When the president of the parliament states that there are some MPs “doing nothing,” you know what to do as a data journalist: you turn to the numbers. This is how I did that and how I got a scatter plot in a printed paper and an interactive one online.
The job of journalists in Italy uncovering and reporting scandals about the Catholic Church has changed. The news media are dedicating more space to these stories, while internal factions within the Church have given an advantage to reporters on the Vatican beat. But dealing with the topic can still be quite tricky…
With freedom of information statutes in over 100 countries today, the laws have become a key tool for journalists from India to Mexico. But their success depends on how they’re used and implemented, as Swiss scholar Vincent Mabillard explores in his recent paper, Freedom of Information Laws: Evolution of the Number of Requests in 11 Jurisdictions. We are pleased to present highlights from his paper from the University of Lausanne.
ByJames R. Hollyer, B. Peter Rosendorff, and James Raymond Vreeland |
The relationship between transparency and political stability in democracies is simple: More transparency means more stable democratic rule. As transparency rises, democratically elected leaders are less likely to be ousted through extra-constitutional methods like a coup. In non-democracies the situation is more complicated. But greater transparency still means fewer coups.
At First Draft, we frequently receive emails from a whole range of people asking how they can start doing the sort of online open-source investigation and verification that they’ve seen us doing. The skills and methodologies used are all something that can be learnt through a little persistence, but here are a few pieces of advice to get you started.
When Gustavo Cerati, a legendary Argentinian musician and songwriter, was asked to share his best advice for new musicians, he refused—saying instead that “experiences are not transferable.” You may agree or may not with his statement, but if you’ve ever worn an Oculus Rift or a similar virtual reality (VR) headset, you’ll know we are getting closer and closer to transferable experiences.
Isn’t the best journalism always immersive? Whether it’s Walter Kronkite’s journalistic take on history “You are There” from the 1950s or Declan Walsh’s mobile phone reporting from Syria in June, the best journalism makes you feel like you are part of the story. You care what happens. Virtual Reality is a powerful tool in making journalism more immersive to its readers and increasingly it’s becoming an essential part of the journalist’s toolkit. There are great examples of reporters using VR, such as the work of VR pioneer Nonny de la Peña, The Guardian’s 6×9 exploration of solitary confinement, or the Berliner Morgenpost’s exploration of life as a refugee.
Mexican newspaper El Universal has put a face to the 4,534 women who have gone missing in Mexico City and the State of Mexico over the last decade: Ausencias Ignoradas (Ignored Absences) aims to put pressure on the government and eradicate this situation.
How can you search and analyze collections of documents on your own computers with simple tools? At DataHarvest, Robert Gebeloff and I ran a workshop to answer that question. As people were seemed interested, here’s a write-up of the two key tools we worked with: Apache Tika for content extraction and regular expressions in Sublime Text as an advanced search tool.
In an extract from his book Finding Stories with Spreadsheets Paul Bradshaw explains how to use basic cleaning functions in spreadsheets to make it easier to combine data, including a case study where the same functions were used to speed up a research process for a story.