Silk for Journalism: Now Officially Open for Business

TLDR: Silk for Journalism, a dedicated program to help news and media organizations use Silk for data publishing and visualizations, is now out of beta and official. Hurray! And we’re trending on ProductHunt!

Longer Story: We love journalists. You produce content. You publish data. Increasingly you need to visualize your data with maps, charts and graphs. You need to do this quickly and easily, often without any coding skills whatsoever. We get it.

The Silk data publishing platform has been built from the ground up to make it simple to upload, publish, visualize, analyze and share data. (See this video to understand why).

For the past six months we have been working directly with journalism teams from major publications to better understand how Silk might fit into their news cycles. From this work we designed Silk for Journalism as a program to allow publications and journalists to quickly get a data journalism game up and running using Silk.

Silk for Journalism is composed of the following parts.

  • Free professional training and tutorials for journalists working on Silk. Silk’s data journalism team will provide several hours of training free of charge to any news org that wants to learn about Silk. The goal of this training is to teach anyone to use Silk for data visualizations and data-driven reporting.
  • On deadline consulting to help journalism teams using Silk for data visualizations (maps, charts, galleries) On a deadline? We will gladly help any journalist with troubleshooting and advice on Silks as they work to publish any story that uses Silk visualizations.
  • Silk for Journalism weekly data visualization and data analysis newsletter We are now publishing a special weekly newsletter full of newly published and visualized data on topics that are either in the news or evergreen nuggets. Our team of in-house data journalists is constantly publishing well-researched data sets and visualizations on a wide variety of topics. You are free to use any visualizations the Silk team builds in your own posts and articles. Similarly, you are free to use any visualizations you build yourself from these data sets.

Silk’s power for data journalism starts with the ability to quickly convert spreadsheets into interactive online databases. Silk also has a built-in visualization engine that allows any journalists to quickly construct maps and charts in order to analyze their data fast. They can then publish those same visualizations as a mobile-ready embed integrated into their data stories.

We will be adding more components in the near future as we continue to build out new features on the Silk data publishing platform. And we are spreading the word! Silk data journalist Alice Corona presented at the NODA15 data journalism conference. I just did a Webinar with NewsU of Poynter.org on how to use Silk to build mobile-ready visualizations. We will be presenting two sessions at the NICAR conference in Atlanta in March. That’s just the start. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to meet many of our journalism users in person in the upcoming year.

Here’s a quick FAQ for Silk for Journalism:

Q: I’m a journalist. Why would I use Silk?

A: Silk is a super easy way to publish data and create visualizations, charts, maps and galleries. Silk is also free for news orgs.

Q: How would I use Silk to make my articles more interactive and sticky?

A: Every visualization created on Silk — table, chart, map, image gallery — has an embed code that allows you to easily embed it on most publishing platforms and CMS tools. Copy, paste and you have an interactive visualization. Your readers can filter the data, click on the data points, scroll up and down in gallery windows, all within a nice framework that sits cleanly on the story page or blog post.

Q: Where can I see some Silk visualizations live on other sites?

A: You can see them on CNN, The Atlantic, Mashable, Business Insider, and numerous other publications

Q: How many people can collaborate on a Silk? A: As many as you want. You can invite them via email and after they sign up for Silk they will be added to your team.

Q: Can I keep my Silk’s private until I am ready to publish them? A: Yes. In the “Settings” tab on your Silk Dashboard, select “Private” and then your Silk will only be accessible to invited members.

Q: How do I get started? A: Sign up with your email and a password you create. Upload a well-structured spreadsheet. Then start building visualizations and querying the data. Feel free to ask us for help, too.

Follow our Silk for Journalism Program and the tools we build for journalists @silkjournalism. If you want to chat directly or to schedule hands-on training, email us.

What do you think about Silk? We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.


Originally published at blog.silk.co.

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