New edition of Data Journalism Handbook now open access with Amsterdam University Press

Today The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice (which I co-edited with Jonathan Gray) is published on Amsterdam University Press. It is published as part of a new book series on Digital Studies which is also being launched today. You can find the book here, including an open access version: http://bit.ly/data-journalism-handbook-2

The book provides a wide-ranging collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world. It is published a decade after the first edition (available in 14 languages) began life as a collaborative draft at the Mozilla Festival 2011 in London.

Book sprint at MozFest 2011 for first edition of Data Journalism Handbook.

The new edition, with 54 chapters from 74 leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, gives a “behind the scenes” look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, startups, civil society organizations and beyond.

The book includes chapters by leading researchers around the world and from practitioners at organisations including Al Jazeera, BBC, BuzzFeed News, Der Spiegel, eldiario.es, The Engine Room, Global Witness, Google News Lab, Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), La Nacion, NOS, OjoPúblico, Rappler, United Nations Development Programme and the Washington Post.

An online preview of various chapters from book was launched in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre and the Google News Initiative and can be found here.

The book draws on over a decade of professional and academic experience engaging with the field of data journalism, including through my role as Data Journalism Programme Lead at the European Journalism Centre; my research on data journalism with the Digital Methods Initiative; my PhD research on “news devices” at the universities of Groningen and Ghent; and my research, teaching and collaborations around data journalism at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London.

Further background about the book can be found in our introduction. Following is the full table of contents and some quotes about the book. We’ll be organising various activities around the book in coming months, which you can follow with the #ddjbook hashtag on Twitter.

If you adopt the book for a class we’d love to hear from you so we can keep track of how it is being used (and also update this list of data journalism courses and programmes around the world) and to inform future activities in this area. Hope you enjoy it!

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New Article: “‘We only have 12 years’: YouTube and the IPCC report on global warming of 1.5ºC” in First Monday

I’ve just published a new article titled “’We only have 12 years: YouTube and the IPCC report on global warming of 1.5ºC” in First Monday with Kari De Pryck (University of Geneva / University of Cambridge), Tommaso Venturini (CNRS) and Michele Mauri (DensityDesign Lab, Politecnico di Milano). The article is open access and available here. The abstract is copied below, along with a selection of the exploratory visualisations from the analysis.

“We only have 12 years”: YouTube and the IPCC report on global warming of 1.5ºC

This article contributes to the study of climate debates online by examining how the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) played out on YouTube following its release in October 2018. We examined features of 40 videos that ranked the highest in YouTube’s search engine over the course of four weeks after the publication of the report. Additionally, this study examines the shifting visibility of the videos, the nature of the channels that published them and the way in which they articulated the issue of climate change. We found that media activity around SR15 was animated by a mix of professional and user-led channels, with the former enjoying higher and more stable visibility in YouTube ranking. We identified four main recurrent themes: disaster and impacts, policy options and solutions, political and ideological struggles around climate change and contested science. The discussion of policy options and solutions was particularly prominent. Critiques of the SR15 report took different forms: as well as denialist videos which downplayed the severity of climate change, there were also several clips which criticized the report for underestimating the extent of warming or overestimating the feasibility of proposed policies.


Lecturer in Digital Methods, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London

I’ve recently been appointed to a new role as Lecturer in Digital Methods at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. The department is a world-leading centre for “critical inquiry with and about the digital”, with staff research interests in science and technology studies, internet studies, the politics of platforms and AI, global digital cultures, digital economy, digital innovation, cultural heritage, game studies and other fields.

As well as continuing my research on digital culture, digital journalism, data journalism and digital methods, I’ll be working on several new projects with the Public Data Lab, as well as collaborations with Noortje Marres (on “Tracing Public Facts”), Wendy Chun (on “Beyond Verification: Authenticity and the Spread of Misinformation”), Kari De Pryck (on climate politics) and Rina Tsubaki (on forests in society, with the European Forest Institute). There will be a few other activities building on the new edition of the Data Journalism Handbook (forthcoming, Amsterdam University Press) and the Field Guide to “Fake News”.

For my teaching I’m convening and contributing to modules on:

I’m joining the department as part of a group of newly hired researchers in associated fields, whom you can find more about here.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford

I’ve recently started a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Oxford, where I’ll be affiliated with the Oxford Internet Institute and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. I’m joining a research team on the Misinformation, Science and Media project which is led by Philip Howard and Rasmus Nielsen. The project investigates the implications of misinformation campaigns online on the public understanding of techno-scientific issues.

