I've just returned from the International Journalism Festival in Perugia and despite the disruptions caused to international travellers by the wrath of Eyjafjallajokull it was a great hub for exchanging ideas and I thought I might share just a couple points that would be of interest to Th!NK3: Developing World.
Information is beautiful
Data and statistics... beautiful? Oh yes, and any sort of lingering undergraduate fears of studying statistics or wrestling with something like geographical information systems evaporated as David McCandless gave a fascinating talk on visualising data and how journalists can use statistics and data in a dynamic (and simple) way to help tell a story.
Speaking of crunching numbers, I also like the Guardian's approach to presenting data, particularly on their Data Blog. Not only are they helping to make data and information more accessible and understandable, but they're encouraging Guardian readers to download the raw data and create perhaps other uses. Check out this recent post on maternal mortality.
Th!NK3-er Giedre Steikunaite also referred to innovative ways of presenting statistics in an earlier post, and Gapminder/Google Trendalyzer popped up in Perugia during a panel session lead by the Columbia Journalism Review on new story narratives.
As someone often working in a visual medium or producing multimedia, I've certainly come away from Perugia enthused about how to visualise data in a meaningful way and looking at possible tools for production - especially open source. This is certainly one area I intend to explore further. And lets face it, when it comes to development issues and interpreting millennium development goals, good design in visualising data would be welcomed.
If you have any thoughts on that, please share!
Al Jazeera's Creative Commons Video Repository
Al Jazeera's Head of New Media, Moeed Ahmad, was someone in high demand at IJF10. Along with showcasing how Al Jazeera used the Ushahidi platform to map violence/events on the ground during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip, Moeed presented how the broadcaster is beginning to make video available through Creative Commons.
The Al Jazeera Creative Commons Video Repository offers broadcast quality footage for free download under the most permissive 3.0 CC license 'attribution only'.
It's an innovative approach for an international broadcaster and challenges a lot of the existing systems in place for using video footage produced by agencies or commerical and public broadcasters.
Moeed explained that during the Gaza conflict, Al Jazeera had camera operators and producers inside the Gaza Strip and was able to get footage out.
Rather than profit from their exclusive material, Al Jazeera decided to make it available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Basically anyone is free to download and use Al Jazeera video stored on the repository so long as they attribute AJ and keep the AJ logo.
I think its certainly a concept both broadcasters and independent producers can benefit from, though freelance videographers will undoubtedly have questions. It wasn't exactly made clear in the panel discussions if all footage stored on the repository was produced by permanent employees of AJ or if freelancers had also contributed.
For journalism students and educators, having access to raw footage, particularly from a conflict zone, is definitely a bonus to work with.
Moeed also discussed the Al Jazeera CC Video Repository with Italian blogger and new media good guy, Robin Good.
More "Baci" from Perugia
Ok, I couldn't walk past the little chocolates Perugia is famous for, but here are a few more little Baci from IJF10.
The UK Media140 folk who were marooned on their island by ash-travel-chaos produced a video program covering several social media and multimedia topics. Well worth a view. It's in a couple of parts and trust me the sound improves after several minutes.
Spot.us - keep your eye on this community reporting and investigative journalism project. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.
And, Al Gore and the investigative journalist Roberto Saviano both spoke in Perugia. I was indeed lucky enough to get inside the theatre to see them. I have a brief mobile Qik clip of Gore. You can struggle though the Bambuser video clip of Saviano, but I'm afraid the audio of the translation is not so good. It was the best I could do with a mobile phone and set of headphones! But hopefully we'll see Current TV produce an English version of this talk. Saviano spoke passionately about the need for journalists and society to keep fighting the mafia and corruption in Italy. Inspirational stuff.