I've been contacted by Liliana Bounegru, a Project Manager from the European Journalism Centre, to help try and attract a potential contributor or contributors to the task of writing the first collaborative Data Journalism Handbook.

The project started in November 2o11 at the Mozilla Festival in London, with the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation coordinating this massive, rapid effort to construct what will be an invaluable resource. Contributors so far include University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cronkite School of Journalism, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Guardian, Wired and BBC, to name but a few.

They are now looking for contributions from people with some experience of using data visualisation in journalism to complete the Visualising Data chapter, against the following structure:

The role of visualisation in journalism

  • What function(s) does visualisations play in reportage?
  • How do journalists use visualisations for finding stories and telling stories?

Tools, tutorials and good examples of using visualisations to find stories

  • When do you need to visualise a dataset to explore it and find a story? When don’t you need to?
  • How do you go about discovering a story? What tools do you use? What “protocol” do you follow? What clues do you follow? What do you pay attention to? (lessons, tips, advice).
  • Examples of how to explore a dataset with a visualisation tool with a step by step description of the “protocol” followed to find the story.

Tools, tutorials and good examples of using visualisations to tell stories

  • When do you need to visualise a story and when don’t you need to?
  • What types of visualisations are good for presenting what types of stories?
  • How do you go about visualising a story? What tools do you use? What steps do you take? (lessons, tips, advice).
  • What makes a good visualisation, what makes a bad visualisation?
  • Examples of good and base use of visualisations to tell a story with explanation of what makes them a good/bad case.

The handbook will be launched in April at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. However, the timescales leading up to that are pressing and this chapter would need to be completed in double quick time to meet the requirements of the overall production.

If you feel you are qualified to write about such content, and have the interest and the capacity to get involved, contact Liliana Bounegru by email at bounegru@ejc.net.

Best of luck!

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