What is it: It’s an open source web app (currently in private beta), which will help journalists without coding skills to produce data driven interactives which can be incorporated into websites.
Use for News: Cloudstitch has recently won $35,000 funding from the Knight Foundation to develop the platform further. Cloudstitch say,
‘With Knight’s backing, Cloudstitch will be exploring how spreadsheet-driven apps can enable journalists to create and customize interactive, data-driven stories without needing programmers in the loop’.
Upside: In an interview with Abigail Edge of Journalism.co.uk, Ted Benson, co-founder of Cloudstitch said he hopes that the app will do for data what WordPress did for online publishing.
‘We can build beautiful websites with great typography now, and the next logical step is to put data online and let people interact with that data. So we think this is very important for the same reason that WordPress was important. It helps journalists, people with stories, to tell better, more complex and more involved stories in a new way.’
Cloudstitch runs off Google Doc spreadsheets and therefore has a grounding in the familiar and will also allow for sharing and collaborative working with a team. It is hoped that it will be particularly useful within smaller newsrooms where journalists with less advanced programming skills can design their own data driven reports without needing help from experts.
Downside: A good knowledge of using spreadsheets and some basic HTML is required (but not much).