The secrets of Facebook Live

In this week’s podcast, Luke Barratt and Jasper Pickering talk about the growing importance of live-streaming on Facebook for media organisations and the average Joe alike. As Facebook grows its video platform, Zuckerburg is pushing users to interact with each other via live video feed.

No longer are the broadcasters telling us what to do from atop their ivory towers. Now you (yes, YOU!) can produce live coverage from the comfort of your handheld device.

The intrepid duo tackle examples of live-streamed news like Donald Trump’s disastrous press conference and the suspense of watching a watermelon explode under the pressure of a thousand elastic bands on Buzzfeed. While future coverage will pale in comparison, users are still becoming more engaged with online videos.

Gone are the days of panda sneezes and laughing babies. Now audiences demand more from their social media influencers, as outlets like Vice produce high quality documentaries that can be watched from the comfort of our bed/toilet.

Our cup runneth over.

CNN Trump Press Conference.

A stressed watermelon that forgot it had a test today.

Vice videos

Email newsletters for journalists: a guide

Despite numerous technological innovations — from 360-degree video to social media live-streaming to robot journalists — the trusty old email seems to be increasing in importance in the newsroom.

Quartz, for instance, has several journalists based across the world work on its daily newsletter, which releases at about 6am across time zones in Asia, Europe/Africa and the Americas, every day.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The email inbox is, for many people, the first app or webpage they open in the morning and one that they return to multiple times over the day. Amid the noise and barrage of social media posts, the email newsletter may be the easiest and quickest way to reach a reader directly.

In the podcast, we compare our favourite email briefs, such as the Times Red Box and Politico Morning Media tipsheet, and why we like them. We also discuss the ethics of email newslettering.

If getting access to a reader’s email inbox is like gaining a private audience with him or her, how much should publications use it for their own marketing or political purposes? If publications, political parties and companies alike use people’s information for political or marketing purposes, does this count as an abuse of big data and reader’s trust?

Listen to the podcast to find out. Don’t forget to sign up to Interhacktives’ newsletter here, too.

Using data in sport journalism

In this week’s Data Day, Luke Barratt is joined by Matteo Moschella to discuss the use of data in sport journalism.

Data is omnipresent in the reporting of sport, particularly recently. The closing of the Barclays Premier League January transfer window has prompted a glut of visualisations on the month’s top stories.

Check out some of the code used by the Guardian on their Github.

Athletes and sports teams are using more and more data nowadays to optimise their performance. But crucially for journalists, the vast audiences drawn by sports demand extensive data.

Opta provides detailed data feeds on a number of different sports.

While providing this data to users in raw format is common, there is also great scope for journalists to use data to analyse issues in sport.

Here, Rob Minto uses data to defend a potential increase of the number of teams taking part in the FIFA World Cup.

One crucial area where this kind of journalism has flourished is in predictions. Nate Silver, now renowned as a polling expert, made his name using data to predict the results of baseball games.

Visit his site, FiveThirtyEight, which still applies its methods to sport.

Similarly, the Financial Times has built a complicated statistical model to predict the outcome of the 2016/17 Premier League.

Daniel Finkelstein has a weekly column in The Times using similar methods to analyse football. Here, he uses sport to teach his readers a lesson about probability through a parable about the likelihood of giant-killing in the FA Cup.

We’ve also seen data used for in-depth investigations into sporting issues. Buzzfeed used data from betting markets to uncover indications that certain players had been guilty of match-fixing.

The Sunday Times, meanwhile, in a more traditional piece of data journalism, made use of data from a whistleblower to find evidence of doping throughout the world of athletics.

Why you shouldn’t make a 360° video podcast

360° video is an emerging format and, like all emerging formats, must go through an uncertain period of experimentation. As journalists begin to push the boundaries for this storytelling device, the Interhacktives discuss the merits, challenges and funny side of all things 360°.

It has to be seen to be believed.

In order to fully enjoy this 360° experience, strap on a cardboard viewer and be transported into the studio with Interhacktives podcast team. This week we discuss the BBC podcast pilot ‘No Small Talk,’ as well as our favourite examples of 360° journalism.

Check out Within, who provide a virtual reality experience that has the feel of the magazine. FIlms include trips into the deep blue to hear the clicks and whistles of pacific sealife.

You’ll find the Flint police ride-along film on the New York Times Virtual Reality site, alongside many more docs and experiences.

Finally, check out the RT 360° app and be transported to space every time you open your phone.

Follow Luke on Twitter at @lukewbarratt, follow Ryan at @ryanleewatts, and follow Interhacktives at @Interhacktives.

You can also find this podcast and previous episodes on iTunes and on Soundcloud.

Thanks to Podington Bear for our theme song, ‘Am-Trans’.

Have your say on government open data

On this week’s ‘Data Day’, Ayushman Basu and Luke Barratt discuss the opening of a survey for journalists by the Government Statistical Survey. The Government is looking for feedback on how to improve their provision of open data.

You can respond to the survey here.

The main focus of the survey is on the possibility of creating a single outlet for releasing data from the government, and on this podcast, we discuss some of the inconvenience of the current system. Datasets have to be sourced from various different portals and subsequently combined, which creates significant delays for journalists.

The survey is not especially focused on data quality, but we discuss the importance of this issue, which is made more serious by the worrying fact that the government has no centralised policy on data quality.

