Basile Simon (blog) Data, hackery, stories

Trip to New York Computation + Journalism Symposium

Well, the last weeks have been a bit mental. In a good way, though: loads of traveling and meeting people.

##Assises du Journalisme in France I first went to France to participate in a panel about algorithms and prediction of information - the question was to discuss whether algorithms in a journalistic context were an opportunity or a danger.

In practice, the panel was quite a nice mix: an academic, two guys who created journalistic-ish products, a French journalism trends pundit, and myself. I presented Datastringer, this tailored dataset-monitoring tool I built with Clément, as an example of how an algorithm can be of great help to journos in finding stories.


In the end, it was more about presenting use cases of algorithms and discussing their implications rather than debating of their potential evilness. Maybe because there’s no real debate here:

Algorithms are part of the world we live in, computer-assisted journalism is the future, and whoever refuses to invest in new technologies for news gathering, reporting, and reach, will be left out.

Columbia panel

##Computation + Journalism symposium at Columbia, New York I also went to New York last week to give a presentation at Computation+Journalism symposium, while my colleagues were partying at Mozfest.

This talk was part of the “Automation in the newsroom” set, and presented the Hacks and hackers paradigm at the BBC News Labs, with two examples:

  • BBC linked data as using tech and computer-assisted techniques to help journos reach their audiences better,
  • And Datastringer as, once again, another way for journalists to find stories and to consume data.

My slides are available here, by the way!


All the other talks given this day were amazing, and the event was definitely worth the Pulitzer Hall in which the talks took place. My only regret is missing Mozfest (and adding another Mozilla t-shirt to my collection)!