News writing and reporting: Leveraging new media and data driven journalism

I delivered this presentation to the Sri Lanka College of Journalism as part of a lecture series aimed at mid-career journalists from mainstream print and broadcast media in Sri Lanka.

In this lecture I introduced the concept of data driven journalism with examples from Google and Groundviews. The examples from Google’s amazing Public Data Explorer, which use World Bank data, are especially interesting for I explore the co-relation between GDP and life expectancy in Sri Lanka, plus the effects of GDP growth and mobile phone ownership, looking at how war affected this from 2006 to 2008 (post-war data is not yet available from the World Bank).

There are also two examples from Groundviews that are to date, using Google Maps, the first and only examples of data driven journalism in Sri Lanka. The first deals with visualising flooding in Colombo and the second with growing student unrest in the country.

First introduced in my lecture on Content curation, new media and current affairs, I’ve kept in the concept of news curation, which I think is very important as a skill that transcends technology.

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