1801 newsletter: Harvey Weinstein, drone video, and diversity in newsrooms
Bongiorno. Who likes news games? Good, here’s one by The Times about football’s infamous offside rule in which you play the linesman. Meanwhile, Poynter reports that in the age of Trump, government data has become less trustworthy — if it’s even published at all. And if we’re honest that’s just an amplification of what happens around the world. Also worth your attention is Janine Gibson writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about yet another crisis in journalism. In the past, the dichotomy was an honest trade vs a noble profession, she asserts, now it’s confirmation bias vs the genuine scoop. I particularly liked this line: “We can force change by piling on where our rivals have proved wrongdoing, instead of knocking it down in case it beats us to an award.” Know someone who would like this newsletter? Please share. But enough of that: let’s get to it.
LIGHTS OUT — link
Some of the Washington Post’s work these days is stunning and stylish. But, we knew that already. Even their website sections, in response to Trump and fake news, are defined in a pop-up window (Analysis = “Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events.”). The headline contains a dynamic date, explained by a methodology at the bottom of the piece. This interactive looks at how “troubled finances, weak electrical infrastructure and a Category 4 hurricane” have led to a damaging power blackout in Puerto Rico. The satellite imagery and graphics are suavely presented: everything is done well. It’s even in Spanish too. Bravo.
SLAM DUNK — link
Each feature by The Pudding is a very different creation. This one, designed with a very 80s arcade game flavour, starts with the premise of LeBron James saying: “I don’t believe I’ve played for a superteam.” As part of their You Define It series, readers are then asked to define what a basketball superteam is from a set of criteria such as age and ranking. I can’t say I’m a basketball fan, but it’s a great approach to get readers to engage with a story and statistics and learn at the same time.
LOOKING DOWN — link
I own a drone, but have only ever used it for one story. I actually have angst about its lack of use (largely due to the UK’s prohibitive laws — can’t be used in built up areas). Anyway, the New York Times certainly know how to wield a drone, as previously seen here. It’s perfectly used to convey the devastation caused by wildfires in California. I also love how the photographer/drone operator has been given lead byline. If you have any ideas about how I can wield my drone: hit me up. This before/after article is a good companion piece (and note the lack of sliders).
HACK STACK — link
Let’s make more of our own data sets, ones that aren’t pushed out by governments. That’s what the American Society of News Editors does with its annual Newspaper Diversity Survey. And this year they teamed up with Google News Lab to visualise the findings — it’s really added weight. Excellent bubble charts show how the Washington Post are performing very well on gender and almost as well on race when compared to census levels. Arrow charts are used to good effect, as are annotations. Perhaps the NUJ should do something similar? We need to practice what we preach.
APPLE CORE — link
Some of Bloomberg’s work is wonderfully exacting and direct. One colleague described it as “Brutalist, in a good way”. But when it comes to features, they are prone to the odd flight of fancy. This look at every type of iPhone and what is inside them — at its core a rather interesting premise . Let’s just say design is given prominence over clarity, and the giant Star Wars type font is quite something. That being said, I do applaud the experimentation and it’s fun.
It’s good that it has come out now, but devastating that it ever happened. Time to root out all of the Harvey Weinstein’s in the world.
That’s all for this week’s newsletter. Please tell me if there’s something you’ve done or have seen that I should check out. Likewise, if there’s anything you like or don’t like about this newsletter, let me know so I can improve.
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