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Lauren Rabaino

Center for Investigative Reporting Launches API For Veterans Affairs Investigation Data

After publishing an investigation of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ backlog of disability benefits claims, the Center for Investigative Reporting has now made all of its data open and usable for others via an API (application programming interface). Read more

15 Steps For Changing Newsroom Culture

Change is hard. We all know that. But something about being in a newsroom makes it harder — the legacy systems, old habits, the necessity of providing content for old and dying mediums. But I think now more so than ever, newsrooms are ripe for change. They’ve been resistant for so long, but now I’m witnessing them coming around. The turnout to NICAR this year was the largest ever, Pulitzers are being awarded more often for digital storytelling, breaking news events keep teaching us more and more about social and mobile consumption. So in a very anecdotal way, I think the news industry might finally be at a place where it’s stopped denying that it’s moving too slow. Now, how to make that jump? This is my list of mechanisms, published here as a more thought-out version of an Ignite Talk I gave at West Virginia University last week. Not everything on this list will work for you, but it’s based on lessons I’ve learned first-hand and observed elsewhere.  Read more

15 Resources For Journalists To Learn About Statistics

Journalists don’t do math? In an age of open data, that’s an excuse that no longer flies.  The list below, compiled from the smart people on the NICAR listserv thanks to a request from The Associated Press’ Michelle Minkoff, contains resources to help you get started with the basics of statistics and data analysis.

1. “New Precision Journalism” by Phillip Meyer (Book)

“The New Precision Journalism” shows journalists and students of journalism how to use the new technology to analyze data and provide more precise information in easier-to-understand form. It covers the history of journalism in the scientific tradition, various elements and techniques of data analysis, the use of statistics, computers, surveys, and field experiments, database applications, how to do an election survey, and the politics of precision journalism. This is an important resource for working journalists and an indispensable text for all journalism majors.

2. ”How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff (Book)

 Darrell Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to fool rather than to inform.

3. Coursera: Passion Driven Stats (Online Course)

In this project-based course, you will have the opportunity to answer a question that you feel passionately about through independent research based on existing data. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in generating testable hypotheses, preparing data for analysis, conducting descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, and presenting research findings.

Read more

Guardian Launches User-Generated Content Platform, GuardianWatch

The Guardian has a new way for the community and newsroom to connect to tell stories via the web, an iPhone app and Android app. GuardianWitness is the organization’s new “open journailsm” platform that lets readers submit pictures, videos and text to journalists directly from an assignment.

Selected contributions will go anywhere on The Guardian’s publishing platforms. From the announcement:

If your submission is picked up by a journalist it could go on to be featured across the Guardian – in print and online – which means you can help set the news agenda and become part of the Guardian’s award-winning journalism.

The platform is a partnership with EE, the UK’s first and only superfast 4G mobile network .

‘Code With Me’ Journalist Training Workshop Headed To Portland

Code With Me — the traveling two-day workshops that teach journalists the basics of HTML, CSS and javascript — is making its way to Portland, Ore. in May, and deadline to apply is tomorrow night.

This is the third and largest yet workshop organized by ProPublica’s Sisi Wei and The New York Times’ Tom Giratikanon. In August, they hosted a workshop in Washington, D.C. and went to Miami in February.  May’s workshop will bring together mentors and students from the Pacific Northwest region — including Seattle, where I’m located.

Wei and Giratikanon’s style of teaching is one of the most effective I’ve seen for programming yet — it’s a 2:1 student:mentor ratio, meaning individual attention and a closer, freer environment for asking questions without leaving the whole group behind. As someone who has both trained large groups of students and tried to take larger instructive workshops to learn, the only way that really sticks is one-on-one.

This program is truly for beginners.  Here’s the applicant eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a journalist or a student studying journalism
  • You must have little or no coding experience

If you know anyone in the Pacific Northwest — or someone who is willing to travel to Portland — spread the word. Deadline to apply is April 6 at 9:00 p.m. PST.   If you can’t make it to Portland but know your town would be perfect for an event like this, email the team.

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