An Announcement…

For those who are part of the tourism industry you may have seen that Tourism Australia is making some changes.  My role is being made redundant as part of those changes and I will be leaving at the end of June.  Having been there 16 years I am still wondering about what to do next.  Hopefully I can make what comes next as special and as rewarding as it has been working here.

TA Announcement

Categories: General

Achievement Unlocked

23 March, 2013 2 comments

Well, I’m not quite a published author yet… (and frankly that is really unlikely)… but I have done something I set as a goal for myself a year ago. Yay for me!

Here is a link to an iBook I have built (50Mb). It is a review of the Men’s Gold Medal game from the Australian Volleyball League 2012. It has videos and some analysis in there. You will need an iPad with iBooks 2 to read it.


I’m sure that this book will have a few errors in it, some things could have been done better…not to mention those who will just ask why.
But I set myself a goal to try and learn about the Apple environment and do some work in it.

And now I have.

Comments, ideas, sharing, congrats etc. all appreciated.




Crime in NSW – MOOC wk 6 Exercise

7 December, 2012 Leave a comment

This post is the week 6 exercise for the Knight Centre for Journalism in the Americas Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) course on the Introduction of Infographics & Data Visualisation that I am currently working through.

The exercise is to design an interactive graphic using any data we want. I have chosen to use the statistics on crime in my home state of NSW. The data for this is freely available here.

Crime tends to get attention by itself, but is often sensationalised beyond what is a reasonable level. This graphic will aim to take the number of reported offences by local government area from 1995 up to 2011, and comparing it to population data, assess whether there is more or less crime in any given area. The opening page will ask the reader to guess whether they think the rate of crime has increased/ decreased over that time but will not make a direct comparison to the readers guess (why hurt their feelings?).

This becomes their entry then into being able to see the different slices of the data – so for different geography & types of crime.

A map of NSW will be the main element of the view. A trend chart and a bar chart would be used on the bottom and side of the map to provide further detail. Some additional automated text would then provide specific details. There would also be an option to change over the map to a grouped set of column charts to show different geographies.

A slider for time would be used as the controller and filter – the bar chart for offences would be filtered to the selected year, but the trend chart would have an indicator to show where the year was up to.

If I had more resources I would aim to source local and state news articles showing reporting in the media of the major crime in each area for each year of data. I would then include that specific article/ image as an annotation available to the reader at the most detailed level.

I have tried to have a play in Tableau to see how close I could get to the look, but it wasn’t close enough for my liking so I have used a screenshot of the Tableau Dashboard as the main item to describe my design, rather than upload the interactive to Tableau Public.  My full design is here –  Crime in NSW Interactive Design – Wk6 Task.

Categories: Competition Entry

Unemployment in the US for MOOC Course

26 November, 2012 Leave a comment

This post is the week 4 exercise for the Knight Centre for Journalism in the Americas Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) course on the Introduction of Infographics & Data Visualisation that I am currently working through.

The exercise is design an interactive graphic using the US unemployment data by state that was recently published by the Guardian Data Blog. (the data is here).

My point of view is that unemployment is a statistic that gets lots more airtime in the news than it should. It is a statistic which can hide an incredible amount of the depth of what is really going on. Commentators from both sides (and neutrals) can use the same sets of unemployment statistics in support of their point of view and so the message around a single figure can be just about anything – sometimes even for the same figure.

…So I shall make the goal to have my readers get a better understanding of what this often used statistic is hiding and why it isn’t trustworthy as a single figure… The aim will be to use the US state data as a backdrop to this, by showing unemployment rates with the data behind them.

Effectively we will try to appeal to people to see the story behind the story, being able to intelligently question what they are told – and probably find a story that better suits their world view.

To do this effectively I would seek a range of secondary statistics by state. I am going to assume that most of these would be available rather than specifically sourcing each one at this point.

My design is here.

Categories: Competition Entry

Aid Transparency Exercise for MOOC

18 November, 2012 Leave a comment

This post is an exercise for a Knight Centre for Journalism in the Americas Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) course on the Introduction of Infographics & Data Visualisation that I am currently working through.

