ACP Digging Deeper

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    06-Aug-2015

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<ol><li> 1. Digging Deeper Investigative Reporting (and data) Jennifer LaFleur Reveal | Center for Investigative Reporting </li><li> 2. Investigative reporting is one of the most powerful tools in journalism </li><li> 3. What is it? Uncovering new information Uncovering corruption or injustice Holding institutions accountable </li><li> 4. http://www.investigative -journalism-africa.info/ </li><li> 5. It often means using data </li><li> 6. It can make this </li><li> 7. Into this </li><li> 8. It gives us the power to check assumptions. </li><li> 9. Source: NHTSA complaint data Findings: unintended acceleration has been a problem across the auto industry. </li><li> 10. It lets us combine information in powerful ways. </li><li> 11. It gives us extremes. </li><li> 12. Caution: This slide contains extreme nerdiness </li><li> 13. Getting the records and data </li><li> 14. If something is inspected Licensed Enforced or Purchased There probably is a database Tips for records </li><li> 15. In rare joyous instances data is readily available online for download Wheres the data? </li><li> 16. Sometimes you have to scrape it. Wheres the data? </li><li> 17. More often you need to go to an agency to get the data This can be tricky if an agency doesnt want to release it. (Stay tuned for more on that) Wheres the data? </li><li> 18. Budgets Parking tickets Elevator inspections Health/food inspections Campus crime Campus data </li><li> 19. SOURCE: Local health department inspection reports FINDINGS: At 28% of the venues, more than half of the concession stands or restaurants had been cited for at least one "critical" or "major" health violation. </li><li> 20. Request records and data early Get out and talk to real people Keep track of your work and stay organized Understand the process of what youre covering Tips for digging </li><li> 21. Students are getting sick from eating in the student center cafeteria. Who inspects the cafeteria? Has it has problems in the past? When/what did the students eat? Did any of them file complaints? Understand the process </li><li> 22. Request records and data early Get out and talk to real people Keep track of your work and stay organized Understand the process of what youre covering Confirm and corroborate Make it something worth reading, listening to, watching Tips for digging </li><li> 23. Sometimes, there is no data. But its okay because there are techniques for sampling and building a database. </li><li> 24. ProPublica pulled a random sample of 500 names from a list of individuals who had been granted or denied pardons (around 2,000). We created a database from months or researching individuals: their crime, age, sentence We found that even after controlling for other factors, whites were more likely to get a pardon. </li><li> 25. Stories dont end at the records. We must find people to tell the stories </li><li> 26. Source: School district credit card purchases Findings: District card holders made questionable purchases with their cards. </li><li> 27. Data isnt always rows and columns </li><li> 28. Source: 311 calls for downed trees Findings: After a tornado swept across New York City, 311 calls for downed trees helps trace its path </li><li> 29. Bulletproof your data Before ever reporting data or building an app Do integrity checks to find the flaws Add caveats where necessary Do your own analysis rather than relying on an agencys analysis </li><li> 30. External checks Read the documentation. Understand the contents of every field. Know how many records you should have. Check counts and totals against reports. Are all possibilities included? </li><li> 31. Internal checks Compare fields to check for red flags More teachers than students More money going to vendors than to contractors What things just dont make sense </li><li> 32. Integrity checks for every data set Check for missing data or misplaced data </li><li> 33. Integrity checks for every data set Check for missing data, misplaced data or blank fields Check for duplicates </li><li> 34. Integrity checks for every data set Check for missing data, misplaced data or blank fields Check for duplicates Check for outliers and extreme ups and downs </li><li> 35. Truck accidents by year and agency </li><li> 36. Beyond the basics Keep a notes file/git Dont work off your original data/documents Know the source Check against summary reports </li><li> 37. Beyond the basics Keep a notes file Dont work off your original database Know the source Check against summary reports Use the right tool </li><li> 38. Beyond the basics Check with experts Know the standards Find out what others have done Gut check does it just seem wrong? </li><li> 39. Beyond the basics Check with experts Know the standards Find out what others have done Gut check Go physically see a record or spot check against documents </li><li> 40. Checks when youre matching data A name is not enough. Lots of people have the same name Get dates of birth and other information to make sure you have the correct person. </li><li> 41. Even people with seemingly unique names arent so unique </li><li> 42. Be transparent: Bounce your findings off targets and tell users/readers/viewers what you did. </li><li> 43. Erroneous government databases can often be a story themselves </li><li> 44. 123456789 compared to 123-456-789 </li><li> 45. Sometimes missing data is the story </li><li> 46. Sometimes you might have to fight for records (Well talk about this tomorrow) </li><li> 47. Resources Investigative Reporters and Editors: www.ire.org Student Press Law Center: www.splc.org </li><li> 48. @j_la28 jlafleur@cironline.org revealnews.org </li></ol>