Tag Archives: learned

Things I learned at ONA

In chronological order, a handful of the cool tips, tricks and advice I picked up at the Online News Association conference.

1) Cool mobile apps [AUDIO]

2) Data

  • Tips for data newbies on what to consider when looking for/working with data
  • First things first, figure out if data is even available, ie: call someone and ask
  • There is a TON of data out there, a small list from Chris Keller here.
  • You almost always want to get data in a CSV (comma separated value) format or an Excel file. Avoid PDFs at all costs.

3) Info graphics

  • No slideshow or webpage for this, but the tweets were pretty good.
  • Moral of the story was to look at your data and pick the best format for the data
  • Sometimes bar charts are the best way to visualize data
  • “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work”
  • Involve data viz people EARLY on when you’re working on a story

4) Sensors [AUDIO]

  • Major talking point: WNYC Cicada Tracker
  • Building, coding sensors is a step up from basic web development
  • Sensors journalists use are often inaccurate, compared to military-grade sensors, but much cheaper to produce and easier to crowdsource
  • Sensors can track many, many things (air quality, chemicals, pressure, wifi, cell phone signals [intensity not specific person], temperature, motion, etc.)
  • Still many ethical/legal questions around using sensors in public places

5) There are jobs in journalism…

  • …and people are hiring if you have the right skill set
  • Biggest buzzwords were “code” followed closely by “data” and “multimedia”
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