Collaborating with computers to parse “big data”

Posted by on Jan 18, 2010 in Blog, CAR, sql, theory, web | No Comments

Picture it: You’ve been given a new story assignment, and you have to leave for the interview in five minutes. You’ve got to have enough background to ask the right questions, but there’s no time to do research.  Somehow pulling that all-nighter on an English term paper in college seems like a cakewalk. Luckily, you’re […]

Data Delver: Ted Mellnik, Charlotte Observer database editor

Computer-assisted reporting is important because of its potential for reporting and analysis.  Visualization is important to present the information to readers. They both fall under the responsibilities of Ted Mellnik, database editor at the Charlotte Observer. His passion for data is as clear from a conversation with him as it is from his work.  Combine […]

Why technology matters: It’s about reporting

Posted by on Jan 11, 2010 in Blog, CAR, programming, theory, web | No Comments

“Figure out what you want to do, and get really good at it.”  That’s been the overarching advice I’ve heard in the past few weeks, as I seek to understand where I might fit in the “new media” world.  It all sounds fine, although the more I meet interesting people who’ve been looking at data […]

Importance of combining data analysis with context (reflections on readings from week two)

“Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions,” Edward Tufte, Visual Explanations This chapter gave practical examples of something I’ve been saying from almost the first day of my data analysis journey — that it’s absolutely fundamental that the decisions behind the analysis are shown to the reader/user.  Data’s never perfect, and if […]

A list of 40 CAR-friendly news organizations
(my adventures in parsing the IRE directory)

Posted by on Jan 11, 2010 in Blog, CAR | 2 Comments

Sure, data-driven reporting investigations sound good, but how does an aspiring journalist know which organizations are most supportive of that kind of work? I don’t believe there’s one all-encompassing way to tell, but I would argue that one measure might be the number of Investigative Reporters and Editors-card-carrying members in a news organization. And why […]

Which states have been hit hardest by unemployment in the last decade?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2010 in Blog, CAR, class, data visualizations | One Comment

I matched up the unemployment rates for each state in November 2009 with the unemployment rates from Nov. 1999, that is, the same measurements from a decade prior. Then, I calculated the absolute change of the unemployment rate, to see which states have been hit the hardest, looking at the quantity of citizens they are able to keep employed.

Data set here, culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reflections on Visualization Theory (Data viz readings, week 1)

In this first set of reading, I learn that the principles of simplicity, accuracy and more are as true in data visualization as they are in a text story. Edward Tufte, Visual Explanations, “Images and Quantities” In Tufte’s first paragraph of Visual Explanations, he discusses the importance of readability — a concept I see as […]

My new perspective on math – it’s a journalistic tool!

Posted by on Jan 4, 2010 in Blog, class | No Comments

Tomorrow, Jan. 4, means the beginning of an end to my formal graduate education. It’s the first day of my final quarter at Medill. I’ll be returning to the Evanston campus for the first time since June 2009, primarily for an independent study on data visualization with Medill professor Rich Gordon. I’ll also be taking […]

Changes in how we travel across U.S. borders

Posted by on Dec 30, 2009 in Blog, data visualizations, projects | No Comments

Traveling is something we often take for granted nowadays — at least, I know I do.  And as situations in my life have changed, I’ve been thinking about all the different types of transportation I use.  I’m a bit more reliant on my car in the Chicago suburbs, and while I griped about the Metro […]

The limitations of SQL and Access

Posted by on Nov 25, 2009 in Blog, CAR | No Comments

Quick tips on how SQL and Access differ in nuances associated with CAR. I speak from the experience Team Data and I have had this week on our CAR project over at Medill.