Finally, since Ayushman Basu has specific experience in this area, we discuss how some of these issues present themselves in India. The government there has a central data portal, but the quality of releases is very poor, with PDFs often used instead of Excel spreadsheets. India’s large population also makes data collection very difficult.

India’s government data portal can be viewed here.

Have a very data Christmas

This is Interhacktives’ latest attempt to persuade you that data journalism can be relatable and human, and this time we’ve teamed up with a powerful ally: Christmas.

Christmas is a time of year for turkey, mince pies, stuffing, stockings, trees, treats, presents, and… data? On this week’s Data Day, James Somper and Luke Barratt look through the news to find some of their favourite examples of data-driven Christmas journalism.

Luke made his mince pie joke again, but this time you don’t have to wait until the end to hear it.

Follow James on Twitter @jsoomper, Luke @lukewbarratt, and Interhacktives @Interhacktives.

You can read Kate Hughes’ article on the true cost of Christmas here. The Money Editor of the Independent counts up our rising festive spending, and comes up with some eye-popping numbers.

The financial services company PNC has done what it’s been doing every year for the past 30 years, and calculated how much the presents in the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ would actually cost you. Partridges are cheaper this year, but what about pear trees?

Finally, Anjana Ahuja has a rather more serious story for the Financial Times about the mounting evidence that the vast quantities of alcohol consumed every Christmas are having a very serious effect on our physical health.

Thanks to Podington Bear for our theme song, ‘Am-Trans’.

Should Silicon Valley resist Donald Trump?

On this week’s Data Day, Luke Barratt and Bridie Pearson-Jones discuss what relationship tech companies in Silicon Valley can or should be doing to resist Donald Trump. Such companies overwhelmingly supported Clinton in the US election, and have in the past been outspokenly progressive on social issues.

However, the Intercept reported that of nine tech companies they asked, only Twitter said it wouldn’t help Trump create a database of American Muslims. Will tech companies adapt to a new Trump presidency?

There is a wider discussion to be had around the place of the far right on the Internet. We discuss Jonathan Albright’s research, which threw up some interesting results regarding the way in which far-right websites used internal links to game Google’s algorithm.

Moreover, some have put forward specific steps they feel should be taken by tech companies in Silicon Valley if they are to follow through on their consistent criticism of Donald Trump.

Sonia Katyal, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology codirector, wrote on Berkeley blogs about how the tech industry can resist Trump.

Follow Luke on Twitter at @lukewbarratt, follow Bridie at @bridiepjones, and follow Interhacktives at @Interhacktives.

You can also find this podcast and previous episodes on iTunes and on Soundcloud.

How to win a Data Journalism Award

Correction: In the podcast, we refer to the organisation running the Data Journalism Awards (GEN) as the General Editors’ Network. It is in fact the Global Editors’ Network.

Entries are now open for the Data Journalism Awards 2017, as of 28 November. Interhacktives are the media partners of this year’s awards, and on this episode of Data Day, Luke Barratt and Ryan Watts give them an introduction.

Past winners have included the Panama Papers, but this year for the first time, there is a category for students and young data journalists! With that in mind, we discuss some of the things that impressed us about last year’s winners, and what strategies might help you to win one this time around.

Simon Rogers, Data Editor at Google News Lab, is the director of the DJA, and the president is Paul Steiger, Executive Chairman of ProPublica’s board of directors.

This is the second year that Interhacktives have been involved with the Data Journalism Awards as media partners, and this podcast is the first in a series of content we will be running as we approach the deadline. Interhacktives will be your guide to the different categories, and a vital source of information on creating a winning entry. We will also be renewing last year’s series focusing on past winners.

The deadline for submission to the Data Journalism Awards 2017 is 7 April 2017. Winners will be announced on 22 June at the DJA 2017 Ceremony & Gala Dinner in Vienna.

More details can be found on the Data Journalism Awards website.

Süddeutsche Zeitung’s award-winning Panama Papers investigation.

Al-Jazeera America’s successful entry into the Breaking News category, using data to chart the process of an Amtrak train’s derailment.

Enter the Data Journalism Awards

Data day: The rise of fake news on Facebook

Did Pope Francis endorse Donald Trump? Did Hillary Clinton sell weapons to Isis? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you may have been the victim of fake news. In the first episode of a new podcast from Interhacktives – Data Day – Ella Wilks-Harper and Luke Barratt discuss the rise of fake news, question whether the crisis has been overstated, and examine some possible solutions to the problem.

Fake news on Facebook has been the subject of a frenzied debate recently, especially around a US election that has seen a country divided bitterly. As Americans – and Brits – retreat into online echo chambers of their own making, filling their Facebook feeds with people who agree with them, is it any wonder that ideology might start to trump fact? Some consider fake news the logical conclusion of the filter bubble. Will it be a wake-up call for Facebook to recognise editorial responsibility and abandon the utopian dream of its impersonal, all-ruling algorithm?

Mark Zuckerburg’s initial response to the fake news scandal:

Buzzfeed’s story about Macedonian teenagers using fake news to garner ad revenue:

A letter from the editor of Aftenposten attacking Zuckerburg over the censoring of a picture from the Vietnam War:

Buzzfeed’s analysis of engagement with fake news on Facebook in the last few months before the US election: