Holiday link roundup

I’m enjoying the torpid aftermath of Christmas, having frozen an improbable quantity of turkey broth. Here is a link roundup:

Simon Rogers posted a link to a TED talk he gave in Paris called ‘Is data journalism the new punk?’

Data visualisation experts will always say: allow the data to choose the visualisation, that it’s crucial for the visualisation to fit the numbers – and not the other way around. That question equally applies itself to whether something needs a visualisation in the first place.
Of course, for some people, this will never be journalism. But then, who cares? While they’re worrying about the definitions, the rest of us can just get on with it.
Punk eventually turned into new wave, new wave into everyday pop and bands that just aren’t as exciting. But what it did do is change the climate and the daily weather. Data journalism is doing that too.

The New York Times posted a roundup of really beautiful interactive graphics they published in 2012. This is a must-see.

At Atlantic Cities, Henry Grabar rounds up the year’s outstanding maps. #10, which looks at growth in U.S. economic inequality at the census tract level, could certainly be done for Canada as well, and, I suspect, with similar results.

I’ve only started to seriously look at a report from the Columbia j-school called Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present.

It’s worth quoting at length:

The process of journalism is so being radically remade by the forces of technology and economics that there is no longer anything that might be described as ‘an industry’ for the individual journalist to enter.

There is no standardized career path, set of tools and templates for production, or category of employers that are stable and predictable. A job at the Washington Post used to carry with it a certain set of career assumptions, in the same way that a job at General Motors might. An entry-level job on a copy desk or as a junior beat reporter could be plotted in a trajectory that mirrored the product itself. What a journalist did in the industrial age was defined by the product: a headline writer, a reporter, a desk editor, a columnist, an editor. As deadlines melt, and we are in an age where the story as the ‘atomic value of news’ is in question, what journalists do all day is more defined by the requirements of the unfolding events and the audiences consuming them.

In both car manufacturing and legacy news organizations, the available jobs are markedly fewer and often different. While sharing many of the same characteristics of disrupted industries like car manufacturing, news journalism has undergone a much more profound shift in its constitution. General Motors still produces cars, and for the moment they still have four wheels, an engine and a chassis. But what journalism can be and what the output of a working journalist might look like is far more fluid, by the very nature of information and distribution technologies.

As we see a migration from journalism as an activity that required industrial machinery and resulted in a fixed product to one where individual freedom and means increases and responds to user needs, how will individual journalists influence the process of their work?

… The recycling of press releases, the production of more with less without a fundamental change to process are, we would agree, the enemy of good journalism. We would, however, contend that this is unlikely to be the dominant model for journalism in the future, as the economics of paying journalists to produce low-value information will not hold. If there is a role and business model for hastily assembled duplicate material, then this is likely to be most successfully pursued by companies such as Demand Media or Journatic that employ algorithms and cheap, outsourced labor.

Individual journalists who create high-quality journalism, regardless of how it is supported, will exercise more autonomy and creative control over their work. Larger and more diverse audiences will be available to them at low or no cost.

(Original here).

Steve Buttry’s thoughtful reflections are also worth a look (he’s published enough blog posts about it to have a separate category).

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