The Data Journalist: Getting the Story

The Data Journalist: Getting the Story

by Fred Vallance-Jones, David McKie


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The Data Journalist: Getting the Story by Fred Vallance-Jones, David McKie

The Data Journalist: Getting the Story is the definitive introduction to using data and technology in reporting for both journalism students and working practitioners. The text covers both the basics and more advanced techniques, discussing what data is, where it is stored, how it can be used, and, ultimately, how it can drive incredible journalism. Covering all of the major methods used by modern journalists, including current and cutting-edge technologies such as Google Fusion Tables, ArcMap, and Ruby on Rails, The Data Journalist demonstrates how to tell stories with data and how to combine the results of data analysis with traditional reporting. This engaging overview of the field pairs the theory and principles behind each method with examples drawn from top stories from around the world. It walks readers through the key techniques using detailed overviews paired with instructive online tutorials, offering readers both a theoretical and practical approach to incorporating data journalism into all media. Written in an accessible manner and suited for use by students and journalists alike, The Data Journalist is an invaluable guide to combining the results of data analysis with traditional reporting to create compelling journalism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199020065
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 03/01/2017
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Fred Vallance-Jones, Associate Professor, University of King's College,David McKie, Instructor, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University

Table of Contents

Aurthor Biographies
Part I Introduction
1. Introduction
The Origins of Data Journalism
Technology: The Tools of Data and How Journalists Use Them
2. Online and Open Data
What You Will Learn
The History of Open Government and Open Data
What Kind of Data Can You Get?
Chicago's Crime Database
Toronto Payment Card Data
Road Accidents in the United Kingdom
Vancouver Food Vendors
Mine Accidents
Data Quality Concerns
Steps to Take When Working With Any Dataset
Study Questions and Exercises
3. When Data Is Not Conveniently Available
What You Will Learn
Informing Yourself
Negotiating for Data
Making an Effective Request for Data
After You Make the Request
The Answer
Study Questions and Exercises
4. Spreadsheets: The Basic Tool
What You Will Learn
So What Exactly Is a Spreadsheet?
Fundamentals of Spreadsheets
How Journalists Use Spreadsheets
Getting Data into a Spreadsheet
Getting to Work
Simple Analysis
Doing the Math
- Functions Big and Small
- Calculating Percentages
- Calculating Rates
Dealing with Errors
Working with Dates
Summarizing Information with Pivot Tables
Logical Functions and IF Statements
Using Paste Special to Convert Formulas to Values
Study Questions and Exercises
5. Working with Databases
What You Will Learn
Working with a Database
Building Relationships
Database Programs
Making Tables and Adding Data
The Main Course: Querying your Data
- The Language of Queries
- Writing Math Queries
- The GROUP BY Clause
- The HAVING Clause
- Aliases
- Joining Tables
- Some Notes about Joining
More Advanced Queries
- Outer Joins
- Union Queries
- Subqueries
- Using Calculated Fields and String Functions
- Creating Views (MySQL)
- Improving Query Performances by Adding Indexes
- Queries to Alter your Data
- Exporting Query Results
Building your own Database
Some Final Thoughts
Study Questions and Exercises
6. Introduction to Maps in Journalism
What You Will Learn
Maps Are Not Reality, but Representations of Reality
Web Mapping Services
Getting your Data onto a Web Map
Data Not Already in a Map Format
Your Data Is Ready, How To Use It?
What Kinds of Maps Can You Make?
- Boundary Maps
Some Important Design Principles
- A Choice of Styles
- Choosing Appropriate Colours
- Setting Breakpoints
Study Questions and Exercises
7. Working with GIS Programs
What You Will Learn
The Inside Story
Ellipsoids and Datums: Modelling the World
Four Properties: Direction, Area, Shape, and Distance
How Datums and Projections are Incorporated in a GIS
Basics of a GIS
How Spatial Data Is Structured
- Metadata
- Geometrics
- Attributes
- Working with Layers
How Journalists Use GIS Programs
- Joining Non-Geographic Data with Geographic Data
- Selecting Features that Meet Certain Criteria
- Buffering
- Joining Data Based on Geographical Location
- Making a Chloropleth Map
- Geocoding
Common Problems and Solutions
- Projecting and Re-Projecting a Map Layer
- Converting File Formats
- Simplifying Polygons
- Combining Layers into a Single Layer
- Combining Features within a Single Layer
Special Considerations Relative to Coordinate Systems
- Using a Map Layer that has Only a Geographic Coordinate System
- Using Maps Based on Different Geographic Coordinate Systems
- Using an Inappropriate Projected Coordinate System
Study Questions and Exercises
Recommended Further Reading
8. Visualizing Data
What You Will Learn
A History of Visualization: From William Playfair to the Present Day
Choosing the Right Chart
- The Pie Chart
- A Bar Chart
- The Line Chart
How Journalists Use "Data Viz" Tools
- One Producer's View
Study Questions and Exercises
Part II Advanced Topics
9. Web Scraping
What You Will Learn
The Underpinnings of Scraping
Options for Scraping
First Steps, Thinking through your Scrape
Coding Basics
Getting Ready to Code
- Fetching the Page
- Scraping More than One Page
- More Complicated Scrapes
The Ethics of Web Scraping
Study Questions and Exericses
Additional Resources
10. Web Development
What You Will Learn
State of Developers in Newsrooms
Core Languages Used by Newsroom Developers: An Introduction to the Work Environment
- The Server-Side: Writing for your Own Machine
- The Client-Side: Writing for Everyone Else's Machine
Case Study: Using freeDive
Working with JavaScript Libraries such as jQuery and D3
Study Questions and Exercises
Additional Reading
11. Incorporating Data Journalism into Traditional Reporting
What You Will Learn
Why Data is Just the Beginning
Finding Outliers that Lead to Human Stories
Testing your Data in the Real World
Connecting Data Patterns with Real-Life Patterns
Building Powerful Interviews and Writing the Story
Study Questions and Exercises

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