Entry type: Portfolio
Country/area: United Kingdom
Publishing organisation: The Courier, the Press and Journal
Organisation size: Big
I have been working in data journalism for just over five years and in that time I have gone from a solo data journalist within the newsroom to now being Head of data journalism and running a small data unit.
I threw myself into the intensity of demand for data journalism that arose as a result of the pandemic but I also strive to show balance in covering both serious subjects whilst also showing that data journalism is allowed to occasionally have a more lighthearted side.
I was the recipient of the Specialist Reporter of the year title at the 2021 Scottish Press Awards and was Runner up in the Data Journalist of the year category at the UK regional press awards. In the following year my team were shortlisted for the Scottish press awards (journalism team of the year) and the Future of Media awards (data journalism category). We were recently announced as making the shortlist three times in the Digital Initiative category at the UK regional press awards occurring in 2023.
With every bit of journalism I or my team produce our aim is always in a laser focus on the end user experience.
As part of running the data team I also run training sessions for journalists looking to upskill their data journalism and data visualisation skills.
One of the first courses I took as a data journalism was one that Alberto Cairo ran and that helped to cement a lot of the fundamental principles. I followed this up with a masters course in data visualisation at the University of Edinburgh in 2020 and this really helped to get into the nitty gritty of data visualisation and design principles that I use in my training today.
It’s probably cliched at this point but I would say I am inspired by the work of John Burn Murdoch and the entire data team at the Financial Times as well as Alex Selby Boothroyd of The Economist who has shown me an incredible amount of kindness to an annoying Scottish upstart.
It also goes without saying that the Pudding article on women’s pockets was nothing short of life-changing and if I could one day make anything even have as cool as that I’ll retire happy.
Description of portfolio:
This portfolio should back up the light and shade I referenced above – a mix of serious and lighthearted journalism, but all using the same principles of trying to present data in a user friendly way that makes the end user experience as easy as possible.
Goodbye Gary? The Scottish baby names on a shoogily peg
Part of our baby name series – this article looks at names in Scotland that are at risk of extinction (or on a shoogily peg), as well as names that have previously died off and risen again. This article had a lengthy engagement time compared with our usual metrics, hovering at around 1:30 to 2:00 of active engagement. This article was also picked up by the Google showcase and had a high pageview.
Shart, Lucifer, A: What are the baby name rules in Scotland?
Another article in our baby name series. This article employs charts as well as scrollytelling to break down for readers what the rules for baby naming really are in Scotland and how closely those rules seem to be followed.
Kirkton riots: Numbers show a Dundee community torn in two
A riot recently broke out in our community and made worldwide news. This article was produced in the immediate aftermath of the riot in a time crunch to be able to stay on top of the news cycle. This article looks at the available data we have for the area the riots occurred in to try to lay out any mitigating factors.
Exclusive: Data shows younger generations are most worried about cost of living crisis
Based on exclusive survey data commissioned by our insight team, this article dives into the current feelings of our readers during the cost of living crisis. This article employs data analysis as well as charts and scrollytelling to walk the reader through the story behind the data.
Chippie or chipper? Our survey results end the chip shop name debate
A lighthearted investigation into a linguistic quirk that has been the topic of many a newsroom discussion – what do we shorten ‘chip shop’ to? In some of our patch it’s ‘chippy’ whilst in others it’s ‘chipper’. This survey and accompanying scrollytelling article aimed to put the debate to bed.
Baby names: Does the age of the parents impact the name they choose?
A slightly less lighthearted article in our baby name series based on Exclusive FOI data showing the impact the age of the parents has on the names they choose.
Scottish Council Election 2022: The results in full
The culmination of our Scottish council election coverage. My role in this was managing the data side of the project and organising manual results being fed in from reporters working at the election counts and getting that fed through to our final product. This was the most succesful piece of content out of anything the organisation published throughout the local elections.