Production Lab Series: What I’m going to be producing, why and how it will benefit me

I’m going to be producing a searchable database that can be embedded within news articles. But why?

Over the next serveral weeks I’m going to be producing a series of blog posts as I explore one of my MA modules, production lab. In this series on blog posts, I’ll be writing about what I have done in the past week and how my project has developed.

This is part 1.

By the 7th of April 2017, I will have produced an interactive searchable table using CodePen (think google search engine style) to handle all the complex code that I will be using.

For the purpose of this assignment, I will be using it alongside a story I’m working on about the number of FOI’s that councils have recieved, something that Matt Burgess suggested in my assignment 1 for data and multimedia journalism, this will give me the backbone of the assignment, a large set or original data that is searchable.

But why am I doing this? — This is the most important element to the whole project. So, to be clear I’ve listed everything that I’m doing for this project that will benefit me.

For point of reference, I’m a data journalist who focuses on online content and my MA is Online Journalism.

  • I’ll get more experience using basic code like HTML and CSS. I’ll also get to try new code such as AngularJS: These are skills that I would need in the industry. As such, I was asked at my Trinity Mirror interview in July 2016, if I had these skills and how I could use them with the job that I was applying for. Thus, it has the ability to improve my own practical skill set.
  • I’ll have to source, get, clean and process over 461 seperate Excel sheets via the FOI act: Not as important, but a key one is that again I’ll be refining my skills as an FOI specalist by creating my own original data. Not only that, but the data is a worthwhile story that has been suggested to me by a leading journalist and it’s the perfect data set to work on.
  • It will help prepare me for my major project: I’m going to be creating either a series, or one long informative investigation and independent schools in the West Midlands. This will contain a lot of data and more importantly, several oppertunities (such as how does your local school perform) to use the skills that I’m learning here.
  • It’s simple, yet important: This may seem like a small point but by focusing on such a specfic idea, I’m not going to create something that is overally complected. Instead, I’m going to be able to focus on a specfic idea and not rush everything at last minute to make it work.
  • It has industry-wide professional context: The most importnant thing is that as I look for jobs in the next few months, I’m going to have to show to employers the skills that make me employable. By being able to show that I can not just write and research a story, but also create quick interactive elements that their readers can use showcases just how flexable of a journalist I am.

Every week, I’ll also make a list of all the things that have been achived this week in relation to the project.

What I have done this week:

  • Started receiving FOI’s back from local councils. Now sorting through them.
  • Reading around how to produce an interactve searchable table. Currently using sources such as CodePen and online tools.