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Improving the Coverage of Complex Issues with Data Journalism and Digital Methods

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Invited talk at the BBC Data Day, 12 November 2014.

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Improving the Coverage of Complex Issues with Data Journalism and Digital Methods

  1. 1. Improving the coverage of complex issues with data journalism and digital methods 12th November 2014, BBC Data Day, London Liliana Bounegru | lilianabounegru.org | @bb_liliana
  2. 2. Gray, J., Bounegru, L. & Chambers, L. (2012) The Data Journalism Handbook.! Available at: http://datajournalismhandbook.org/
  3. 3. Doing Journalism with Data (MOOC), European Journalism Centre: http://datajournalismcourse.net/
  4. 4. Rogers, R. (2013) Digital Methods.
 Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  5. 5. Digital Methods Initiative (2014) DMI Tools.! Available at: http://tools.digitalmethods.net
  6. 6. STS/ Internet researchers leading digital newsrooms new ways of covering complex issues =+
  7. 7. “An epistemological experiment”
  8. 8. STS/ Internet! researchers leading digital newsrooms new ways of covering complex issues =+
  9. 9. Two examples:! 1. climate change negotiations! 2. rise of the far right in Europe
  10. 10. Example #1:! mapping dominant topics and countries in UN climate negotiations
  11. 11. EMAPS (2014) “Climaps: A Global Issue Atlas of Climate Change Adaptation”! Available at: http://climaps.org/
  12. 12. “Adaptation turn”
  13. 13. – Leo Hickman, “Can carbon offsetting ever be truly green?”,
 The Guardian, 3rd September 2008. “In what seems like a flash, the climate-change debate has lurched from talk of mitigation to one of adaptation.”
  14. 14. The Atlantic (2014) “The UN's New Focus: Surviving, Not Stopping, Climate Change”.
 Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/04/the-uns-new-focus-surviving-not- stopping-climate-change/359929/
  15. 15. Can the shift from mitigation to adaptation be observed in the UNFCCC negotiations?
  16. 16. Venturini, T., Baya-laffite, N., Cointet, J., Gray, I., Zabban, V., & De Pryck, K. (2014) “Three Maps and Three Misunderstandings : A Digital Mapping of Climate Diplomacy.” Big Data and Society, 2014, 1(1). 
 Available at: http://medialab.sciences-po.fr/publications/misunderstandings/
  17. 17. Findings! Both adaptation and mitigation are highly visible in negotiations.
 
 Adaptation financing has been central to climate negotiations from the outset. There is a noticeable shift towards adaptation during the period we examined.
  18. 18. Which countries intervene most in UN climate negotiations and how do these interventions evolve over time?
  19. 19. Graphing the number of interventions in the negotiations of the 21 most active countries based on daily summaries from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
  20. 20. Venturini, T., Baya-laffite, N., Cointet, J., Gray, I., Zabban, V., & De Pryck, K. (2014) “Three Maps and Three Misunderstandings : A Digital Mapping of Climate Diplomacy.” Big Data and Society, 2014, 1(1). 
 Available at: http://medialab.sciences-po.fr/publications/misunderstandings/
  21. 21. Findings! Notable stability in presence and intervention of countries. Notable exceptions include Bolivia and Philippines who are becoming more prominent in recent negotiations. Most active are China (representing G77), United States and Europe. Countries tend to be more active when they host the negotiations.
  22. 22. Wired Italia (2014) “Cambiamenti del clima: 20 anni di conferenze”. March 2014. No. 60.
  23. 23. Wired Italia (2014) “Cambiamenti del clima: 20 anni di conferenze”. March 2014. No. 60.
  24. 24. Wired Italia (2014) “Cambiamenti del clima: 20 anni di conferenze”. March 2014. No. 60.
  25. 25. Wired Italia (2014) “Beautiful Information, in mostra le migliori infografiche di Wired”.
 Available at: http://www.wired.it/attualita/media/2014/03/04/beautiful-information-infografiche-wired/
  26. 26. Wired Italia (2014) “Beautiful Information, in mostra le migliori infografiche di Wired”.
 Available at: http://www.wired.it/attualita/media/2014/03/04/beautiful-information-infografiche-wired/
  27. 27. Example #2:! mapping counter-jihadist groups on social media
  28. 28. The Guardian (2012) “Far-right anti-Muslim network on rise globally as Breivik trial opens”. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/14/breivik-trial-norway-mass-murderer
  29. 29. Hope Not Hate (2012) “Counter-Jihad Report”.
 Available at: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/counter-jihad/
  30. 30. Are different Counter-Jihadist groups in Europe connected? If so how?
  31. 31. Digital Methods Initiative. “Counter-Jihadist Networks: Mapping the Connections Between Facebook Groups in Europe.”
  32. 32. Digital Methods Initiative. “Counter-Jihadist Networks: Mapping the Connections Between Facebook Groups in Europe.” (forthcoming)
  33. 33. Findings
 
