Open Data For Journalists : How it works, why it matters

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Brief presentation give to Investigative Reporters & Editors NICAR conference, on why journalists need open data (with brief overview of OpenCorporates)

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Open Data For Journalists : How it works, why it matters

  1. 1. Open data for journalists How it’s useful, why it matters Chris Taggart, OpenCorporates, NICAR, Feb 2012
  2. 2. About OpenCorporates
  3. 3. About OpenCorporates tions isdic tes 7 jur nies in 4 22 US sta compa clud ing 6million In wov er 3No
  4. 4. A simple (but huge) goal: anentry for every corporatelegal entity in the worldBased on the company number and jurisdiction(no monopoly id)
  5. 5. A simple (but huge) goal: anentry for every corporatelegal entity in the worldBased on the company number and jurisdiction(no monopoly id)
  6. 6. A simple (but huge) goal: anentry for every corporatelegal entity in the worldBased on the company number and jurisdiction(no monopoly id)
  7. 7. The simple search
  8. 8. The simple searchNot to be underestimated
  9. 9. The simple searchNot to be underestimated
  10. 10. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)
  11. 11. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)
  12. 12. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)Allows what if questions
  13. 13. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)Allows what if questionsPotentially generatesstories in its own right
  14. 14. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)Allows what if questionsPotentially generatesstories in its own right
  15. 15. Source for additional info
  16. 16. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites...
  17. 17. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites...
  18. 18. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety...
  19. 19. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety...
  20. 20. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety... Other IDs: SEC, CAGE, charity....
  21. 21. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety... Other IDs: SEC, CAGE, charity.... Coming soon: lobbying registers
  22. 22. Reconciliation(matching names to legal entities)Cleans upmessycompanynames (&previousnames) tolegal entity,and from thereto other data
  23. 23. The database/platformAPI: allows allinformation to beretrieved as data,even searches
  24. 24. Why care about open data?
  25. 25. the freedom argument
  26. 26. Information is the currency of democracy Thomas Jefferson** This quote has also been attributed to Ralph Nader
  27. 27. ATA is the currency Information D of democracy Thomas Jefferson** This quote has also been attributed to Ralph Nader
  28. 28. ATA is the currency Information D of democracy Thomas Jefferson* We live in a big data world. Our lives are not just governed by data, they are data* This quote has also been attributed to Ralph Nader
  29. 29. ATA is the currency Information D of democracy Thomas Jefferson* We live in a big data world. Our lives are not just governed by data, they are data The biggest databases in the world are private not governmental – social networks, search engines, finance companies, supermarkets...* This quote has also been attributed to Ralph Nader
  30. 30. ATA is the currency Information D of democracy Thomas Jefferson* We live in a big data world. Our lives are not just governed by data, they are data The biggest databases in the world are private not governmental – social networks, search engines, finance companies, supermarkets... These are enriched by public data that are only available to purchase* This quote has also been attributed to Ralph Nader
  31. 31. ATA is the currency Information D of democracy Thomas Jefferson* We live in a big data world. Our lives are not just governed by data, they are data The biggest databases in the world are private not governmental – social networks, search engines, finance companies, supermarkets... These are enriched by public data that Getting worse are only available to purchase in USA* This quote has also been attributed to Ralph Nader
  32. 32. the journalism argument
  33. 33. Good journalism = datajournalism
  34. 34. Good journalism = datajournalismBut the data is complex
  35. 35. Good journalism = datajournalismBut the data is complexSplit across multiple datasets
  36. 36. Good journalism = datajournalismBut the data is complexSplit across multiple datasetsThe links are not clear and often redacted
  37. 37. Good journalism = datajournalismBut the data is complexSplit across multiple datasetsThe links are not clear and often redactedAnd without both access and the right to reuse thedata, you can’t even begin to make sense of it
  38. 38. Good journalism = datajournalismBut the data is complexSplit across multiple datasetsThe links are not clear and often redactedAnd without both access and the right to reuse thedata, you can’t even begin to make sense of itEven then, it’s HARD
  39. 39. Good journalism = datajournalismBut the data is complexSplit across multiple datasetsThe links are not clear and often redactedAnd without both access and the right to reuse thedata, you can’t even begin to make sense of itEven then, it’s HARDBut that’s why it’s worth doing
  40. 40. In short, this only works:
  41. 41. In short, this only works: SELECT companies.* FROM companies INNER JOIN government_suppliers ONcompanies.id = government_suppliers.company_id INNER JOIN directors ON companies.id = directors.company_id WHERE government_suppliers.total_received > 5000000 AND directors.convicted_tax_evader = true
  42. 42. In short, this only works: SELECT companies.* FROM companies INNER JOIN government_suppliers ONcompanies.id = government_suppliers.company_id INNER JOIN directors ON companies.id = directors.company_id WHERE government_suppliers.total_received > 5000000 AND directors.convicted_tax_evader = true if you can get the data

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