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Teemo Tebest is a Data Journalist at Yleisradio (Finnish Broadcasting Company).
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
My background is in information technology and I used to work at a university as a researcher. In 2010 I got to know data journalism as a term. Data journalism was very very intriguing to me while my postgraduate studies involved visualizing information and data journalism seemed like a way to make use of my skills to a larger audience.
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Back then I started a blog called Data Journalism where I was able to publish my work and I got a little bit name in the area. In 2012 I joined the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) as a developer but throughout the year I started to make more and more journalistic work. In 2013 Yle formed a data journalism team called Plus Desk, and I was part of it. Since then I’ve been doing data journalism as a professional and I’m one of the most recognized data journalists in the Nordic.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
The thing I like about my work is that days are not alike. Our team is part of the news organization and we make stories from all areas of life so I don’t have the time to get bored. Some days are quieter when you are making, for example, some data analysis but other days can be very hectic when you are trying to finish your project day before publishing.
Our team’s work tends to last a week or more so there are always different phases of projects. But in any story, we make the collaboration between people is very important so discussion and sharing ideas at the office is quite typical for each day.
To make it short I’m at the office with my many screens making bad jokes.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
At the office, I run a Macbook pro with 2 extra screens. I also have a PC for testing purposes which in meanwhile shows competitors websites.
As for programs:
- IDE: Sublime Text
- Version Control: Source Tree
- Music: Spotify
- Cloud: Google Drive
- Social media: Whatsapp, Flowdock, Slack, Messenger
- Terminal: iTerm2
- Web: Chrome
- Other: Gephi, QGIS, Keka, GPG Keychain, LastPass, Cyberduck
WHAT DO YOU TO GET INSPIRED?
I seek inspiration from examples from other publishers and from outside the media industry. For example, games have a lot to give to journalism. People spend a lot of their free time nowadays playing games so there is something that we could learn in journalism.
If I see something I think works I implement it to some story that we have. I find examples from Twitter and also colleagues tend to link good examples to our group chat.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
I found a piece on Twitter couple years ago. I don’t know the source but I think it sums up many things that I find relevant.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
I can’t say but one of the most recent ones which were very well made was this video from The Las Vegas Shooting: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/insider/reporting-on-las-vegas-pixel-by-pixel.html?_r=0
From my point of view, it nicely combines data with video. Usually video content reflects only feelings and limited point of view but here the New York Times has very successfully combined user-generated content with data and facts.
WHAT’S THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
For the Olympic Games, I’m designing a group of stories which would tell about Finnish athletes. It has been new to me because usually, my part is more in implementing and reflecting other people’s ideas. To script a story on my own has been a challenge but also it has been very fun. We’ll see if all of my ideas can be done.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
There is no silver bullet but for me, the success story was that I found my expertise from outside my profession. Meaning that I thought that I would become a software engineer but instead, now I’m an awarded journalist. And always remember that you are the expert in your area and no one knows stuff better than you do.