Media Magazine columns

Digging into the panama papers data

May 29, 2016

If you've been fascinated by the revelations in the Panama Papers leak, you can now delve into some of the data used by the international team of hundreds of journalists who spent a year on the project before going public in early April. [...]

Should J schools teach code?

January 20, 2015

Should journalism schools teach code? Some argue urgently for teaching code; others counsel teaching a few basics; still others say journalists should know about code, but leave the actual coding to others. [...]

Mining for the best tools

January 7, 2015

This is a slightly updated version of the column that originally appeared in the Winter 2013 edition of Media magazine. Oh, how times have changed. When I first started working with data in 1995, there were really just a few tools available for what was then the emerging field of computer-assisted [...]

Data journalism continues to gain popularity

January 7, 2015

Originally published in Media magazine, Spring 2014. Twenty years ago, I set off to Ottawa from Brandon, Manitoba, for a weekend workshop on computer-assisted reporting at Ottawa’s Carleton University. It was taught by some of the folks from what was then a rather young National Institute for [...]

The federal government says it’s committed to making more data public

January 6, 2015

Originally published in Media magazine, Winter 2014. If the government of Stephen Harper is to be known for one signature achievement, it may well be the iron grip it has placed on the flow of information. Harper has taken control to new heights with his clampdowns on federal scientists and the [...]

CIPS/MANIX Case before the Ontario Divisional Court

January 11, 2008

This judgement, discussed in detail in a recent Media Magazine piece republished on J-Source and in the Media Magazine columns section of CARinCanada, dealt a blow to access to electronic data in Ontario, if computer programs have to be written to extract [...]

Of losses, and wins in the courts

December 12, 2007

An expanded version of the column published in Media Magazine, Winter 2008 The courts in Ontario are busy taking away with one hand, and giving with the other. The cause of computer-assisted reporting in the province has been dealt a blow by a decision from the Divisional Court that essentially [...]

A whole new kind of Office

January 8, 2007

Originally published in Media Magazine, Winter 2007 It’s a standard complaint among software users that subsequent versions of programs are often just incremental improvements over the last. At times, it seems they’re nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to slip more money from our [...]

Catching up with Michigan

January 4, 2007

Originally published in Media Magazine, Winter 2006  I recently had one of those dreadful experiences that sometimes befall Canadian  reporters talking CAR with an American colleague. Brad Heath of the  Detroit News and I were sharing beer and a sandwich before our presentation at the Crossing [...]

Are we going too far with privacy?

January 11, 2005

Originally published in Media Magazine, Fall 2004  The last time I wrote in this space I was about a case in Ontario’s Divisional Court with important implications for data access in Canada. A Toronto collection agency was fighting with MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, [...]
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