What do journalists do with large amounts of text?

Barbara Maseda is on a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship project at Stanford University, where she is working on designing text processing solutions for journalists. In a special guest post she explains what she’s found so far — and why she needs your help.

Over the last few months, I have been talking to journalists about their trials and tribulations with textual sources, trying to get as detailed a picture as possible of their processes, namely:

  • how and in what format they obtain the text,
  • how they find newsworthy information in the documents,
  • using what tools,
  • for what kinds of stories,

…among other details.

What I’ve found so far is fascinating: from tech-savvy reporters who write their own code when they need to analyze a text collection, to old-school investigative journalists convinced that printing and highlighting are the most reliable and effective options — and many shades of approaches in between. Continue reading “What do journalists do with large amounts of text?”

Study to Assess Workplace Experiences, Practices, and Opportunities in the Scholarly Publishing Industry

Starting on January 31st, you have an opportunity to help advance workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion in the global scholarly publishing industry.

All you need to do is give 10-15 minutes of your time and take the Workplace Equity (WE) survey.  It is open to everyone who works in this sector at publishers, service providers, and the spectrum of related organizations, companies, and consultancies, and will remain open through March 14, 2018.  A report on the findings will be presented at the SSP’s 40th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, on June 1, 2018.  Continue reading “Study to Assess Workplace Experiences, Practices, and Opportunities in the Scholarly Publishing Industry”

Society for Scholarly Publishing (Re)launches Online Discussion Group for Industry Announcement and Events

January 4, 2017 – Wheat Ridge, CO – The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) invites scholarly communication professionals to join its Industry Announcements and Events online discussion group. The discussion group replaces the SSP-L list-serv and is part of SSP’s new C3 community platform. Announcements of conferences, events, or other resources of broad interest to the community are welcome. Press releases with newsworthy information of interest to SSP members should continue to be directed to SSP’s editors for potential inclusion in SSP’s various news outlets. Continue reading “Society for Scholarly Publishing (Re)launches Online Discussion Group for Industry Announcement and Events”

All my data journalism ebooks are $5 or less this Christmas


The prices of my 3 data journalism ebooks — Data Journalism Heist, Finding Stories in Spreadsheets and Scraping for Journalists — have been cut to $5 on Leanpub in the lead up to Christmas. And if you want to get all 3, you can also get the data journalism books bundle on Leanpub for more than half price over the same period, at $13. Get them while it lasts!

Filed under: online journalism Tagged: books, data journalism, Data Journalism Heist, Finding Stories In Spreadsheets, sale, Scraping for Journalists  

Announcing a part time PGCert in Data Journalism


Earlier this year I announced a new MA in Data Journalism. Now I am announcing a version of the course for those who wish to study a shorter, part time version of the course.

The PGCert in Data Journalism takes place over 8 months and includes 3 modules from the full MA:

  • Data Journalism;
  • Law, Regulation and Institutions (including security); and
  • Specialist Journalism, Investigations and Coding

Continue reading “Announcing a part time PGCert in Data Journalism”

Wanted: MA Data Journalism applicants to partner with The Telegraph

telegraph expenses data journalism

The Telegraph was behind one of the biggest data journalism stories of the last decade

As part of the new MA in Data Journalism we have partnered with a number of organisations who are keen to bring data journalism expertise into their newsroom.

I am now inviting applications from people who want to work with The Telegraph during their MA in Data Journalism at Birmingham City University.

The Telegraph has a long history of data journalism, most famously breaking a series of stories around MPs’ expenses in 2009. Examples of its data journalism – ranging from sport and politics to text analysis and data video – can be found in its TeleGraphs section.

The news organisation is looking for applicants who are interested in developing the ability to clean and analyse data to find interesting stories; an awareness of tools that you can use to source and scrape data; and a knowledge of data visualisation in order to communicate your stories. Successful applicants will learn these skills on the MA course and have the opportunity to apply them in collaboration with The Telegraph.

They say:

“Data journalism at The Telegraph is about uncovering stories in data that people wouldn’t have otherwise known. Whether this is through scrutinising the day’s news to see what relevant data we can add to the story, or through longer investigations and analysis, data-driven reporting involves sourcing, cleaning, analysing and communicating data to tell interesting, innovative and important stories.

“We are here to provide exclusive analysis of complex, structured data with a view to finding the news stories within it and presenting it in compelling visual – as well as textual – ways. We want to see the same in data journalism students. They should be confident in figuring out solid news lines in data and knowing the best ways to visually communicate them.

If you are interested, please apply through the course webpage on the Birmingham City University website, specifying in your supporting statement that you are specifically interested in working with The Telegraph.

