Data Journalism for W&L

I’ve been invited to Washington & Lee University on Wednesday to talk about data journalism. Here’s an outline:

What is data journalism? Stories that are based on an analysis of government records, statistics, information and other data.

The power of data

Distraught people, deadline results (Washington Post)

Welcome to Avoyelles Parish, where poverty, race and drugs collide (News21)

How Much Is Your Arm Worth? Depends On Where You Work (ProPublica)

Claimants see injustice in judge’s denials (Sean Collins-Smith & Brandon Shulleeta | VCU)

Skills involved in data journalism

Online research — Google operators, deep web, social media

Data acquisition — downloading, scraping, negotiating

Data analysis (and before that, cleaning) — sorting, calculating, grouping, joining

Data visualization — making charts, maps; putting data online

Open data

Student loan defaults from the U.S. Department of Education

College Scorecard, also from the U.S. Department of Education


Crime data from the FBI


Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory: TRI home page | data download page | Record layout

Excel data files (simplified by Jeff)

ABC store sales: annual reports (PDFs)


Data to FOIA/negotiate for

Marijuana possession arrests

Data visualization tools and Datawrapper for charts

Datawrapper for choropleth (thematic) maps

Carto and Google Fusion Tables for point maps and advanced maps

Tableau for interactive dashboards


WTOP Tax Day story

Getting bumped from airlines | Published in AltDaily

ABC sales: WTVR story

Chart in Infogram

Thematic map in Datawrapper

Point map in Google Fusion Tables

Search tool in Caspio

Posted all our data

Quiz: How well do you know Virginia alcohol?