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Journalism-Driven Data – How it Works

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This is a plot about four newsrooms using the Camayak platform. We plot various indicators of staff behavior over time.

The time dimension is represented in the music as time. The music is composed of verses, each verse corresponding to a season. Each season is broken into four equal parts (approximately 23 days each), and each verse is correspondingly broken into four “phrases”.

We distinguish between the summer season and all other seasons in these ways.

* Chord progression (i v i III versus I V vi IV)

* Presence of drums (off during the summer)

The commenting on assignments and pitches in newsrooms and assignment of tasks to writers affects the main rhythms and the use of drums.

The rhythm for the melody is based on averaged data across all the newsrooms and dates for the particular season. There are two underlying tracks, and the data affect how fast the rhythm; one of them gets faster when more comments are made in the newsrooms, and the other gets faster when more assignments are created. Similarly, the bass drum turns on when there are lots of comments, and the hi-hat turns on when there are lots of assignments.

The rhythm is also based on the number of pitches submitted; measures get more notes added at the end of the measure when more pitches are submitted. (If a lot of pitches are submitted, notes eventually get added to the beginning of each measure too.)

Pitches of all notes are based on the data for the particular newsroom during the particular 23-day section of the particular season; pitches are higher when more assignments were created.

The time dimension also is represented in the video, as the x-axis. The season’s name is shown in text, and the background color changes to grey in the Summer.

The y-axis in the video is the activity generated per day. Activity per day is plotted incrementally—in 23-day sections and one organization at a time. The name of the present organization is written towards the bottom-left of the screen, and the curve for that organization is shown in front of all of the other curves.

At the right end of the curves are plotted an alternating circle and triangle. Their size is proportional to the number of pitches submitted (circle) and users registered (triangle) for the particular date.

Activity is low during the summers and very low at the beginning and ends of the song. Low activity during the summers occurs because three of the newsrooms are student newsrooms, which have much less activity when school is out. Low activity at the beginning occurs because the newsrooms had not yet begun using Camayak, and low activity occurs at the end because we are using data that were exported a couple months ago.

There is a weekly trend of high activity on weekdays and low activity during the week.

Credit: Thomas Levine

Further reading: gastronomical data