My contribution to the project will focus on knowledge cultures that emerge online around climate science and policy. A particular focus area will be recent concerns about problematic information, junk news and misinformation online, and responses to these.

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Release of A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders (Final Version)

Today sees the launch of A Field Guide to “Fake News and Other Information Disorders, a new free and open access resource to help students, journalists and researchers investigate misleading content, memes, trolling and other phenomena associated with recent debates around “fake news”.

The field guide responds to an increasing demand for understanding the interplay between digital platforms, misleading information, propaganda and viral content practices, and their influence on politics and public life in democratic societies.

It contains methods and recipes for tracing trolling practices, the publics and modes of circulation of viral news and memes online, and the commercial underpinnings of this content. The guide aims to be an accessible learning resource for digitally-savvy students, journalists and researchers interested in this topic. Continue reading “Release of A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders (Final Version)”

New Edition of Data Journalism Handbook to Explore Journalistic Interventions in the Data Society

The first edition of The Data Journalism Handbook has been widely used and widely cited by students, practitioners and researchers alike, serving as both textbook and sourcebook for an emerging field. It has been translated into over 12 languages – including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian – and is used for teaching at many leading universities, as well as teaching and training centres around the world.

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Talk on Fake News in Digital Culture at the 2017 Institute for Policy Research Symposium

Last week I gave a talk at the ‘Politics, Fake News and the Post-Truth Era’ symposium organised by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath. I presented some of the work that myself and several other colleagues from the Public Data Lab, a network of researchers working to facilitate research, engagement and public debate around the future of the data society, have done on fake news this year. 

I focused on two publications we produced this year:

A Field Guide to Fake News – a research report that uses digital sociology approaches to explore the production, circulation and responses to fake news online. This is done in the form of recipes which other journalists and researchers can follow and adapt to their own investigations. You can see here the outcomes of a collaboration we had with BuzzFeed News around one of the recipes to explore ad networks used by fake news sites. 

Five Provocations about Fake News – a research article that draws on Science and Technology Studies (STS) to challenge some of the themes that underlie existing debates and research about fake news and proposes some provocations and analytical lenses to enrich the way we understand it.

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Launch of A Field Guide to Fake News at the International Journalism Festival in Italy

Today saw the launch of A Field Guide to Fake News, a set of methodological recipes to explore the production, circulation and reception of fake news online. The field guide is the first project of the Public Data Lab, a new network of researchers working to facilitate research, engagement and public debate around the future of the data society. Claire Wardle of First Draft has been very supportive of the project from the very beginning and the field guide is produced in collaboration with First Draft

The project was born out of an interest in “post-truth” politics and the rise of debates around fake news in relation to the US elections. The project is the result of a three-month collaboration between over 60 researchers, graduates and students at several universities in Europe through a series of “data sprints”. The data sprint is a short-form hands-on working format that convenes for a week participants from different backgrounds, including new media researchers, designers and issue experts, to collaborate around research projects. So far we’ve had sprints in Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen and Milan. We used this process to allow us to produce research that can respond in a timely way to a rapidly evolving phenomenon – as well as involving journalists, civil society groups, public institutions and others in the rapid co-production of research methods which speak to their interests and needs – while in the process challenging and enriching all of our different ways of seeing the issue.

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Nieman Lab Article on Fake News in the Digital Age

Nieman Lab published today an article that Jonathan Gray, Tommaso Venturini and I wrote about fake news in the digital age. In this article we argue that fake news encapsulates key aspects of our digital environments and cultures and hence that it can be taken as an opportunity to learn not just about misinformation but, more importantly for us as new media researchers, about the digital arrangements that make such phenomena possible.

The article discusses some insights from A Field Guide to Fake News, a collection of recipes for tracing the production, circulation and reception of fake news online which will be launched at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia tomorrow.

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Collaboration with BuzzFeed News on Article about Ad Networks Used by Fake News Sites

Today BuzzFeed News published an article inspired by one of the recipes in our upcoming A Field Guide to Fake News, to be launched at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia later this week. The article investigates how fake news publishers have adapted to being blacklisted from major ad networks last year. I contributed some research and analysis to compare the presence of trackers on a set of fake news sites in March 2017 and prior to November 2016 by using the Tracker Tracker tool maintained by the Digital Methods Initiative. It has been a pleasure to work with Craig Silverman and Lam Thuy Vo and hope I’ll get a chance to work with them again in the future.

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