- Phillip Reese speaks
- Create a Github Pages repository Due by next class
- Find 10 interesting online maps Due by next class
- Read these essays about maps Due by next class
- Look over my comments on your data beat memos Due by next class
Jump to the full details on homework assignments
About Phillip: He and his colleague, Cynthia Hubert, were finalists for the 2014 Pulitzer in Investigative Reporting for their reporting on a Las Vegas mental hospital that bused more than 1,500 psychiatric patients out to 48 states in 5 years. Their investigation resulted in ending the practice, as well as the hospital being stripped of its accreditation.
From its Pulitzer application:
Hubert and Reese sifted through stacks of bus records acquired through public records act requests and found Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas had bused about 1,500 patients via Greyhound over the last five years to cities nationwide. The reporting showed that the hospital, dealing with funding cuts, simply got rid of patients, dispatching them on buses with bottles of Ensure for journeys to cities where some had never been.
Hubert and Reese spent months tracking down former patients and others from California to Maryland. They found and interviewed former patients serving prison time, staying in nursing homes and living on the street. They spent days knocking on doors of current and former Rawson-Neal employees in Las Vegas. Reese crisscrossed California researching criminal files and public records. They interviewed hundreds of people on the periphery and at the heart of the story.
Some of Reese's work:
- Unsolved killings in South Sacramento
- Busing of patients rife in Nevada
- Million-dollar hospital bills rise sharply in Northern California
- Home, fire crews in peril
Notes from his discussion
Reese uses a Chrome extension called "Page Monitor" to quickly see if, among the hundreds of sites he's interested in, any have changed for the day.
Time to create a new repository. Follow the tutorial here Email me if you’re running into problems. You don’t have to make some special just make something and make it visible on the web.
Go onto the Internet. Find 10 maps that are interesting to you and do a writeup, in Markdown, in a file named:
For each map you find:
- Write a short paragraph about why the map is interesting to you.
- Include the URL
Take a screengrab, upload it somewhere online (such as imgur), and include it, e.g. using this kind of markup -
![image caption here](http://example.com/image.jpg)
Just read these, you don’t have to write about them, but we will be discussing them in class:
I’ll read your memos over the weekend and have some comments and suggestions on them. We’ll continue to revise these over the next week.
An introduction to public affairs reporting and the core skills of using data to find and tell important stories.
- Count something interesting
- Make friends with math
- The joy of text
- How to do a data project
Just because it's data doesn't make it right. But even when all the available data is flawed, we can get closer to the truth with mathematical reasoning and the ability to make comparisons, small and wide.
- Fighting bad data with bad data
- Baltimore's declining rape statistics
- FBI crime reporting
- The Uber effect on drunk driving
- Pivot tables
Learn how to take data in your own hands. There are two kinds of databases: the kind someone else has made, and the kind you have to make yourself.
- The importance of spreadsheets
- Counting murders
- Making calls
- A crowdsourced spreadsheet
Phillip Reese of the Sacramento Bee will discuss how he uses data in his investigative reporting projects.
- Phillip Reese speaks
Mapping can be a dramatic way to connect data to where readers are and to what they recognize.
- Why maps work
- Why maps don't work
- Introduction to Fusion Tables and TileMill
A continuation of learning mapping tools, with a focus on borders and shapes
- Working with KML files
- Intensity maps
- Visual joins and intersections
The first in several sessions on learning SQL for the exploration of large datasets.
- MySQL / SQLite
- Select, group, and aggregate
- Where conditionals
- SFPD reports of larceny, narcotics, and prostitution
- Babies, and what we name them
The ability to join different datasets is one of the most direct ways to find stories that have been overlooked.
- Inner joins
- One-to-one relationships
- Our politicians and what they tweet
Sometimes, what's missing is more important than what's there. We will cover more complex join logic to find what's missing from related datasets.
- Left joins
- NULL values
- Which Congressmembers like Ellen Degeneres?
A casual midterm covering the range of data analysis and programming skills acquired so far.
- A midterm on SQL and data
- Data on military surplus distributed to U.S. counties
- U.S. Census QuickFacts
The American democratic process generates loads of interesting data and insights for us to examine, including who is financing political campaigns.
- Polling and pollsters
- Following the campaign finance money
- Competitive U.S. Senate races
With Election Day coming up, we examine the practices of polling as a way to understand various scenarios of statistical bias and error.
- Statistical significance
- Poll reliability
Do your on-the-ground reporting
- No class because of Election Day Coverage
While there are many tools and techniques for building data graphics, there is no magic visualization tool that will make a non-story worth telling.
- Review of the midterm
- The importance of good data in visualizations
- How visualization can augment the Serial podcast
One of the most tedious but important parts of data analysis is just cleaning and organizing the data. Being a good "data janitor" lets you spend more time on the more fun parts of journalism.
- Dirty data
Simon Rogers, data editor at Twitter, talks about his work, how Twitter reflects how communities talk to each other, and the general role of data journalism.
- Ellen, World Cup, and other masses of Twitter data
When the data doesn't directly reveal something obvious, we must consider what its structure and its metadata implies.
- Proxy variables
- Thanks Google for figuring out my commute
- How racist are we, really?
- How web sites measure us
Discussion of final projects before the Thanksgiving break.
Holiday - no class
Holiday - no class
Last-minute help on final projects.
In-class presentations of our final data projects.