Richard Waters says old media executives on innovation tours of Silicon Valley must learn three key things: An appreciation of speed and software development: "As one venture capitalist points out, most media industry executives still regard software developers the way they do technicians such as printing workers: best left in a back room to get on with their jobs but not part of the creative process. That runs counter to the tech industry approach that makes developers equal partners – or even leaders – in product development."
Good way of tying data journalism to users' location: "if you connect your Foursquare account to 'The Opportunity Gap,' we'll send you stats about schools whenever you check into one. If you've checked into a school we've associated with a Foursquare 'venue,' we'll show you some details and give you a link to that school's profile."
"Many publishers are realizing Facebook won’t offer much salvation. Sure, it still drives plenty of traffic, but those numbers aren’t growing as fast — and in some cases, they’re going in reverse."
"The future of news lives outside the CMS."
Nate Silver: "I use Stata for anything hardcore and Excel for the rest. ... It isn't that hard to make Excel charts look unExcellish if you take a few minutes and get away from the awful default settings. For anything more advanced, like the stuff that appears in the right-hand column at 538, I'm relying on the help of the NYT's awesome team of interactive journalists. ... The New York Times guys really are the very best at the world at this. Part of that is because they really are journalists in addition to being programmers and/or graphic artists: the goal is to communicate complex information clearly and accurately, and not just to make something cool or pretty. There should be a Pulitzer category for this stuff. ... The ambition is to expand 538 'horizontally' across topics, based on HOW we cover the news, rather than into the politics vertical, if that makes sense."
Erik Wemple: "James Grimaldi, an investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, believes that the records should open to the public, which has a right to know about permit holders. Not that the Journal News piece offers an argument for why: 'Really, it is a data dump with little analysis,' notes Grimaldi. 'They should have looked to see what the patterns are. Any criminals who got guns and shouldn't have them? School teachers? Preachers? I’d run the list against other databases — get creative. Vs. other licenses? School bus drivers? Taxi drivers? Grocers? Seems an opportunity lost.'"
Jack Shafer: "Exactly how publishing public-record data constitutes privacy invasion is a topic worthy of a Poynter Institute seminar. By its very definition, the public record is not private. Under New York state law, the information the Journal News obtained from Westchester and Rockland county authorities can be obtained by anybody who asks for it. And even though it will deflate the sails of the boycotters, their protest is futile. No law prevents individuals from making the same pistol permit request from the counties and posting their own maps if Gannett and the Journal News surrender and delete theirs. I’d wager that somebody has already scraped the data from the Journal News site and will repost it if the paper goes wobbly."
"Immediately after The Journal News published maps identifying gun permit holders in Westchester County, where it is based, and nearby Rockland County, New York State Sen. Greg Ball said he would introduce legislation to limit public access to that information, which the newspaper obtained through Freedom of Information requests."
"A newspaper based in White Plains that drew nationwide anger after publishing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders last month is being guarded by armed security personnel at two of its offices, the publisher said Wednesday. ... Despite the anger at the newspaper’s employees — some have had their addresses mapped by bloggers in retaliation — Ms. Hasson said the newspaper would continue to seek permit information for Putnam County. But officials there, including the county clerk and a state senator, have said they intend to block the release of permit information."
"One of those new tools that made Web of Betrayal possible was Mozilla's Popcorn media toolkit. The software allows designers and filmmakers to create video that incorporates web content, even pulling from sources in real-time upon playback. After the footage for Betrayal had been shot and the assets collected, Secret Location used Popcorn to put the project together in just three weeks. ... Company founder James Milward says the goal was to create 'a fluid website that was basically scaleable between a desktop and a tablet.' Popcorn uses HTML5 video, so no clunky plugins are required, but processor requirements made tablets the minimum target for the project ..."
"Investigative journalists have long focused on existing databases, government and otherwise, “mining” that “structured data” (already in fields or categories). That work continues. What’s growing rapidly is the figuring out how to get at unstructured data; that’s where the “pioneering” work is being done, says Horvit. Emails, legislative bills, government bureau and courts documents, press releases; you name it. Stuff in unstructured prose."
"The misconception, [Sarah] Cohen said, is that there is a vast amount of data available in the world, which should lead to several opportunities for analysis. Most data, she said, is 'garbage' leading to insignificant conclusions. And more so, [Susan] McGregor said, just because 'it’s a number, it doesn’t make it true.' There must still be a meticulous process of validating data, just as people fact-check words." ... "[T]he key to successful data journalism, [Sarah] Cohen said, is starting with a question, not the data. Even if that question is, 'Who will be the next president of the United States?'"