

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[Repost] Reflections on the talk by Prof Ikhlaq Sidhu on Artificial Intelligence

dataXhkbu_2018masterclass_1

Prof Ikhlaq Sidhu on the DataXHKBU workshop on 26 Jan (by Xinzhi Zhang)

Note: This post was originally contributed as an entry to the Communicar Journal Blog on 28 Jan 2018. The author would like to repost it to the D&N Society]

Reflections on the talk by Prof Ikhlaq Sidhu on Artificial Intelligence

“Will AI help the film directors to make better movies? – Yes! But will AI replace the film directors and become directors? – No!” – Prof Ikhlaq Sidhu.

Continue reading “[Repost] Reflections on the talk by Prof Ikhlaq Sidhu on Artificial Intelligence”

Tech in IJ: An observation and rethink after GIJC17

The sharing Pili Hu gave about the experience, observations and thoughts taken away from the trip to Global Investigative Journalism Conference 2017. Slides are followed. Keep reading for an outline of topics discussed in this talk.

Continue reading “Tech in IJ: An observation and rethink after GIJC17”