Media Mill Gazette 16

[aesop_content color=”#333333″ background=”transparent” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” floaterposition=”center” floaterdirection=”up”] Welcome new subscribers. FOI under threat? Froome data and more
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** WELCOME

I’ve been slowly putting out links to this newsletter over the past few weeks and we have some new subscribers. So hello! Tips, ideas etc. always welcome. Hope you find it useful.

** LIKE EMBARRASSING BODIES BUT WITH DATA (http://www.infotrafford.org.uk/lab/blog/open-data-surgery-embarrassing-bodies)

A nice write-up of the first open data surgery at Trafford. It helped that there was a pot of 20K to get people through the door but the impact was clearly there. Introducing elements of open data into any surgery/bid process/workshop is a winner in my book. Take a look at Brum’s Social media surgery ace Nick Booth’s post from Jan this year (http://podnosh.com/blog/2015/01/21/social-media-surgeries-and-open-data-a-new-thing/) (andrelated report (https://birminghamsmartcity.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/final-report_release_-of_data_birmingham_data_and_skills_hub-may-2015-v1-0.pdf) ) for some good rationale. Leeds also have an open data surgery coming up

** YORK DATA PORTAL (http://data.yorkopendata.org/)

I thought it was worth mentioning that the York Data Portal is filling up nicely with useful stuff like Geolocated litter bins. (http://data.yorkopendata.org/dataset/litter-bins) Next step for me would be to demystify some of those performance indicators but it’s a rich and growing resource.

** INDEPENDENT COMMISION ON FOI (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/independent-commission-on-freedom-of-information)

The current government doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind. One day it’s promising to open up its DEFRA data or lauding it’s open government partnership (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/freedom-of-information-new-commission) – even taking credit for inventing the term open data (https://twitter.com/owenboswarva/status/623104901665718272) ! The next it’s having a pretty blunt go at curbing FOI. As one commentator put it (http://diginomica.com/2015/07/21/the-uk-government-obviously-isnt-committed-to-open-data-if-its-clamping-down-on-fois/#.Va9biRNViko) :

“Yes, FOIs can be expensive and they can be annoying for government departments. I agree with that. But the value they bring is unquantifiable. Dumping unusable datasets online and saying “look, we’re an open government” won’t cut it I’m afraid.”

At a local level I know FOI is not universally loved by councils but I do think that central government’s posturing on this is only going to make things worse at a local level. The irony of course, is that the commission “is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.”

** THE OPEN DATA SPECTRUM (http://theodi.org/data-spectrum)

Open data doesn’t have to be scary, look you can explain it in ‘one image’. Erm….

It’s not quite meerkat simples is it (does that curve at the top mean that all open data is personal data?). A rare miss for the ODI which is usually really good at putting lots of context around stuff like this.

** OPEN DATA: WHAT IS IT AND WHY ARE PEOPLE SO SCARED OF IT (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/open-data-what-is-it-and-why-are-people-so-scared-of-it-10405636.html)

“We’re entering an age where privacy isn’t about what you tell people about yourself, it’s about the data that others collect on you.”

A reasonable amount of interest in this Independent article around open data which rifss off the release of the ODI spectrum. I’m not sure where the were the idea that the ODI is a “quango” comes from and I think the link between privacy and open data is a tenuous one but it’s always nice to see the concept get some air.
http://warninggraphiccontent.tumblr.com/

** WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT (http://warninggraphiccontent.tumblr.com/)

Warning: Graphic content is a great Tumblr blog about all things visualisation and open data and open gov from the team behind the Institute For Government (http://ww.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/about-us) . Well worth a look.

** FROOME POWER DATA RELEASED (http://www.teamsky.com/teamsky/home/article/59618#ESGeQ0YS6iMFmh4D.97)

Open Data in the transparency sense here. You may be familiar with the bunfight over thefrench medias raising of eyebrows at Chris Froome’s performance on Le Tour (http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jul/20/ruben-plaza-16-stage-tour-france-geraint-thomas-crash) . Team Sky have hot back with a release. It’s a great example of how ‘open’ data can get you on the offensive. Not exhaustive but I’m sure everyone will pour over the data (and produce some visulisations) with a passion.

** WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT OPEN DATA (http://digidickinson.net/2015/07/15/media-mill-open-data-newsletter-and-slides/)

I gatecrashed a networking event by UCLAN’s Northern Lights project (http://www.uclan.ac.uk/northern_lights/index.php) . I did a quick presentation about what open data was and why people thought SME’s should be interested. It’s not pro or con and some of the slides only make sense if you were there but I thought I’d share.

** MILLION DOLLAR BLOCKS (http://chicagosmilliondollarblocks.com/#drug)

A nice piece of data journalism that shows that huge amounts of money are being spent on imprisoning people from one block in Chicago. A great visualisation which could work well on more than just crime data.

** THE MILLION DOLLAR HYERLOCAL (http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/07/whos-making-money-and-who-isnt-in-local-online-news/)

According to a survey by Nieman Lab, 30A.com (http://30a.com/) a hyperlocal who cover California’s highway 30A is the only one to turn over more than $1million. An interview with the founder shows this is more brand than news (I’m not being critical of either approach) and it underlines the mix of skills and approaches you need to make hyplerlocal work.

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NEW ‘FACT CHECK’ SITE FOR NI (http://nifoundation.net/2015/07/16/northern-ireland-foundation-wins-civic-activism-award/)

“FactCheckNI, the first digital fact-checking platform in Northern Ireland, to compile verifiable information on a range of key topics, by monitoring sources of open data, newspapers and broadcast programmes, parties’ websites, social media and Stormont debates.”
Fact check sites are a bit of a mainstay of US coverage and have had occasional traction over here. We know the “armchair auditor” arguments for open data so it’s nice to see this from Northern Ireland (who seem to be on a roll at the moment). I can see a huge role for open data here as evidence in the fact check mix.