A common theme to this week’s data journalism stories: education. French independent online news site Mediacités looked into social segregation in that country’s schools, Nature investigated the representation of marginalized castes in India’s academia, and Tagesspeigel examined 100 years of student housing in Germany. Our weekly NodeXL and human curation of the most popular data journalism stories on Twitter also highlights a project cataloging Native American remains that have yet to be repatriated, a report on the warming Earth, and the past literary canon in US schools.
Indigenous Remains Repatriation Project
Thirty years ago, US lawmakers passed legislation that was intended to ensure the safe return of Native American remains held in museums and research institutions across the country. But by analyzing records from 600 institutions, interviewing tribal leaders and experts, and parsing court records, ProPublica found that the remains of 100,000 Indigenous people have yet to be returned. Journalists created a database allowing readers to search for information on roughly 600 federally-funded institutions that reported having such remains, among them Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the American Museum of Natural History.
Today @ProPublica released a news app that allows you to look up any university, museum or other institution that receives federal money and has the remains of Native American people.
Here's my alma mater, @UF, clocking in at #11
— Ken Schwencke (@schwanksta) January 11, 2023
Castes Limit Diversity in Science
India has a long history of caste discrimination. According to research by Ankur Paliwal in the journal Nature, the gap between privileged and marginalized castes in academia remains significant, despite the introduction of policies to uplift neglected groups. His findings show that the under-representation of castes, such as Dalit and Adivasi, worsen with every tier of education from the undergraduate to PhD level. The data also shows that a majority of research funding is usually channeled to scholars from privileged castes or groups.
For months I collected data about the representation of Dalit, Adivasi and OBC students and researchers at various levels of academia in some of the elite universities in India.
— Ankur Paliwal (@Ankur_pali) January 12, 2023
Disparities in French Education
Universities in France experience vastly different levels of social segregation despite being situated only kilometers apart, per this data story from French online news site Mediacités. It dug into the figures to investigate the extent of this problem. For example, the proportion of students in the northern city of Lille who have unemployed parents in Simone de Beauvoir school (23.5%) is more than three times higher than those from the Arthur Rimbaud school (6.9%), which is less than two miles away. Another investigation on the same topic worth a look: Le Monde’s Les Décodeurs examined the disparities between private and public French schools, including the amount of state funding received, teaching hours, and student-to-teacher ratios.
#education : Dans une enquête data exclusive conduite avec @matthieuslisse pour @Mediacites , nous montrons comment la carte scolaire reproduit la ségrégation sociale entre quartiers des grandes agglomérations, en proposant des ajustements : https://t.co/S2BgfON4Nb
— Denis Vannier (@denisvannier) January 12, 2023
Another week, another dismal climate report showing how our Earth is rapidly warming. This time, European scientists showed how the last eight years were the hottest on record. “Overall, the world is now 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than it was in the second half of the 19th century,” wrote The New York Times reporters who analyzed the data. The team also created maps to document the increasing global average temperature and how 2022 data compared with a 1981–2010 baseline. While 2022 was only the fifth-hottest global year on record, many all-time high temperature records were set in Europe — which had its hottest summer ever — and parts of China, Pakistan, and India endured extreme heat waves last year. Get a peek at the chart and maps in this tweet thread by graphics editor Mira Rojanasakul.
The last 8 years were the hottest on record. A kind of broken record.
For those of us teaching climate change, a grim but (in)convenient fact is that our opening lectures remain the same every year and we only have to change the image and date. https://t.co/ifRL3DA7DA
— Kian Goh (@kiangoh) January 10, 2023
English-Language Literary Canon from the ’90s
If you read literature in college, did you ever wonder who gets to decide which books get on the syllabus? In a fascinating project for The Pudding, Matt Daniels uses a university syllabus archive hosting 1.9 million literary entries to find out what texts from the 1990s are becoming part of the English-language literary canon. The most-assigned book from the ’90s — and one that appears on more than 2,000 college-level syllabi — is Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” about the Vietnam War. To interrogate why certain books become “a dominant force in the literary canon,” while others get forgotten, Daniels adds data points to find out if a book was a New York Times bestseller, its Goodreads ranking, and if it won any literary prizes. Also worth a look: Axios data visualization journalist Erin Davis shared a couple of beautiful charts tracking her 2022 reading habits.
