Basile Simon (blog) Data, hackery, stories

What I think my 2015 will look like

Oh, the New Year. What a great time to think about the year just passed and the new one just kicking in. To make wishes and predictions for the 365 days to come.

Professionally, 2014 was awesome - and I hope 2015 will be the same.

Here is what you can expect to read on this blog in 2015:

##News and analysis about the war against ISIS - ‘Airwars’ project I am very proud to be working with Chris Woods on monitoring the airstrikes of the US-led coalition about the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State.

There will be plenty of news regarding this topic on this blog, as well as investigations.

##Innovative, fun, and usable broadcasting I don’t watch TV. I do not listen to the radio that much now that I don’t have a car. I am not sure wether classic linear broadcasting is still the most relevant thing we can do, but I am convinced we shouldn’t forget our good old tellies and FM receivers that soon.

Time to go for modern broadcasting.

I’m thinking about all-terrain technologies, mobile, portable, local, and deployable broadcasting. Yes, buzzwords.

As far as I know, this is already something the BBC is thinking about:

  • There’s a Whatsapp channel in Western Africa ‘broadcasting’ information about the Ebola outbreak;
  • I also heard about an experiment going on with Line, another instant-messaging platform;
  • There is also a World Service event in Nairobi about these topics.

There’s tech for all this stuff already. Between feature-phones, Firefox OS cheap smartphones, Bluetooth LTE mesh-networking tools, Raspberry Pis, but also old lo-fi tech such as radio airwaves, don’t tell me we won’t find something to have fun with.

No pun intended, but the good news for News is that podcasts are somewhat trendy right now (cheers Sarah Koenig!), that combining web and old tech can lead to fun and successful projects such as tinyfm, and that ‘local’ or ‘hyperlocal’ look like financially viable and interesting solutions when looking at successful journalistic ventures.

And alas, I can’t tell you more than that, but… we’ve got stuff in the pipeline already.

Datagathering and computer-assisted reporting for dummies

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but data is getting more and more important for many, many people - and journos among them.

Unfortunately, I hear too often in our newsroom ‘I didn’t come to journalism to press buttons or do maths!’ And that’s a shame, because why would you pass on another source of information - and such a powerful one?

Dataset monitoring will become more and more crucial as 2015 unfolds and as open government becomes bigger and bigger. And we’re in a nice space already, as Datastringer proved us that there’s quite a lot of interest in this area.

Re-usable templating should also be on our mind if we want to avoid the frustration experienced by our friends at the New York Times in 2014.

New formats prospections

To put it bluntly: we’re convinced the tech is already there for the next 10 years of innovation. We’re even quite sure it’s been around for a while already (I should write a blog on this one).

So, if it’s not about tech, then it’s about what we do with this tech.

These new formats may never be used on, but we do have to master them and to innovate in this space, where the New York Times is basically leading the way - alone, unchallenged.