Global open data, scholarships, and mapping a civil war

Notes and links from the data journalism beat

There’s always something new on the radar when it comes to data journalism, and that makes it one of the most exciting beats to pay attention to. Here are some links from around the Web to keep you up to speed on the most innovative ways that journalists around the world are using data to tell stories.


  • How the Global Open Data Movement is Transforming Journalism (Wired)
    Tools and resources offered by Ushahidi and OpenStreetMap, among others, have paved the way for journalists to create compelling data-driven visualizations. There is a common motivation behind all of this fantastic collaboration in data visualization. Breaking news is now often the domain of social media, and advertising dollars are divided among the millions of professional and non-professional content providers who want a piece of the pie.
  • Al Jazeera and the European Journalism Centre Translate The Data Journalism Handbook** into Arabic (Data Driven Journalism)
    Two Al Jazeera translators work on this project: Nada Ahmed, a translation intern, and Ahmed M. Elgoni, senior translator and the project’s coordinator. Explaining Al Jazeera’s motive for joining the project, Elgoni noted that “For Al Jazeera, translating The Data Journalism Handbook into Arabic will introduce new ideas and data literacy to better journalism across the world”.

Violence and Crime

  • Syria’s civil war mapped using new global events database (Guardian)
    The New Scientist has mapped violence in Syria, illustrating how the conflict has evolved in scale and severity since hostilities began in early 2011. Peter Aldhous used the mapping exercise to gauge the potential of the new Global Data on Events, Location and Tone (GDELT) database as a source of information for journalistic storytelling.


  • Judge Ends 33-Year Injunction That Shielded Medicare Data on Doctors (WSJ)
    Whether or not the AMA appeals, the Journal and other news organizations will have to file Freedom of Information Act requests to gain access to the data. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicare, could still decide to deny requests on a case-by-case basis.


  • The CIA Invests in Narrative Science and Its Automated Writers  (
    The Chicago-based startup, which uses computers to turn structured data sets into prose, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture firm that invests on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency. The money comes along with a deal to put Narrative Science’s automated writers to work for the CIA and “the broader intelligence community.”
  • Associated Press, Google, ONA Announce Six $20,000 Scholarships to Digital Journalism Standouts (Online News Association)
    The Associated Press and Google announced the second recipients of a national scholarship program targeted at college students whose innovative projects exemplify the new journalist in the digital media age. The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, administers the program.
  • The European Journalism Centre has announced the winners of its 2013 Innovation in Development Reporting grant program (
    The projects, selected from more than 500 applications, include: an interactive application to be published by Der Spiegel about the day-to-day lives of Somali refugees in an Ethiopian refugee camp; a crowdsourced and data-driven investigation into land grabbing in Africa to feature in media outlets from a number of different countries; an interactive multimedia investigation to map European cash flows into and out of Kenya for Spain’s El Mundo; a series of multimedia reports into “reducing the digital divide” in India, Uruguay and Egypt for Spain’s ABC and Italy’s The Post Internazionale; and a multi-organisation project to create “interactive graphic visualisations” of development issues around the world.

**Full disclosure: ORM published the Data Journalism Handbook.

O’Reilly Strata Conference — Strata brings together the leading minds in data science and big data — decision makers and practitioners driving the future of their businesses and technologies. Get the skills, tools, and strategies you need to make data work.Strata Rx Health Data Conference: September 25-27 | Boston, MA
Strata + Hadoop World: October 28-30 | New York, NY
Strata in London: November 15-17 | London, England

Get the O’Reilly Data Newsletter

Get weekly insight from industry insiders—plus exclusive content, offers, and more on the topic of data.