Being an 80s/90s kid, I sometimes forget that this time comparison would be like me reading novels from the 60s/70s when I was in middle school
— Christina P. Gorga (@StyleSTEAMed) January 18, 2023
Tracking NYC Pizza Prices
Since 2014, Liam Quigley has logged the price of every slice of pizza he’s bought in New York City: that’s a total of 464 slices, or 58 a year, nearly five a month. Overall, he spent $1,244 on dough and toppings. His findings? The average price of a slice of pepperoni has gone up by more than a dollar, from just under $3.50 to just over $4.50. The cost of a plain slice increased from $2.50 to $3 by the end of 2022. He also mapped his purchases — but avoided rating them “to avoid controversy and bribes.” His work got a welcoming response from foodies and data lovers. “This is the data journalism we need,” one fan wrote on Twitter. Replied Quigley: “This is what I got a masters degree for.” Jokes aside, he did get an interview request from Bloomberg.
this is the data journalism we need
— Maria Robins-Somerville (@maria_ro_so) January 10, 2023
“Where do people in Germany want to live? Each generation answers this question anew,” according to the journalists behind Zeit Online’s latest project. For a long time, people in that country moved from rural areas to the cities. But using data from the Federal Statistical Office, the Zeit team discovered that the boom in big cities came to an end in 2013, and that an “urban exodus” has intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyzing and mapping moves in and out of 67 major German cities since 1991, the reporters found that in 2021 more than 100,000 people left the big metropolises. The team created a series of charts to visualize the trends. Designer Benja Zehr wrote that “two phenomena are striking: Cities are losing enormous numbers of people between the ages of 30 and 50, and they often lose them to the neighboring districts.” Read Zehr’s tweet thread here (in German).
Remember "The Millions Who Left" by the super talented people at ZEIT Online? They did it again. If you want to see some fine #dataviz today, visit their article about how many people move away from and to big German cities: https://t.co/O84qWxH1rG pic.twitter.com/S52J2MoOu8
— Lisa Charlotte Muth (@lisacmuth) January 12, 2023
Debunking Climate Reforestation Pledges
Tree planting or reforestation is a common climate pledge made by business and governments alike to offset carbon emissions across the globe. British daily The Times looked into the feasibility of these promises and found that fulfilling the climate commitments of companies and countries over the next three decades would require up to two times more land area than what is available on earth. Read a summary of the story in this tweet thread by reporter Max Kendix.
We've seen dozens of governments and companies pledge to plant millions of trees, including the EU (3 billion by 2030). That's mainly to absorb CO2 emissions.
— Louise Guillot (@l_guillot) January 10, 2023
100 Years of Student Housing in Germany
In continuation of the award-winning European research project Cities for Rent, German daily Tagesspeigel is looking into student accommodations across the continent. As part of the series, they analyzed the changing trends in Germany’s student housing over the past century. Journalists found a decreasing number of students living in dorms and increasingly unaffordable costs of student housing.
Studierende in Deutschland zahlen heute anteilig mehr fürs Wohnen als die Gesamtbevölkerung. Wohnheime sollten Studierende entlasten. Geklappt hat das bis heute nicht. Unser Rückblick auf 100 Jahre studentisches Wohnen. @Tagesspiegel @StuWeBerlin
— Helena Wittlich (@HelenaWittlich) January 11, 2023
Tracking Officials Who Backed the Pro-Bolsonaro Coup Attempt
On January 8 this year, supporters of the former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro stormed into and vandalized several government buildings in the nation’s capital with the aim of overthrowing the current, democratically-elected president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Although many political leaders in the country quickly condemned these acts of political violence, a significant number supported or even encouraged the “terrorist act.” The Intercept Brasil monitored the social media accounts of federal deputies in Brazil to investigate how many, and who, defended or minimized the attack.
Por 2 dias, monitorei os perfis de cada um dos deputados federais eleitos em 2022 e identifiquei quais deles defenderam, incentivaram ou ao menos passaram pano para os atos terroristas. Estão todos nessa reportagem, para apreciação dos órgãos competentes.https://t.co/cCLOy4t90s
— Nayara Felizardo (@NayaraFelizardo) January 12, 2023
Eunice Au is GIJN’s global team manager. Previously, she was a Malaysia correspondent for Singapore’s The Straits Times, and a journalist at Malaysia’s New Straits Times. She has also written for The Sun, Malaysian Today, and Madam Chair.
Laura Dixon is an associate editor at GIJN and a freelance journalist from the UK. She has reported from Colombia, the US, and Mexico, and her work has been published by The Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She has received fellowships from the IWMF and the Pulitzer Center.