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Posts Tagged ‘data analysis’

Need Data For a Story? You Can Now Buy It From ProPublica

logo-printJournalists writing about health, business and transportation issues can now purchase extensive data sets from independent, nonprofit reporting outfit ProPublica via its Data Store.

Launched Feb. 26, the store allows news organizations and individual reporters to “shop” for research that ProPublica has either been given access to by the federal government through FOI requests, or data resources gathered by ProPublica’s internal team. The site is launching the experiment to see whether the store might add a unique revenue stream to ProPublica.

Let’s say you need some figures on mortality rates along with cause-of-death data: ProPublica will link you directly to the data they have found from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for free (they’re linking from their site to ensure you’re getting the most current numbers). The same goes for data on nursing home deficiencies and documented oil/gas pipeline incidents, which ProPublica also provides links to.

But for the datasets that the investigative journalism provider has collected as a “result of significant expenditures of time and effort,” ProPublica will impose a one-time fee: $200 for journalists and $2,000 for academic researchers.

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Mediabistro Course

Get a Literary Agent

Get a Literary AgentWork with a publishing consultant to find the right agent for your book and write a query that will get the deal done! Starting December 3, learn the best methods for finding a literary agent, how to choose the right agent for your book, the etiquette of seeking literary representation, and how to stand out among the numerous queries agents receive daily. Register now!

Improve Your Data Journalism Skills, For Free

In today’s journalism environment, data is abundant, but journalists skilled at collecting, interpreting and maximizing it are not as plentiful. These are real skills that can improve your reporting today and improve your job prospects in the future.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to do your journalism job better (which probably should just be a standing resolution anyway), here’s a great free way reporters, editors and designers can improve their data journalism skills.

From European Journalism Centre, the people who brought us the Data Journalism Handbook, comes this five-week online course starting early in 2014: Doing Journalism With Data: First Steps and Skills

Among the topics to be covered by some industry experts: Read more

Harnessing Big Data to Measure Media Impact

The Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism announced a new program today aimed at measuring media impact. With $3.25 million in funding from the Knight Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Lear Center Media Impact Project hopes to help news outlets and journos understand engagement on a deeper level. Sure, journalists can measure engagement by number of retweets or Facebook ‘Likes.’ But just because many people retweeted a headline doesn’t mean that the story will promote change. (Especially if they haven’t even read it.)

“The metrics that have been used for this have been astonishingly primitive,” Martin Kaplan, director of the Lear Center, told The New York Times. The center is in the process of assembling a team of journos, analytics experts and social scientists to figure out how media affects the behavior of consumers. According to a post on the Knight Blog, the project aims to: Read more

Improve Watchdog Journalism Skills With Sunlight Foundation Free Training

Feeling nostalgic for back-to-school lately as your Twitter feed and Facebook wall fill up with posts about first days and weeks of classes?

Journalists already on the job, both recent grads and lifers, don’t have to feel left out. Here’s a chance to bone up on your data analysis skills, learn more about tracking congress, and learn other skills to make you a better reporter and investigator. Best of all: The training is tailored specifically to journalists, including to their budget — which is to say, it’s free.

The Sunlight Foundation launched a series of online training courses, known collectively as Sunlight Academy, this month to help reporters better master their craft, with a heavy focus on watchdog tools and tips. They also have several politics related modules that can help track the presidential and other election campaigns as we head into the last few months before November.
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3 Things Journalists Should Ask About Their Data

Have you ever read a news article that cited confusing statistics or some fuzzy math that didn’t seem to make logical sense or add up? Chances are, the math and stats didn’t make sense to the reporter who wrote it either.

Whether it’s quarterly earning statements, census figures or standardized testing results, journalists on all beats can’t avoid data. It’s ubiquitous and, thanks to the Internet, readily available. Unfortunately, “data literacy” isn’t quite as common.

It’s one thing to know technical skills like how to format, filter and sort, and run basic pivot tables or access queries, and it’s another to really understand the data and math itself, let alone why the numbers matter and what they mean.

That’s why I was excited to see this post at Media Helping Media: “Journalists – become data literate in three steps.” The post outlines three questions every journalist should ask before diving into their data:

  1. How was the data collected?
  2. What’s in there to learn?
  3. How reliable is the information?

Go read the post to learn more about why these questions matter most, and specific instances where they can make a very big difference. It’s a piece taken from the Data Journalism Handbook, which is worth checking out in and of itself, though more of a time committment.

Data literacy really boils down to good journalism, and the more you understand the numbers and their source, the more confidently (and correctly) you can report them.

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