NYT Election Day Data

photo courtesy Dwight Burdette on Wikimedia Commons

photo courtesy Dwight Burdette on Wikimedia Commons

Election day is a wonderful day for data. There are so many numbers. How many people are voting. How many Republicans are voting. How many Democrats are voting. How many young people are voting. How many old people are voting. You get the picture. And that’s before you even get to the results.

It’s a great day for media outlets to showcase their tools and data specialists. In preparation for Tuesday, November 4, The New York Times has pulled together a national list of races and referenda. It is a lengthy list, but it has anchor tags and a drop down list to allow you to jump to specific states.

The promise has been made that on election day – and more likely, election night – this page will update continuously. It’s unclear presently how those results will be displayed, but the template has been built. It will be fun to see how it plays out – the data, not the races. Though there are plenty of exciting races, too.

What one-man-banding looks like in 2014

My friend, and fellow journalist, Chris Pollone posted this on Instagram and Facebook the other day. I have a lot of thoughts, as did the people commenting. I pointed out that if she’s going to do that, at least hold the camera at eye level or higher. The angle she has it at there will give her a double chin. There were a lot of people simply saying, “No.” And there was one person who, after Pollone posted the link to this young woman’s piece, pointed out the reporter’s audio was too hot.

Personally, I’m surprised there aren’t more one-man-bands. It’s not something just from the 2010s; this industry had one-man-bands for a long time. But back then instead of carrying an iPhone, selfie stick, and Go Pro camera, a reporter had to lug a 3/4″ deck and a 50 pound camera.

Here’s a link to what this young woman put together. What do you think?

What journalist doesn’t love doughnuts?

Recently I went to Portland, Oregon for a conference. While there, I had a class assignment I needed to complete, and I wanted to do some sightseeing. I decided to combine the two and take a walk to Old Town and check out Voodoo Doughnut.

Voodoo Doughnut is known worldwide for its fare. There are dozens of types of doughnuts, and often the line stretches out the door and around the corner.

I was disappointed in audio; the crew that was working at this particular time was into heavy rock, and it was loud. I used both a Canon T2i and an iPhone 4S. Let me know what you think. And if you have been there, what kind of doughnut did you order?

The FBI goes too far by using Seattle Times dummy page

The Seattle Times is reporting that in 2007 the FBI created a fake news story and made it look like a Times page in order to capture a suspect in a series of bomb threats.

Documents about the case show that the FBI created a story about the recent bomb threats and falsely attributed it to the Associated Press. The bureau then made an email link and sent it to the suspect’s MySpace account.

To say the Seattle Times isn’t happy is a bit of an understatement.

“We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best.

“Not only does that cross a line, it erases it,” she said.

“Our reputation and our ability to do our job as a government watchdog are based on trust. Nothing is more fundamental to that trust than our independence — from law enforcement, from government, from corporations and from all other special interests,” Best said. “The FBI’s actions, taken without our knowledge, traded on our reputation and put it at peril.”

The FBI made sure to point out that the article it wrote did not use an actual Seattle Times article, but simply made it look like it was a Seattle Times article.

For the record, that doesn’t make Kathy Best any happier.

Taking data visualization to a new level

This afternoon I saw a tweet that said something to the effect of, “This new OK Go video shows why every journalist should have a drone.” Because I am in a program in which a faculty member has purchased a drone, I kept it in mind to look at later.

Tonight I was able to watch it, and oh my goodness…

First of all, it’s all one shot. That in itself is amazing. But the entire thing is shot with a drone. And as for data visualization, watch to the end and see how well they took a concept and executed it with dozens of people. (Maybe I should count just how many are in that closing sequence, because it’s amazing.)

I could definitely see this being a way a journalist showed how something like Ebola spread – take one person, spread it to another, put the drone higher in the sky and keep broadening the circle. But it really could be anything, Ebola is just an easy go-to topic these days.

But I’ll stop blabbering and just let you watch for yourself. Enjoy!

Transforming dining hall food into gourmet meals

Priya Krishna graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with degrees in French and International Relations and Affairs. While she says being able to translate things from French to English is helpful, and IR fascinates her, it’s what else she did at Dartmouth that’s getting her attention these days.

Krishna wrote the book “Dining Hall Hacks” and is currently on a book tour taking her to dining halls across the country showing students they can create their own meals using the ingredients available in dining halls.

She was at Northeastern University’s Xhibition Kitchen on Wednesday, October 8 to share her tricks and tips. “This dining hall is amazing,” she said of Stetson West, home of the XK and one of several dining halls on campus. “I’ve been to more than 50 dining halls across the country, and this is the best.” She took ingredients offered in the dining hall and made some unique salads.

WBZ lets veteran reporters go

I was shocked and disappointed to read that WBZ-TV in Boston has not renewed the contracts of Joe Shortsleeve, Sera Congi, and Michael Rosenfield. Shortsleeve has been with the station for 24 years, earning him the title chief correspondent. Congi has been there just shy of 10 years. Rosenfield has not been there as long as the other two, but he was the New Hampshire bureau reporter.

I worked at WBZ for some time as a web producer and have maintained friendships and contact with several people I met while there. (I was always excited to tell people I worked with Jack Williams – as I had grown up watching him and even framed his autograph which I got when I met him as a senior in high school.) Getting to work at a place I watched for so long was really awesome.

I have seen this a lot in my time in the industry. A new news director is hired, there are a lot of moves, many people either leave on their own or find themselves looking for one, and the decks are reshuffled. It’s no fun, and morale for those who remain suffers.

I know these three will do okay and find themselves in a good position, but it’s still tough to see this happen to former co-workers.