Twitter as a data source: An overview of tools for journalists

Read the full post at Data Driven Journalism.

Journalists may wish to use data from social media platforms in order to provide greater insight and context to a news story. For example, journalists may wish to examine the contagion of hashtags and whether they are capable of achieving political or social change. Moreover, newsrooms may also wish to tap into social media posts during unfolding crisis events. For example, to find out who tweeted about a crisis event first, and to empirically examine the impact of social media.

Furthermore, Twitter users and accounts such as WikiLeaks may operate outside the constraints of traditional journalism, and therefore it becomes important to have tools and mechanisms in place in order to examine these kinds of influential users. For example, it was found that those who were backing Marine Le Pen on Twitter could have been users who had an affinity to Donald Trump.

There remains a number of different methods for analysing social media data. Take text analytics, for example, which can include using sentiment analysis to place bulk social media posts into categories of a particular feeling, such as positive, negative, or neutral. Or machine learning, which can automatically assign social media posts to a number of different topics.

Rita Allen Fellowship for Science Communication

WGBH and the Rita Allen Foundation have partnered to create the Rita Allen Fellowship for Science Communication. This is a unique, one-year opportunity for an innovative professional to study the field of science media, experiment with media formats, and work to expand science literacy among the public.

They are seeking candidates who are early-to mid-career science media producers, journalists, or working scientists with a commitment to science communication. The fellow will have an office at WGBH Boston, one of the pre-eminent science media producers in the US and home to the flagship public media science series NOVA.

Applications for the fellowship are due June 30, 2017, and selection of the fellow will be announced at the beginning of September 2017. The fellowship will begin by January 31, 2018 and last a year, and is a fulltime, paid position.

More information, including how to apply, can be found
 at http://www.wgbh.org/ritaallenfellowship, or by contacting us at raf2017@wgbh.org.

Storm Lake Times Pulitzer winner: ‘They give you 15 grand. That’s worth it.’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Pulitzer Prizes are committed to rewarding works of original and important journalism. Monday they credited this line, from the Storm Lake Times of Iowa: “It scares the bejeebers out of taxpayers, especially in defendant counties,” wrote Art Cullen in one of the pieces that secured the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen is editor of his 3,000-circulation newspaper, and as such, he can write “bejeebers” whenever he pleases: “The style guides is whatever we come up with. We have no style or class,” Cullen told the Erik Wemple Blog.

Whatever term you choose, Cullen and his small newspaper have scared something out of the powers that be in a few counties of northern Iowa. Since the founding of the Storm Lake Times in 1990, says Cullen, he and his brother John have been obsessed with how Iowa has changed its mode of agriculture. Gone are the cattle and grazing pastures, he says — they’ve been herded into feed lots. Meantime, the landscape has been gobbled up by expanses of corn and soybeans. With the changeover has come nitrate pollution. One of the first stories that the newspaper did, he recalls, reported how its coverage area had become “the hottest spot in Iowa for nitrate pollution.”

University of Illinois to offer Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Writing

The Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Writing (CEW) is a new offering for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students wanting to engage the latest research in sustainability science — and to build their skills in environmental communication.

The Certificate is a joint venture of iSEE, the School for Earth, Society, and Environment, and the English Department…

The motto of the CEW is “turning data into narrative” — learning about the latest scientific research on the environment and how to communicate that research effectively to the public.

Society of Environmental Journalists Awards for Reporting on the Environment now accepting entries

SEJ’s awards honor the best environmental journalism in seven categories, bringing recognition to the most important stories on the planet. TV, radio, print and online journalism about environment or related issues are eligible. $500 offered for first-place winners in all categories.
Deadline to enter: April 1, 11:59PM your local time
Cost to enter: $40 Members or $100.Members must be logged in to access the member rate.
  • Eligible entries: Journalism publisher or aired March 1, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017.
  • Rachel Carson Environment Book category: Books published in 2016.
For details, rules, FAQs and entry forms, visit http://bit.ly/SEJAwards2017

From China’s Coal Consumption to a Melting Arctic, Here Are the Biggest Environmental Stories to Watch This Year

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

This is likely to be a pivotal year in the fight to halt global climate change and all of its effects. Here, in no particular order, are some of the top stories to keep an eye on in the new year.

Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources accepting applications for 2017 Drinking Water Institute

Applications due February 10, 2017
Apply at https://ijnr.submittable.com/submit/73785/institute-application

Lack of access to clean, safe drinking water is often seen as a problem suffered in “developing” countries. Recent events in North America, however, have highlighted the fact that our own water is not to be taken for granted.

There is no better place to explore these issues than the Great Lakes -where 40 million people get drinking water from a basin holding one-fifth of all of the world’s available fresh water. From April 2nd through the 8th, 2017, IJNR will get journalists out from behind their desks and take them into the field to see how safe, clean drinking water is “made” and what issues threaten that supply.

During this expenses-paid, weeklong fellowship journalists will:

  • Tour the water treatment plant in Toledo, Ohio to learn what’s being done to prevent a future event like the 2014 algal bloom in Lake Erie that cut off the water supply of half a million people.
  • Travel to Flint, Michigan to talk with residents about how they’re dealing with the aftermath of the lead crisis and meet city and state officials trying to restore faith in the municipal water system.
  • Spend a day in Walkerton, Ontario, where a deadly e. coli outbreak in 2000 brought the issue of drinking water security and agricultural runoff to the front page, leading to the creation of strict new water laws and the state-of-the-art Walkerton Clean Water Centre, where thousands of Ontario water providers have been trained to manage their own supply.
  • Speak with officials in Guelph, Ontario about their concerns over the future of their public drinking water aquifers as both their growing population and private water-bottling companies like Nestle seek to draw water from the same wells.
  • Learn how nutrient pollution and a resulting “dead zone” in Lake Erie complicate the job of the water department in Cleveland.
  • Meet scientists and engineers working on the latest clean water technologies.

Join your colleagues as they explore these and other to-be-determined issues in our freshwater supply and security. IJNR will also provide training sessions in some of the latest digital media technologies and other techniques to improve writing and reporting on natural resource issues. Participants will return to work armed with story ideas, background knowledge, expert sources and training to tell these stories better and inform and engage their readers, listeners and viewers across North America.