zaterdag 1 augustus 2020


From 'he said she said journalism to fact based reporting', that is the mission statement of data journalism. In the digital era, more and more data are produced, providing a basis for policies from the government to corporations and NGOs. By analyzing and visualizing data, journalism would be better in checking policies.Of course journalists need some skills that were formerly not a part of their education. Digitization has changed this, writing and typing, not enough; at least journalists need multimedia skills. And even better a journalist must be able to handle data/figures, analyze and visualize them.
Handling data used to be the exclusive territory of scientist, who know of the ins and outs of statistics and graphs. A lot of things can go wrong in reporting about he facts. Darrell Huff already wrote in the fifties about "How to lie with statistics". His arguments are still valid, but need to be updated. In newspaper and magazine articles, in reports, claims are made that cannot be based on the presented facts. These claims are distorted or even misleading. How to discover this?

Two new books are very helpful.
- Alberto Cairo, professor in visual journalism at the University of Miami, published "How charts lie. Getting smarter about visual information". As a visual designer Cairo focuses on charts, maps and graphs, and give interesting examples how a simple bar graph can be misleading: by shortening the Y axes, difference between let's say the growth rate of the economies of two countries can be enlarged. Or that a 3-D pie graph could be misleading through the perspective. His blog is very helpful to dig deeper in disclosing false visual claims: 

- Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, both professor at the University of Washington at Seattle, published Calling Bullshit: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World. Their angle is wider, ranging from visualization to statistics and credibility of journals. "Bullshit is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence". The book is a product of their lectures. And the good thing is that these lectures, together with the reading list and examples ar online. Their website,, a goldmine for unveiling distorted information and news.

woensdag 8 juli 2020

WD My Book Live - error:31520

I use a WD My Book Live(MBL) as a NAS more specific as music server. It streams my music to my phone over my LAN and when I am abroad I can listen to the music over the internet using the My Cloud app.

Generally the control light on the MBL is blue, power save mode. A few weeks ago it turned green, meaning a connection; it turned out I could not connect over the internet, but on the LAN it was still working.
Logging into the setup: http://mybooklive/UI/login, settings, remote access I read: cannot establish remote access (error 31520).
 Interesting message....and of course the web has the answer:
To connect from outside the connection is a VPN using a certificate. WD has replaced that certificate, without notification! Solution: o replace the old certificate with the new one.

This will do the trick:

  • enable SSH: http://mybooklive/UI/ssh
  • ssh user@mybooklive
  • go to /usr/local/orion/openvpnclient
  • rename ca.crt to ca.crt.old
  • copy the attached ca.crt.txt and rename to ca.crt
  • chmod 774 ca.crt
  • Set your Remote Access as Automatic on your MyBookLive daskboard and Reboot the My Book Live from the dashboard.
  • You can verify proper operation of the cert by checking the log file using this command cat /var/log/openvpn.out
Working! Problem solved.
Download link to certificate:

vrijdag 12 juni 2020


Preparing for absa/rhodes #datajournalism training. Making an assignment about rising poverty in Africa as a consequence of the corona pandemic.Apart from estimates the basic facts can be found PovcalNet:"an interactive computational tool that allows you to replicate the calculations made by the World Bank's researchers in estimating the extent of absolute poverty in the world". More:
You can create your own data tables, download the data in xls format and visualize for example with Tableau or Flourish. More advanced is the use of the R package: povcalnetR and do you own calculations and visualizations in R statistics. Here is example:

maandag 25 mei 2020


That  future does not look very bright, the corona virus pandemic has wounded the media: layoffs, shrinking advertisement and more. Is there a way out for the journalists who want to carry on with the work they are passionate about?
Here are some ideas; first the older ones.

- Start a blog on  topics of your interest and try to make money with advertising; Google Analytics and Google AdSense are helpful for monetizing; and Twitter and or Facebook could assist in attracting readers. However, there are at least 13 reason why blog ads suck for monetizing your site.

- write a e-book and publish it online for a reasonable price: Leanpub is one of the promising possibilities. Writing a book is a lot of work, and selling it as an e-book, even at a low price, is no guarantee for a good income for all that hard work.