Please also indicate why you would be interested in working with the team, and what kind of stories you’d be interested in working on.

Filed under: online journalism Tagged: MA Data Journalism, Telegraph

Last chance to register for our new course ‘Oxford Perspectives – Envisioning the Newsroom in 2020’ http://bit.ly/2x7kpIR pic.twitter.com/0qQ0L6xxuj

Last chance to register for our new course ‘Oxford Perspectives – Envisioning the Newsroom in 2020’ http://bit.ly/2x7kpIR 

The Reuters Institute will be providing the latest insights into journalism and digital development in a new executive education seminar in November.

Oxford Perspectives – Envisioning the Newsroom in 2020 is tailored specifically for experienced journalists and newsroom managers who want to learn more about audiences, new formats, business models that work and current trends in journalism.

The two-day event in Oxford will also provide the opportunity to engage in discussions with international peers and to increase networks.

It takes place on November 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2017.

Video streaming research

Many publishers, societies and institutions are in the process of exploring ways to incorporate video into their websites and publishing platforms, whether as new product lines, for teaching, or to offer more value to existing products and services. Some may be unsure about how to go about developing a video strategy whilst others have a clear idea of what they need and are in the process of implementing video content.
This is an area which Simon Inger Consulting are increasingly asked about and thought it would be useful to survey the current state and thinking about streaming video.  With the support of GVPi (a digital publishing solutions company) they would like to find out from publishers, scholarly societies, professional associations and higher education institutions where they are in their video development plans, what they see as the main challenges and barriers to delivering video content online, and what opportunities they think streaming video offers.
They would like to invite you to take a very short survey (less than 5 minutes). The results of the research will be shared with the community. 

Salary benchmarking survey

ALPSP is often asked whether we can provide information on salary benchmarking and employment trends. Governments often provide earnings data, and taking the UK as an example, the National Office of Statistics (NOS) conducts an  Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) of all industries, based on details gleaned from HMRC and also other national trends. But for the detail on salaries in publishing, including average salary by job title, we rely on careers consultancy bookcareers.com who run a periodic salary survey (currently every 3/4 years) to give us detailed information not only on pay and remuneration but also on employment demographics.
For instance, the statistics from the bookcareers.com Salary Survey 2013 indicate that the education level of respondents is higher than at any time, with 94.6% having a graduate degree or Masters, and 2% having a PHD, compared to their 2004 survey where 86.4% had a graduate degree or Masters, and none of the respondents had a PHD.  Back in the 2013 survey, the overall average salary of all respondents was £28,661 yet for academic sector, the average salary was £27,559 and for Business and Professional Publishing, £29,294. Salary reviews varied with 25% getting between 1% and 3% in their most recent review. Bonuses were also increasing and becoming far more common than at any other time.  This is a fraction of the data extracted from a full report of over 80 pages. 

Bookcareers.com are currently gathering data for their 2017 survey (sponsored by Inspired Search & Selection Ltd) and in order to provide more accurate sector data, would like ALPSP members to participate. All data is confidential and anonymous and any identifying comments are removed before publication.  You can participate here: 



The survey closes at midnight on 28th July 2017 with early results available in September. A full report will be available later in the year from online@bookcareers.com. 

Call for Volunteers

Calling all volunteers…now is the time to let us know if you are interested in volunteering your time to support SSP. Our committees and task forces will be regrouping during the month of June.

Getting involved by serving on a committee or task force is a great way to expand your network, gain valuable leadership skills and increase your personal and organizational visibility within the industry. Volunteer work allows professionals to build skills they may not have the opportunity to develop in their current job. Not only do volunteers learn more about the Society’s inner workings but they also gain knowledge and perspective from other committee members. Volunteering often leads to public recognition of your efforts and is a great way to make your mark if your current job doesn’t allow for much outward-facing interaction within the industry.

SSP has an active base of volunteers. Nearly 25% of our membership dedicates their time to helping SSP be successful in one way or another.  We have a number of standing committees and active task forces where members can lend their expertise and time. Those interested in getting involved can learn more on our website, or can attend the Get Involved Luncheon at the 2017 SSP Annual Meeting, May 31-June 2 in Boston.  At the luncheon you’ll hear from each of the chairs about the types of activities each committee is responsible for. It’s always helpful to see what you are getting yourself into.

Committee appointments (one-year terms, renewable) are typically made in June shortly after the Annual Meeting. The first step is to complete our online volunteer form.

Committee chair(s) for the committee(s) or task force(s) you indicate you would be willing to serve will be provided with your contact information at that time. All committee member appointments are approved by the President. We do have limited committee seats available, but there is turnover on our committees every year.

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