On with the daily tasks first thing -
- Afghanistan casualties (the only thing that needed updating were the international figures, which depressingly rise every day, and the wounded figures which my colleague failed to update yesterday)
- Corrections – nothing particularly amusing but we did publish a letter in support of BBC 6 Music yesterday which incorrectly listed new MP Zac Goldsmith as one of the signatories, quite a major mistake for the letters desk. One of the corrections wouldn’t update properly so it’ll need checking tomorrow.
- Deletions for a different paper – We occasionally have to delete articles from other newspapers from our internal text archive, if they’re subject to legal dispute (it tends to be the tabloids!). Today I had to delete two Daily Mail articles. The process is similar to adding a correction, we use the same software, but once we’ve searched for an article and gone in to edit it we just supercede it, rather than amending it.
Wednesday’s a bit different from the rest of my working week, because I’m seconded to the Datablog for the morning and am meant to focus solely on that. Today we’re a bit short-staffed though, so it’s got to 11am and I’ve not had a chance to do it yet. So instead of a break I’m rushing headlong into Datablogging! A couple of lighthearted ones today, so it’s quite entertaining.
- Glastonbury festival line-up – we ran this last year and someone created a brilliant mash-up so that you could click through from the line-up and access all sorts of media on each band. It’s a simple blogpost – just copy and paste the line-up from the Glastonbury website into a Google doc, launch it as a web page and share it with everyone, then write the article using our R2 Ed Index tools (making sure to link through and keyword relevant tags). Then I created a smaller Excel table with just the main stages (the entire thing is far too long for the web page) and launched it.
- Eurovision! I prepped a Datablog post on Eurovision to go live tomorrow morning, taking info from the official site and putting it into a Google spreadsheet, then writing an article as described above. I love Eurovision, I’m not ashamed to say.
A few other queries from journalists today:
- I was asked for old quotes from the House of Commons on specific education policies from some previous governments. This Hansard tool is invaluable – a whole searchable back-catalogue! Used Nexis, again (!), to find the right time periods for the policies, then searched Hansard for the relevant quotes. Took a bit of weeding but sometimes it’s satisfying to dig about and find the precise answer you were after.
- One of our national news journalists wanted some statistics to back up a story he’s writing for the weekend on a fascist group. First of all I looked for the number of people who had been arrested at demonstrations by the group, by searching national and regional news stories on Nexis. Then I searched cuts for references to the cost of policing demos (not much). It’s always slightyl disheartening when you can’t give someone an accurate figure, but hopefully he’ll be able to cobble something together. Also had to find the link for the relevant Facebook group – didn’t have to join though, which my colleague had to do a few months ago. Not the sort of people you want to be associated with online!
- A journalist wanted to know the budget deficit for early 2007, so I found it in cuts. He was expecting a % answer, not one in currency, so I searched again and found the deficit as % of GDP (a classic case of a user not askign for the right info!).
- A reporter had heard rumours of suggestions in the weekend papers that the tax break for married couples was being quietly dropped by the Tories, and wanted me to track it down – back to Nexis.
- As part of the job we’ve taken on uploading the From the archive column, I sat with a colleague to talk him through the process, so he’s confident doing it himself over the next few days.
And my working week is over! I have a toddler, and when I came back after maternity leave I decided to go part time, so I only work Monday to Wednesday. There are pros and cons – I feel a bit dislocated sometimes, not knowing what’s gone on at the end of each week, but it suits my lifestyle for now.