• Post category:Data Journalism
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Journalism New Year Resolutions

Do I write this post every year? Probably.

Some things I’m planning to work on this year.

Blog more

Yes, I say this a lot, then I get busy and don’t write anything for months.

Not really sure best way to tackle this one. Might try for the setting time aside each day and just writing and hoping that some of it might be interesting. Also actually writing up any ideas instead if thinking about writing up ideas and then not doing it.

So I’m going to try for a blog post a day for a week to try and get things going and then maybe actually work on scheduling a bit of time a few times a week just to write something.

Learn new things

Really if your journalism resolution doesn’t include learning something new, I’m not sure you’re going to survive in this industry (because the only thing keeping this industry going is trying new things (and hoping some of them work)).

I think I might have got stuck in a bit of a visualisation rut. Everything ends up looking the same because it’s quick and easy, which is good for getting stuff done but not great for innovation and interesting-ness.

So learning new stuff this year has two aims; I want to generally improve my coding skills because I want to get a bit further than the current situation of can sometimes make things sort of work and I also want to learn some visualisation languages, like Processing and D3.js, to try and get a bit more flexibility with creating stuff.

I’ve signed up for the Harvard intro to computer studies course, which seems to be pretty good in not having weekly work expectations.

Love online courses, rarely actually finish them.

Also looking at Code Year to try and get into the habit.

If you’re also looking for some new things to learn, some other ideas:

If you want to learn SQL and other databases, the Stamford introduction to databases course is excellent and starting soon. It’s a good guide to the basics, especially SQL queries, and actually goes at a reasonable pace (I find some of the Coursera courses either involve more hours of video watching a week than people with job actually have as free time).

If you want to learn some data journalism skills, there’s Getting Started with Data Journalism. Apparently there’s some call for those type of skills…Trinity Mirror Data Unit is hiring (see here and here), as are Newsnight, the Telegraph and the Guardian.

Get more organised

Another one that is twofold. Having decided to start 2014 with another round robin FOI request, I think I need a better system (or to send more FOIs to big over-arching organisations and a few less to councils).

If you’re journalism resolution is to create more work for public bodies (I mean, put in more FOI requests), there’s a great big long list of FOI ideas that could get you started.

Meanwhile, I need to sort through all the data I currently have stored. There are some good stories in there, things that could be updated or improved on, or mashed together but it isn’t in a very useful system at the moment – implement good file naming conventions is a really boring resolution but it’s probably a good idea.

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