The exercise is to make some detailed sketches of an interactive graphic of your own design covering the data from the Aid Transparency Index – (data is here  , report is here ). The task asks you to imagine that you are pitching an idea to your boss the editor for the creation and publication of an interactive infographic using this data as the key element.

Awesome I think. Transparency & Aid. I could have got into either topic, but the 2 of them together should be great.
And then I looked at the data… I don’t really know the agencies involved. I was expecting Red Cross, Medicine Sans Frontiers, World Vision and others like that, but instead it’s the Australian Agency for International Development. I’m sure they do great work, but no idea who they are…
So ….lots of rather faceless large scale agencies and some data which tells me whether another rather unknown agency thinks they are playing by (their) rules on transparently providing aid.

So…since this is for a journalism based course…I thought…
…Maybe this should be about what the reader thinks is good transparent aid…

My design is all about letting the reader make their own choices and see what happens compared to the original Index.

Aid Transparency Index Inteactive Design – Wk3 Task

It has 3 pages.  Opening front page, small picture of main page with descriptions of the interactions, and a larger version of the main page.

Looking forward to everyone’s feedback.


PS. A touch rough around the edges…a little too much day job and other job work on at the minute…


Categories: Competition Entry

It is our view. Not mine

15 October, 2012 Leave a comment

One person drops a pen – they bend down and pick it up…

2 people drop a pen at the same time – they can have a conversation about a chance meeting…

100 people drop a pen at the same time – its chaos..

“My birth cry will be the sound of every phone on this planet ringing in unison” – Jobe Smith, Lawnmower Man, 1992.

Make sure you drop your pen on time. Get into Blog Action Day (#BAD) on 15th October

Categories: General, Personal

To Board or Not to Board

25 May, 2012 2 comments

I recently resigned from my position as the Chairman of the NSW Volleyball Referees Association. This was due to the workload and time commitment being too much to deal with.  Such is the challenge of an entirely volunteer run organisation. A paid member of staff to do the ground work would have been an amazing opportunity, but not one we could afford.

I have since had some time to dig into other things in NSW volleyball…and so now I have nominated for the State Volleyball NSW Board because I think I can help to improve the state of volleyball in NSW…Why? (more in my bio)

  • More communication about what SVNSW is doing
  • More participation in volleyball across NSW
  • More accountability for the actions, dollars and performance

At the end of the day though…I want my sport, the sport where I met my partner and have made many many friends, to  still be going strong when my little girl grows up and wants to play. Balloon volleyball isn’t going to cut it forever…



UPDATE: Damon Minotti (candidate from UNSW) asked me to include his bio here as well.

Some Additional Details…

I have played around with some of the financial information in the SVNSW annual report below.  It’s one of the things I do… Take a look and make up your own mind. Don’t just believe me.
My guesswork is probably wrong in places – particularly in terms of player numbers. It doesn’t have to be.  If SVNSW want to share figures then these don’t have to be estimates.  And I would be very happy to update these calculations if these numbers and further breakdowns are known.
– That’s one of the things I want to see brought to the Board.  We should know.
– And it should be very clear how SVNSW spending has been matched to the overall objectives.

Based on the financials within the annual report (and some guesswork), I estimate that SVNSW spent over $250 per player for V-League, but collected over $120 per player for National Juniors.

The information below shows financial support for 3 specific competitions (School competitions, U15s and V-League),  leveraged by the larger involvement from other competitions (State Volleyball League, State Cups, National Juniors).  And outside of the spending here, under $4,000 was spent on junior development – and I haven’t even tried to estimate how many people that might represent (but I guess it would be around 1,000 – making it about $4 spent per player).

Looking through the administration costs shows some big costs as well.  Just for one example, SVNSW spent about as much on its telephones as it did on junior development.

State Volleyball NSW AGM Website & Annual Report Documents from here
AVF Annual Reports from here

Categories: Personal
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