At Bilgi University’s Santral Campus, we were together with François Nel, founding director of MADE and also co-founder of Digital Editors Network, Sarah Hartley, former Guardian Local editor and part of the team behind the Guardian News & Media’s n0tice.com startup, and Megan Knight, an experienced digital journalist and senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, home to the UK’s oldest school of journalism as well as journalists, project managers and communication experts.
“DJ” of the DJCAMP stands for “Data Journalism”. Here in Turkey, we are not familiar with this concept and when you ask people usually think that it refers to investigative journalism. It does, in a way, but DJ is mainly based on collected statistical data and refers to journalistic activities based on the analysis of these data.
After the MadeTurkey Start-up Weekend in October, I must admit that at first I have been a little bit reluctant to attend DJCamp because I thought it might not interest me as it does the other friends, because I am no longer working as a journalist. However, it seems wherever you have something to do with data, you must know some tricks on how to deal with them.
On Saturday, we started with the introduction to the concept of DJ, with examples. I got the idea better when I saw this website named Homicide Watch DC. This is a grass root NGO project where you can find information about people murdered in Washington DC based on police reports. I know it s not easy, especially in Turkey to reach all the data from public authorities but it s still worth trying to get more information on anything we can.
Later on we began thinking about our own “dream data” , the data we d love to get and build a story on . I decided to work on women entrepreneurship in Eastern part of Turkey and wanted to write a story on the success rates of women entrepreneurs. However, it was not possible for me to find the data I needed from the state authorities at least at the weekend.
On the second day, we learned how to use Google Fusion Tables to create maps based on the location data we have on spread sheets as well as so many other programmes, applications that we can use to visualize the data we collect. It was pretty good for me to learn them at least because we sometimes really think hard on how to make presentations look prettier and more attractive. And I think those programmes like Zeemaps, infogram, many eyes would work perfectly.
The last session was the one where all participants presented their own data journalism projects. There were amazing stories on the illegal refugees on Greek-Turkish border, Turkish journalists in prison and traffic accidents.
In short, DJCAMP 2013 helped all participants on how to dig for data, to sort them, to get rid of some of them (when needed:)) until you find what you really need and then to organize and analyze them in order to constitute a story or prove an assumption or at least just to be able to show some fancy graphs and maps.
I hope in Turkey, people and especially journalists begin to pay more attention to data journalism issue.
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to both work with and learn from all the coaches and the participants. And I am little bit surprised of realizing how much I missed the feeling of being a student .. It was definitely worth waking up so early in the morning whole weekend.