Javascript journalism

At the Data Storytelling event that I helped organise last week (the presentations are available if you missed it) the closing speaker, Martin Stable who is head of the Financial Times interactive news team, used the term ‘javascript journalism’ to describe the kind of outputs that combine journalistic storytelling and web applications (including data visualisations). It was immediately one of those terms I knew would stick with me and inevitably lead to me overusing it! You can view the slides from the talk over on Github and it is well worth a look.

This ‘javascript journalism’ creates ‘news applications’ that often follow the Martini Glass structure, another concept the the talk introduced me to;

“The stem of the glass represents the single-path author-driven narrative. If the author’s intended narrative is conveyed, the widening mouth of the glass represents the multiple-narrative paths the user can freely explore on its own. As soon as the user enters the mouth of the glass, it can choose-his-own-adventure. “


Once I was exposed to this it is amazing how often you start to see this approach in these ‘news applications’.

I really find all these attempts to create genuinely web native story formats fascinating and if I had my time over I’d want to follow this path I think. The mix of writing and digital products is pretty much my dream mix but unfortunately I fear I fall in to the ‘old dogs’ category.

Which is why it was especially interesting to see Cardiff University launch their new MSc in Computational Journalism this very week. The course is a really ambitious mix of journalism and developer skills and I was lucky enough to meet Glynn and Martin who are a big part of the team behind it to hear about their impressive plans for the first year.

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