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This was originally published on the ProPublica Nerd Blog.
By Ryann Grochowski Jones, ProPublica
I think I’m a decent arbiter of people’s appreciation of data. I worked at IRE’s data library as a grad student and I’ve attended four consecutive NICAR conferences. At ProPublica, I work with complex data sets every day. I help run our data store, so I can see how excited data-savvy reporters can get when working with great data sets. So you’ll forgive me if I viewed attending Health Datapalooza with a small bit of skepticism. Surely, I thought, a bunch ...Read more ...
See this post and more like it at NICAR talk, our data blog: ire.org/nicar
Mike Soraghan is an oil and gas reporter at EnergyWire (an arm of E&E Publishing) and former NICAR bootcamper from 2013. For those of you who have been to bootcamp, you remember Open Lab, held (almost) every night after class wraps up for the day. Even back then, Mike was toiling over some nasty-looking data on oil spills.
Last month EnergyWire published Mike's story about smaller oil spills, the kind of spills that don't usually make it into the news but ...Read more ...
Online polls provide quick and easy ways to invite audience engagement in stories. The only problem is that few polling tools are ideal; either they lack flexibility, or they just don't look very nice.
Take PollDaddy. It's great at polls, but you're only allowed one question per poll (a survey allows more questions, but displaying the results isn't as nice). You also need a corporate account to get a lot of the options that make it attractive, and not all publications have the budget for it.
Google Forms also allows multiple-question polling, but once again the ...Read more ...
The deaths of a young couple and a 4-year-old child in a Christmas Eve fire exposed significant problems with landlords renting dilapidated and dangerous properties in Columbus, Ohio.
In the immediate aftermath, city officials – acting on public outcry – made promises to fix its broken housing code system. But when the outcry died, so did those promises, prompting The Columbus Dispatch’s “Legacy of Neglect” series.
The four-day series produced such overwhelming results that the mayor, other city officials and their housing code enforcement unit immediately declared war on slumlords who, our reporting found, regularly rented houses with unsafe electrical systems ...Read more ...
No such records exist. That’s the message Paige St. John received when she requested audit records on the Los Angeles County Probation Department’s GPS monitoring program.
Despite the rocky start, the Los Angeles Times reporter went on to break the story about trivial alerts from GPS monitors overwhelming probation officers in LA County. Officers had been using the monitors to track thousands of felons moved out of California prisons due to overcrowding. Receiving as many as 1,000 alerts a day, officers had come to frequently disregard the notices.
St. John began her investigation back ...Read more ...
In the flood of paperwork that made its way each year to the Hawaii legislature, a shocking statistic slipped under the radar: About once a week the Honolulu Police Department was suspending or firing an officer for misconduct.
Often the offenses were serious – abusing suspects, lying to federal investigators, tipping off drug dealers. And for nearly two decades the information was kept quiet. Legislators paid little attention to the annual reports. Officers who resigned or got suspended for misconduct were shielded by a political loophole in the state’s public records law. Paperwork documenting the wrongdoing was often destroyed.Read more ...
By Ellen Gabler
Data we’ve received so far was the backbone to this investigation into delays in the nation’s newborn screening programs and other related stories. But about two dozen states and the District of Columbia won’t release meaningful information. (Check our interactive to see which states are in the doghouse.)
Here’s why it matters: Nearly every baby born in the U.S. has blood collected shortly after birth to screen for ...Read more ...
The votes are in and the 2014 NICAR T-shirt has been selected!
The winner is a black T-shirt with “DATA OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN”. The winning design comes from Jeremy Bowers of NPR.
Bower’s design will be on sale at the 2014 CAR Conference in Baltimore and the IRE store. In addition, Jeremy will receive $50 to use in the IRE Store and a free T-shirt.
In second place is "NICAR!" from two-time defending champion Ben Welsh, Los Angeles Times, and in third place is Jeremy, again, with, "SPREADSHEETS OF FURY.” Both will be on sale as stickers.
They called us “hackers,” alerted the FBI and threatened a civil suit. But we were only doing our jobs.
The conflict arose as my colleagues at Scripps News and I reported on a trove of 170,000 highly sensitive documents that we’d found publicly posted online via a Google search. As we pursued the story, the company that had failed to secure its records forced us to address allegations that we’d broken the law.
Our experience provides several lessons for other newsrooms collecting and using sensitive records, including:
Record your process. A Scripps broadcast journalist shot footage of ...