Tag Archives: NPR

Data viz: News media struggle to convey gun story

By Christopher B. Daly 

The recurring American nightmare of mass shootings presents many challenges to the news media who must cover them. This New York Times story gives a glimpse into one of the challenges, as the paper deployed about 40 journalists to cover the shootings in Parkland, Fla.

Another challenge falls to the talented people who work in the newsroom specialty known as data visualization. They struggle to make isolated facts tell stories. Here are two recent efforts that make essentially the same point in slightly different ways:

The first is from NPR, a bar chart:

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.39.32 PM

This one is from the Times, a scatter plot:

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.40.18 PM

I lean toward the scatter plot myself in this case. Oddly, here is a version of the scatter plot, minus all the words and legends. In an way, it’s even more eloquent than the version the Times posted online.

chart_totals-Artboard_1

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Journalism, New York Times, data journalism

Monday round-up

By Christopher B. Daly

Good Monday, readers!

–As so often happens, first up is B.U. Prof. David Carr.

His latest Media Equation column heralds the re-vitalization of The Washington Post under big-spending owner Jeff Bezos. Hooray for new money in the news business. Personally, I am very pleased to see my old

Katie Zezima Mediabistro

Katie Zezima
Mediabistro

employer having the resources and the sense to hire smart young journalists like BU alumna Katie Zezima, now part of the Post’s political coverage team — covering the White House, no less — after her stints at the NYTimes and the AP. Good luck to the Post’s owner (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) and the paper’s top editor (Marty Baron).

–Sticking with the Times for a moment, here is the Public Editor’s recent comment on the big flap between Amazon and Hachette, involving many writers on both sides.

Can someone help me get to the bottom of this issue? Is there a “good guy” in this fight? Who is really on the side of authors? Are all authors in the same boat?

–Interesting piece here about the European approach to archiving material on the Internet. Even better is 140929_r25505-320this recent New Yorker piece by Jeffrey Toobin.

–Delighted to see Peter Canellos, after being unceremoniously released by the Boston Globe, has landed an important new job at Politico. Why is Politico thriving? Maybe it’s because they hire talented people. . . (On the other hand, Politico has some of the most vicious comment-ers on the Internet, so if you want to hear “the other side” about Canellos, just read the comments. Phew!)

–The radio show “This American Life” by Ira Glass has launched a terrific new audio narrative that they are 537_lgcalling “Serial.” It is described as a “spin-off” and is available as a podcast. I listened to the debut installment this weekend, reported by Sarah Koenig and a team. It’s a terrific tale of the reporting of a doubtful prosecution of a “convicted murderer.” It ended on a real cliff-hanger, leaving me ready for more.

–The always worthwhile NPR program “On the Media” delivered again this weekend. I particularly enjoyed this piece on the work of Craig Silverman, the founder of the site “Regret the Error,” which paid attention to the neglected subject of news media carrcorrections. His latest cause: tracking rumors as they emerge online, at his new side Emergent.info. Good luck with that, Craig.

–The Nieman Journalism Lab asks “What’s up with those 100 layoffs in the New York Times newsroom?” Ken Doctor has some answers.

–History keeps happening: the culture wars shift ground to the teaching of history. Conservatives don’t like the new guidelines for teaching Advance Placement U.S. history courses in high school. Part of their beef is that the new approach, devised by “revisionist” left-wing academic historians, dwells too heavily on America’s faults. Imperiling our sense of patriotism (Is that really the take-away kids are supposed to get from studying history), this new approach focuses too much on negative stuff, like protests.

So, how do smart high school kids respond? THEY PROTEST!

I’d say that shows they have already learned something!

91753-004-9403FDA1

Leave a comment

Filed under AP history, history, Journalism, journalism history

NPR explains change at NYT

By Christopher B. Daly 

Hats off to NPR’s estimable media reporter, David Folkenflik, for a thorough, calm, balanced, well-reported piece about the recent succession crisis at the New York Times. What distinguishes Folkenflik’s work from a lot of what I have read is that it is based on original reporting. He conducted the first interview I’m aware of with the new executive editor, Dean Baquet, and his decision to seek out Amanda Bennett was smart. I was out of the country when the news broke about the dismissal of Jill Abramson (full disclosure: we went to college together long ago; actually, Amanda Bennett was there, too), so I refrained from saying anything about it after I got back. I read a lot of other people’s “work,” though, and found that most of it was armchair speculation, Monday-morning q’b-ing, and pure projection.  So, thanks to David F for actually expanding the universe of known facts, upon which the rest of us can get busy speculating.

(And thanks for helping us learn how to pronounce the new guy’s name! Sounds like “bah-KAY”)

Dean Baquet, the new executive editor of The New York Times Photo: Bill Haber/AP

Dean Baquet, the new executive editor of The New York Times
Photo: Bill Haber/AP

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Journalism, journalism history, media, New York Times, NPR, Uncategorized

By Christopher B. Daly 

Like many an apex predator, Snowy Owls are hard to take your eyes off. They are big, powerful, alert, and deadly. They are also gorgeous and — usually — pretty rare. In New England, we get to see them on a pretty regular basis, under certain conditions. If a fair number stream southward out of the Arctic north and if you are near the coast and if it’s winter, you might have a chance of seeing one. When you do see one, the sighting stays with you. Those yellow eyes are haunting, and the bird’s whole posture seems to say: Hey, I’m here, and I don’t give a shit about you. I’m not afraid of you, and I am intent on doing something else, so you go your way and I’ll go mine. 

This winter is going down as a season of record irruption for snowies, as documented in this great mapping project by Project Snowstorm. A hat-tip to NPR for this story.

Photo: Tom Johnson

Photo: Tom Johnson

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The power of narrative: NPR tells the tale of a T-shirt

A hat-tip to the talented team at NPR’s “Planet Money.” They are spinning a yarn this week about how a T-shirt is made, from start to finish. Best of all, they decided to actually make a specific T-shirt of their own, and reporters worldwide are contributing to a narrative that traces the arc of that T-shirt from the cotton fields of the Deep South to a robotic yarn-spinning factory in Indonesia and god-knows-where next.

Great idea, great sound, intelligent reporting. Way to go.

machines-callout_custom-f6c175d992dc3a44e766a669252f32b8afdfb30d-s3-c85

Read. Listen. Enjoy.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under broadcasting, business, Journalism, NPR

NPR budget cuts

By Chris Daly

So, Republicans have proposed cutting the budget for public broadcasting to zero. This is a perennial issue, as I have discussed before.

For my two cents, here goes: the amount of taxpayer funds as a fraction of the total of all PBS and NPR budgets is very small. Public broadcasting would be better off without it. They should send the check back to the Treasury today, and then they can tell Republicans how they really feel about them. That would take a club out of the hands of Republicans (who never liked public broadcasting from its inception late in the Johnson administration), and it would unite public broadcasting with the real source of its strength — the audience.

Rip off that band-aid, and I will double my annual pledge.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under NPR

Understanding the News

By Chris Daly

I heard a marvelous interview today by Terry Gross on her NPR show “Fresh Air.” She was interviewing Deb Amos, who is a veteran NPR reporter who has covered the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

NPR journalist

What struck me was first of all that Deb Amos is an unbelievably articulate person. Second, she was able to explain the conflict in a way that never comes through in daily reporting. I have certainly heard Amos reporting from Baghdad about this bombing or that one, this cabinet shuffle or protest. But none of those stories has added up — at least for me — to any real insight. Turns out, she is brimming with insight, context, history, you name it. But she needs a half hour with no breaking news going on to really share what she knows.

Be sure to listen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized