Datajournalistik i SYND

Nu när vi har använt Svenska Yles nya Drupal eller SYND i ett par månader är det tid att se hur systemet kan utnyttjas. Drupal är flexibelt och det möjliggör skapandet av olika innehållstyper.

Jag är mest interesserad av hur vi kan göra datajournalistik och andra visualiseringar i systemet. Vi har redan gjort några och jag tänkte prata lite om dom.

Vad har redan hänt

Visualisering gör det lättare att upptäcka skillnader.

Första större visualiserings jobbet som vi publicerade i SYND var en karta som visade hur mycket alkohol som säljs i finska kommuner.

Kartan bidrog till helheten i Radar:s rapportering om alkoholanvändningen i Finland. Den huvudsakliga produkten var radioprogrammet, men kartan publicerades samtidigt på Radars webbsida (som är publicerad i SYND).

Kartan var interaktiv vilket betyder att man kunde peka på kommuner med musen och sedan fick man mer information och statistik om den valda kommunen. Jag tycker att interaktiva visualiseringar är mer intressanta än statiska infografik, när användningen av visualiseringen känns mer som ett spel. Det att det är roligt gör att man utforskar datan mera.

Kartan var mycket populärt och då den är gjord med HTML5 så fungerar den med alla apparater och plattformar. Kartan funkade också med mobila enheter när den var bara 300px bred.

Google Forms möjliggöra att göra saker snabbt.

Andra och olika typers projekt gjorde vi på sommaren. Det var ett frågeformuläret som hade fem enkla frågor som handlade om våra nya försvarsminister Carl Haglund.

Formuläret var gjort med Google Forms och det var mycket snabbt att göra. Visualiseringarna gjordes också i Google Forms verktyg. Utredningen fick nästan 600 ansvar.

Den var inte en gallup, men det var ett fint och lätt sätt att involvera användare med innehållet.

Vad händer just nu

Nu jobbar vi mest med ett större och längre projekt som behandlar politiker i finlandsvenska kommuner och deras kopplingar till företag.

Systemet ska innefatta alla finlandsvenska kommuner och avsikten är att man skall kunna bläddra bland alla olika typer av informationen som har sparats i systemet. Den här informationen innefattar exempelvis namn, parti, ålder och information om kommunfusioner.

Visualiseringarna i Maktbasen projektet är interaktiva.

Systemet är skapat i SYND med Drupal och vi har skapat egna ”entities” för att kunna skräddarsy dem enligt behov. Det har varit en utmaning att använda sig av tidigare erfarenheter inom traditionella databasmodeller, när man vill bygga systemet ”the Drupal way”. Jag tror att vi har gjort bra jobb och klarat dessa utmaningar.

Datavaalit gör ett liknande projekt där alla finska kommuner ingår, där saknas dock kommunernas förtroendevaldas kopplingar till företag. Vi samarbetar med Datavaalit-gruppen, men rent tekniskt är det två olika lösningar.

Vad vill vi göra i framtiden

Jag hoppas att interaktiva visualiseringar mer och mer kommer att bli en del av vardagen i våra nyheter. Det finns många goda exempel från världen om hur man berika innehållet med informativa visualiseringar.

Många olika diskussioner pågår och det ser ut som att allt flera aktörer börjar göra visualiseringar. Mycket utveckling med andra ord, det blir spännande att följa med utvecklingen den närmaste tiden.

(Tack Mårten för korrekturläsning)

Publishing our first module on Drupal.org

As many of you already know we are using Drupal on the new svenska.yle.fi site. Some of you may also know that Drupal is an open source platform. Open source among other things means that users can use Drupal free of charge and more importantly be a part of the development process. Drupal is actually a very basic framework that does not have many out of the box functionalities, but instead offers a robust platform to work with to create solutions for your specific needs. Drupal’s core functionalities are meant to be extended with contribute (or contrib) modules in order to achieve the desired functionality for each site.

We here at svenska.yle.fi also want to be a part of the community and we are pround to announce our first public contrib module that is given back to the community. The module is called ONKI. ONKI links the Drupal taxonomies with the Finnish ontology service called Onki. Onki offers the needed ontologies, vocabularies and thesauri needed to publish content cost-efficiently on the Semantic Web.

The ONKI module uses mainly ontologies from Onki. Ontologies are conceptual models that identify concepts of a domain (like medicine, animals, plants) and they also contain the machine readable descriptions of the relations between the concepts (usually words). In Drupal the ONKI module is attached to the desired taxonomies and the module uses Onki to autocomplete results when the user enters a word they want to tag their article with.

Terms or tags are autocompleted from Onki service when user starts typing into the field

Drupal has a procedure on how new modules are accepted into the community as contrib modules. More info can be found on Drupal.org (D.O.). In short the process an be divided into into three steps. First you have to create a sandbox project on D.O. where you develop your module. The sandbox project has most of the same functionalities (like issues) as a full project, but it is not found from the module directory nor will it have a clean URL. The development can be in any development environment but it is considered good practice to host your projects on D.O.

Secondly when you think you have completed your module you can apply for access to release it as a full project. There is a quite comprehensive guide on D.O. on how this is done. Drupal has also a style guide on how modules should be built and coded.

There is an average of 3-4 weeks of review time depending on how many projects are on the waiting list. There is a list of projects that are waiting to be granted full project status. You can speed up your review process by reviewing other peoples projects.

ONKI module is currently in the review process for being a full project and the issue can be found from here:
http://drupal.org/node/1604784

The third step is the one where your module is granted the privilege to become a full project. Full projects can be downloaded and used by any Drupalist, so full projects have to be maintained actively since for an example the Drupal core is constantly changing. Those changes can cause your module to malfunction. Also security fixes are important to be dealt with in a full project.

To summarize, Drupal is a self evolving and open community that offers an environment for developers to work on their projects. We here at svenska.yle.fi want to be a part of that community.

Introducing Teemo, SYND’s newest member

Hi everyone, its nice to meet you! My name is Teemo (@teelmo) and I’m the latest member of the awesome SYND team. I became a ”Yleläinen” in early December.

I’m a 27 year old web fanatic (if I may say) and I’ve been online for as long I can remember. I graduated as M.Sc. from the Tampere University of Technology in June 2010. For the last three years I worked at the Hypermedialaboratory (cheers to You!) as a researcher. My job involved various projects that included mostly web service development and social media analysis (SNA). In Hypermedialaboratory we worked mainly with Django and Drupal when it came to web services. GephiGource and various JavaScript tools like d3.js, Protovis and Highcharts when it came to visualizing and analyzign data.

I’ve been keen on visualizing data for some time now. My thesis work dealt with web service monitoring and visualization of surveillance data. More recently I’ve become more interested in concepts like open data, data journalism and visual storytelling. For example players like Open Goverment Data CampNY timesBBC and Datajournalismi.fi are forerunners in these areas. In Finland YLE, Apps4FinlandHelsingin Sanomat and Helsinki Region Infoshare are examples of players that make data available. My interests also include user experience and usability, which I think are the the most important aspects to be considered in any project.

So what I’ve actually done. Well all kinds of web related projects actually. For example web sites and web services for various bodies. Recently I’ve used mostly Drupal for these projects. The most closely related to SYND would be Utain. Utain is a magazine published by the journalism students at Tampere University. In the project we replaced the old and clumsy system with a more robust Drupal based system. The work was done with the co-operation of the students. I’ve also contributed in many open source happenings and seminars like Avoimen datan talkoot and Datajournalismin päivä 2011.

Well why I applied to YLE? Well basically there are two reasons that I’ve concluded so far. Firstly I was eager to search for new challenges. YLE has always seemed to me like a cool company and from my point of view a lot of interesting things happen within YLE. Also the interviewers passion and enthusiasm got me convinced that YLE would be a good choice. Secondly of course, the job application was just too hilarious to be missed 🙂

At YLE I hope to achieve influence in the areas of my interest. I see that the ideas and concepts that interest me could have a social interest and could be useful in general. In the SYND project I hope I will be able to give perspective and deliver my expertise from the many Drupal projects I’ve worked with previously. My motivation arises from good solutions that benefits and pleases users.

So much could be said but I’ll try not to bore you any further. Keep in touch with the SYND project.

More important than know how to do everything is to know what can be done

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