Briggs: Chapter 9

March 22, 2012

Data-Driven Journalism and Digitizing Your Life

As we live in the information age, data is a major portion of our personal and professional lives. This chapter offers insight on how to enhance productivity using digital tools.


  • Manage your email account by utilizing filters and folders to organize content.
  • Limit the time your email is open to avoid distraction.
  • Spend no more than two minutes on every email. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your inbox is empty before you sign off.
  • Scan emails and mark the important ones that call for more attention.

Personal productivity tools:

  • Find the fewest solutions that will do the most for you.
  • Electronic management systems such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live Suite work best for creating, managing and  sharing lists
  • Doing business online, or cloud computing, allows you to access your files from any location

Develop a strategy:

  • What you need to manage + right tools to manage it = personal productivity
  • Consider cost, compatibility and internet connectivity when choosing the right tools.
  • Office suites include Google and Office Live.
  • Specialized Solutions include programs such as Remember The Milk, Oh don’t forget, Evernote and Backpack.


  • Store your contacts electronically on a spreadsheet or database.
  • Enter any new contacts to your email program or a spreadsheet so you can develop potential news sources.

Bring structure to your work with project management programs.

  • Basecamp is a valuable project management tool for group collaboration.

Data-driven journalism:

  • Create searchable online database.
  • Information that is categorized into fields in a spreadsheet or database is called fielded data.

Telling stories with data:

  • Pull content from databases to create alternate story forms.
  • Share data through application program interface (API), which represents a connections of data and technology between Web sites.
  • APIs  create new distribution channels and generate interaction among Web sites.
  • Create spreadsheets and databases to track, manage and organize contacts.
  • Map mashups organize physical location data and show geographic displays on maps that are broken down by categories.
  • Geographical, location based storytelling is an in intuitive and innovative way to deliver news and connect with your community.

Digitizing your life with personal productivity tools can open new opportunities to delve into a more dynamic, transparent and interactive form of journalism.

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