Friday, April 29, 2016

UN wants media to be more 'constructive' - here's some constructive UN website QA

The other day, the UN urged the media to take a more 'constructive' approach to news. The folks of The Guardians, not the blogster, put constructive in quote.

The quotes say it all, don't they?

The task before us is "we need responsible media that educate, engage and empower people and serve as a counterpoint to power". Educate and engage are easy to get behind, but empower and serve as a counterpoint make for  a challenging newsroom, given that money and power have their own agendas, no matter how constructive the media tries to be.

If you have watched American mainstream news, you do get engagement and empowerment with the various small "award" or "good deeds" segments at the end of the evening news.
You also get lots of news that you would call constructive in the sense of advocating some project, some plan, some company with the relentless optimism of a press release.

Since there is, of course, no such thing as "the media" or "the news" pure and simple, the blogster trusts its* readers to find uplifting and constructive news by themselves.

If you enjoy graphs and charts, check out Our World in Data. The site has a wealth of statistics and context information, it is a joy to browse.

Don't be a stickler for maps with correct political boundaries, though.

Countries in Europe and elsewhere have seen their borders expand or contract over the centuries, and you simply need to be aware that the maps don't take most of these changes into account but seem to be from the mid 1990s.

As to the United Nations data offerings on the internet, well, they could use some quality assurance.

We to this Launch page and clicked some links.

The great news is that the Population division works ( The still good news is that you do get data as Excel spreadsheets here:

Excel? Yes, but let's be constructive. So, Excel is good.

Here is some constructive, if random, QA: 
Page not found 404
Page not found 404
Server not found

Not nice error   
                                   Draw chart
                                   Your selection is too large for a graph. Please reduce it. Your selection has 34629 cells. The maximum is 20000.Your selection is too large for a graph. Please reduce it. Your selection has 34629 cells. The maximum is 20000.

* We are gender neutral around here.

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