 Facebook is an important medium for extremist groups. ! Three main clusters based on geographical proximity. ! European Counter-Jihadist groups are networked and transnational.
  34. 34. Who are the new leaders?
  35. 35. Findings! ! Offline leaders are active on Facebook. ! There are also new emerging online leaders. ! New technique for identifying online leaders.
  36. 36. Digital tools and methods
  37. 37. Digital Methods Initiative (2014) DMI Tools.! Available at: http://tools.digitalmethods.net
  38. 38. Sciences Po Media Lab (2014) “Tools we develop and tools we use”! Available at: http://tools.medialab.sciences-po.fr/
  39. 39. “Netvizz is a tool that extracts data from different sections of the Facebook platform (personal profile, groups, pages) for research purposes.”
  40. 40. Rieder, B. (2013). Studying Facebook via data extraction: the Netvizz application. In WebSci '13 Proceedings of the 5th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (pp. 346-355). New York: ACM.
  41. 41. Netvizz: https://tools.digitalmethods.net/netvizz/facebook/netvizz/
  42. 42. “The Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset
 (DMI-TCAT) captures tweets and allows for multiple analyses (hashtags, mentions, users, search, ...).”
  43. 43. Borra, E. & Rieder, B. (2014) “Programmed method: developing a toolset for capturing and analyzing tweets”. Aslib Journal of Information Management. Vol. 66 No. 3: 262-278.
  44. 44. TCAT: https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/ToolDmiTcat
  45. 45. TCAT: https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/ToolDmiTcat
  46. 46. “The Issue Crawler is web network location and visualisation software. It consists of crawlers, analysis engines and visualisation modules.”
  47. 47. “A software tool that locates and visualizes networks on the web”
  48. 48. Issue Crawler: https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/ToolIssueCrawler
  49. 49. “Gephi is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs.”
  50. 50. Gephi: http://gephi.org
  51. 51. How might digital tools and methods for issue mapping be used in journalism to improve coverage of complex issues?
  52. 52. • Co-occurrence analysis to identify themes ! • Network analysis to identify actors and sources ! • Hyperlink analysis to explore “politics of association” ! • Resonance analysis to identify source partisanship
  53. 53. Next steps: ! • Preliminary report for Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University (based on interviews with journalists) ! • Embedded experiments in newsrooms ! • Pilot around Paris 2015 climate negotiations (mapping debates with transcripts, IPCC reports and social media)! ! • Toolkit and handbook for journalists
  54. 54. Opportunities and challenges - some preliminary findings and reflections
  55. 55. Some different potential uses of digital methods in journalism: ! • Story discovery (news desk/projects) • Internal reference resource (news desk/projects) • Preparation for live coverage (news desk/projects) • Quick/easy tools for journalists (news desk/projects) • Presentational device (interactive/graphics) • Interactive news “toys” for exploration (interactive)
  56. 56. Some challenges to using digital methods in journalism: ! • Time, resource and budget constraints • Resistance to change in (especially bigger) newsrooms, hard to introduce new tools/methods • Social scientists often want to capture complexity, journalists often want to simplify • Tension between traditional journalistic values (recency, human interest, etc) and research values • Rendering complexity readable and accessible to broader publics - not just issue experts/researchers • Keeping interactive projects about current events up to date • Not just tool provision, but also training • Transparency of tools and interpretation of results • Some of tools are complex to install and no web version available • Speed of using tools as events unfold • Efficiency of these methods compared to others • Hard to find stories in data
  57. 57. Some opportunities for using of digital methods in journalism: ! • Interest in using tools from interactive teams • More newsrooms have been experimenting with related approaches, still at very early stage • Potential for researchers working with journalists (rather than issue experts) to help with selection, filtering, framing and narration • Introducing robust methodology around use of social media data in newsrooms • Identifying human sources for interviews. • New forms of analysis and verification of sources. • Hyperlink analysis and web data currently very rarely used in journalism • Low uptake of text-mining and scientometrics tools and methods • Input/feedback from journalists could feed into existing software development • New web versions of existing tools (e.g. Gephi) • Using social media and web as data, not just content (to look at relationships and interactions)
  58. 58. Thank You! Liliana Bounegru | lilianabounegru.org | @bb_liliana Sciences Po médialab http://www.medialab.sciences-po.fr/ ! Sciences Po médialab - Tools http://tools.medialab.sciences-po.fr/ Digital Methods Initiative https://digitalmethods.net
 
 Digital Methods Initiative - Tools https://tools.digitalmethods.net

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