Seminar to reveal how to turn statistics into possible stories for ‘hacks’

SCOTS journalists are being invited to attend a seminar on how to turn arguably dull statistics into story ideas.

Hosted by Scraperwiki – a project funded by Channel 4 which is developing computer programmes to grab statistical information from websites and turn it into attractive-looking visualisations – the event is being staged at the HQ of BBC Scotland next month.

Called ‘Hacks and Hackers’, the day-long seminar will bring together journalists, computer programmers and website designers, in a competition to find the best stories from relatively impenetrable statistics; for instance, from tables of numbers.

At a recent Hacks and Hackers day held in Belfast, an attractive-looking graph – created using Scraperwiki computer programming – was able to instantly illustrate how all but one of the 18 Northern Ireland MPs elected to Westminster last year gained less votes than the number of people in their constituency who did not bother to vote.

At another event, this time in Liverpool, a set of statistics was reconfigured to reveal the possible impact of extra and reduced ‘bobbies on the beat’ on local crime figures. The digital editor of the local newspaper, the Liverpool Post & Echo, was later quoted, saying: “I’ve just had one of the best working days you could wish for.”

The event is free and is taking place on the 25th. For more information, and to book a ticket, to attend, visit