The advancement of technology and availability of complex data tools has been a real boon to society, but utilizing the wrong tools for the job can have dire consequences. Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from October 5 to 11 finds British media organizations the BBC and the Guardian reporting on a blunder by the English national health authority: it used the wrong Excel file format to store data, resulting in the loss of thousands of COVID-19 test data results. Meanwhile, German television news program ZDF heute highlighted how the Arctic has reached record high temperatures this year, DCist and Spotlight DC examined problems in the process of evictions, and we find Information is Beautiful offering a daily feed of uplifting news among the gloom of 2020’s news cycle.
Investigative journalists can discover story leads from scrutinizing financial or asset disclosures. Data journalist Paul Bradshaw shares nine ways to find stories in companies’ accounts, including looking out for conflicts of interest, and mapping connections between companies and directors.
Income and asset disclosures by public officials, now mandated in some 160 countries, can play a key role in investigations of corruption and public accountability. By definition, these filings don’t reveal hidden wealth, but they can be catalysts for research. The unveiling of false statements by officials has at times led to political scandals. Disclosure legislation generally requires that a specific range of public officials (such as members of parliament, heads of state, and cabinet members) declare their financial and business interests. The laws vary greatly in the detail required, how frequently the reporting must occur, whether they apply to more than federal officials and whether compliance is monitored.