Free Tableau for reporters, data journalism award winners, and handling data sets about race

I think we can all agree that “free” is usually a good thing. To that end, investigative journalists got a huge boost this week from Tableau, which has decided to provide journalists with free licenses for their desktop professional software. Also in the links, the Global Editors Network has announced this year’s data-driven journalism award winners. And Matt Waite of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune offers tips for journalists about how to avoid some of the common pitfalls that lead to the collection of bad data. Your links for the week:

  • Tableau Software to Provide Complimentary Software to Journalists (IRE)
    “At Tableau we believe that data is an important part of the civic conversation,” said Ellie Fields, Senior Director of Product Marketing. “Journalists have embraced Tableau Public as a way to tell important stories with data, and we want to support them in their work. And while Tableau Public is a fantastic product for making data open, journalists often need to keep their data private while they are developing a story. Providing free licenses to Tableau Desktop Professional will let them do that.”
  • 6 mistakes newspapers make with data journalism (INMA)
    Too much of what is claimed to be “data journalism” in today’s media is really just ego-driven “data porn” — pretty pictures created around numbers with no real reader value, according to an international “data guru” with strong journalism credentials.
  • Handling Data about Race and Ethnicity Or, How Matt Waite Got his Butt Kicked (Mozilla Open News)
    Race and ethnicity are tricky topics with loads of nuance and definitional difficulties. But they aren’t the only places these issues come up. Anytime you’re comparing data across agencies and across geographies, be on high alert for mismatches.
  • The winners of the Data Journalism Awards (DJA) announced during the GEN News Summit in Paris (Global Editors Network)
    The Data Journalism Awards are the only international awards for Data-Driven Journalism, recognising excellence in this rapidly growing field of journalism.  They were divided into 4 key categories: Data-driven investigative journalism, Data-driven applications, Storytelling with data, and Data journalism website or section, and into both big and small media.
  • Kickstarter Lessons for Journalists (ProPublica)
    Based on our experience, Kickstarter can be a great tool for creative, unique projects, but also tricky for those designed around story-driven projects. But if your newsroom has the time, resources and smart idea, it’s definitely worth an experiment.
  • Geek Alert: Why Do Data Stories? (PBS)
    Political editor Christina Bellantoni interviewed data producer Elizabeth Shell about the in-depth interactive, New Adventures for Older Workers, on the lessons learned, pitfalls, whys and hows of the project.
  • Can news outlets learn from Grindr? (Reuters)
    The advent of mobile – and specifically the mix of geo-location technology – has led to an explosion of apps that connect people together with ruthless efficiency.  A quick “selfie” and the majority of apps are ready to find you “true love” within meters of your current location.  One app that has refreshingly not shied away from this fact is Grindr – an app for gay men to find other gay men to…um…grind (and just meet new people).  It’s breathtakingly simple and I believe the news industry needs to study it to improve their broken apps.
  • The Media Companies Using Tumblr Right, According to Tumblr’s Departing Media Evangelist (AdAge)
    The problem for media companies is to figure out how they can take the attention they’ve earned for their Tumblr and turn that into something that makes their journalism financially viable. I do think there are some interesting things around native advertising. That model translates very well to Tumblr.

And, don’t miss the New York Times special section on big data, with stories about the airline industry, reclaiming your personal data, and Google Ventures.

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