- Here is the latest! Start a subscribed newsletter using Substack. “Substack represents a radically different alternative, in which the “media company” is a service and the journalists are in charge “, writes Ben Smith in the NYTimes . The generated income of subscribed e-mail letter is more interesting than Click Through Rate(CTR) for ads on a blog.  Substack charges a transaction fee, which could get high if you are successful. Ghost is an alternative and works with hosting.

donderdag 23 april 2020


Journalism is hard hit by the corona crisis. How will journalism survive? Here is a summary of impressions about the development of (print) journalism in the Western world.

1. Journalism is vital for information in a democracy especially in this corona crisis. Credible information and fighting fake news in the pandemic is a priority. The New York Times almost has a day job in correcting Trump. Journalists should be free to do research, find the facts and interview key persons. Hungary put journalist almost under censorship to fight what is called fake news by the government. The Czech Republic is limiting access of the media to government officials.

2. The demand for credible information is rising, more page views at online media, small rise in subscription. Newspapers sides in the US saw visits to their online news sides doubling.
2.1 Because of the high demand for information some media are making corona news free, for example the New York Times.

3. However the rising demand for information and the surge in page views does not cause an increase in income of the media. Esp print media are losing income because decreasing advertisementsIn the UK for example advertising revenues are taking a massive blow. Some local publishers say they are down by 50%, some national titles by 30%.

4. The consequences of this drop in income is obvious. Newsrooms are closing; journalist are laid off or furloughed; part time contracts are not renewed; and free lance activities are scaled down. A New York Times analysisfound that more than 28,000 news media employees in the United States have been subject to pay cuts, furloughs or layoffs since the corona virus started to spread across the country. In Australia News Corp, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled publishing group, has suspended the print editions of 60 newspapers

5. News media and the journalists are vital for democracy in this crisis, help from the government is unavoidable. Especially local media need help. In Denmark for example the government discussed to allocate around €24m to save local media. The Guardian in the UK writes about an interesting proposal to save journalism as an essential public good. The NUJ launched its own news recovery planwhich suggested a windfall tax of 6% on digital firms.
5.1 Google already understands the problem and is offering help for newsrooms. The company isn’t disclosing the size of what it’s calling its Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, but in a blog post, Google VP of News Richard Gingras said the goal is to fund “thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally,” through awards ranging from “low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.”

6. Newsroom could be locked down because of protections measures against the virus but journalist are continuing work. Remote, from home and in small teams.The newsrooms that will survive and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world will be the newsrooms that embrace the shift to distributed teams”, writes Niemanlab . The NYTimes wrote about their changes in the newsroom: “Journalists across more than a dozen departments, and a few continents, are stepping up — and shuffling roles — to meet the challenge”.
6.1 Now that we work remote and online for a longer period traveling will change. Video conferencing proved to more efficient, saving time and money. Zooming in stead of flying. Working on a story together with a small team is a piece of cake using Teams. And finally training data journalism could be helped by using e-learning environments like Moodle.

7In reporting on the pandemic data are vital. Understanding numbers and visualizations are highly demanded qualifications. Data journalismanalyzing data - corona data - with free tools for a wide audience is a top priority.

woensdag 25 maart 2020


On R-bloggers I run into an article "How to create a simple Corona virus dashboard specific to your country in R" ( by a Belgium data scientist Antoine Soetewey. He created his own dashboard  based on data from Johns Hopkins Corona virus resource center ( He made the source of his dashboard visualizations public and invites everyone to rewrite it for his own country.

Here is my dashboard for the Netherlands:

Here are more resources: "Top 15 R resources on Novel COVID-19 Coronavirus", 

maandag 23 maart 2020


Twitter heeft de politieke communicatie veranderd. Ten eerste creƫert Twitter een gelijk speelveld. Iedereen kan twitteren. Er is in principe geen onderscheid tussen de participanten, of het nu politici, journalisten of burgers zijn. Een tweede belangrijk effect van Twitter is dat het directe communicatie mogelijk maakt tussen politieke leiders en hun aanhang. De journalistiek als filter en spreekbuis wordt gepasseerd.
De Amerikaanse president Trump heeft het regeren middels Twitter tot een kunst verheven. Ook Nederlandse politici laten zich niet onbetuigd en gebruiken Twitter om direct met hun aanhang te communiceren. Het doel is om een bepaald item op de politieke agenda te zetten of om druk op de besluitvorming uit te oefenen. Twitterpopulisme zou omschreven kunnen worden als een vorm van politieke legitimatie via Twitter en de druk van de Twitter aanhang. In het onderstaande wordt dit populisme in het twittergedrag van een aantal politici nader onderzocht.