New maps with Mapbox

Key to map

Following my exploration of alternatives to Google Maps for, I have transferred my map of articles to Mapbox, which relies on OpenStreetMap. The data on the articles is held in a Google Sheet, and can be shown in a number of styles through Mapbox. There are alternative versions, covering all of Britain and Western Europe, elsewhere on the site. Continue reading “New maps with Mapbox”

New one-day NUJ data journalism training course on 18 May

The National Union of Journalists has scheduled two new dates for my one-day course of data journalism training: Monday 18 May and Monday 9 November, both at the NUJ’s office on Gray’s Inn Road in London.

This course is aimed mainly at those already in journalism, who want practical methods that can be used immediately – and who want to know about the pitfalls as well as the benefits.

Specifically, the course will cover how to assess and improve the quality of data; how to combine it, or mash it up, without making a mess; the reality of using the Freedom of Information Act to get material; and how to turn numbers into pictures, whether graphs or maps. I will also talk about when it makes sense not to rely on data. Advanced mathematical ability is not a requirement, although common sense is always useful.

Continue reading “New one-day NUJ data journalism training course on 18 May”

To monitor news on councils, you need Council News Monitor

Any chunk of text that includes ‘delighted’ or ‘excited’ in the first sentence looks like a dull press release. So how about this: I am chuffed to announce the commercial launch of the first service from Public Service Intelligence Limited, a joint-venture between myself and Boilerhouse Media, a marketing communications consultancy.

The service in question, Council News Monitor, is an email sent first thing each workday with news on local authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and every region of England in every edition. For the last few weeks, we have been sending it on a free trial basis.

But now, we are opening Council News Monitor to subscriptions, at just £2 a month (£24 a year… I understand it’s compulsory for all prices to have the word ‘just’ in front of them). There’s more information here, on our stylish new website with its extraordinarily short domain name. You can also follow @CouncilNewsUK for a selection of stories every day. Continue reading “To monitor news on councils, you need Council News Monitor”

My one-day data journalism training course on 22 September

Data plays an increasingly big part in journalism. It can conjure exclusive stories out of a slab of figures. It lets journalists take full advantage of government policies on open access and freedom of information. It can produce some really nice graphs and maps.

How the NHS staff mix has changed since 2009, based on data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre; click on graph for the Guardian article that used this

Data journalism training is now part of many post-graduate training courses, such as those run by Paul Bradshaw at Birmingham City University. But for those already in journalism, the National Union of Journalists is hosting a one-day course run by myself, which will provide a practical introduction to using data in journalism, on Monday 22 September at the NUJ’s headquarters near King’s Cross in London. You don’t have to be an NUJ member, but the course is cheaper if you are: £175 for employed NUJ members, £100 for unemployed ones, £200 for those in some affiliated unions and £275 otherwise. Continue reading “My one-day data journalism training course on 22 September”

ID cards and the NHS: separated soon after birth

It was only two years, one month and eight days ago that Damian Green fed the last pieces of Labour’s ID card scheme into a giant industrial shredder in Witham. The coalition, on getting into power, promised to destroy ID cards and protect the NHS. Although some think the government is putting the NHS through a metaphorical shredder with the changes that take effect on 1 April, that is overdoing it. In general, the coalition has kept its promises on these two issues.

What is not widely know is that, on its foundation in 1948, the NHS was completely tied to ID cards – you had to use a card to get treatment. Furthermore, the link survives to this day. Continue reading “ID cards and the NHS: separated soon after birth”