Data journalism<br />City University Magazine MA<br />3 March 2011<br />
Data matters<br />You may not think data plays a massive role in journalism, but it does. From the Wikileaks files, to financial, political journalism - and even consumer journalism too - data helps you tell stories.<br />Some things are too big for you to explain in words alone<br />Two sides to this:<br />Getting the data and<br />Visualising it (that’s what we do next time)<br />
“The new data techniques used in this Guardian investigation begin to tackle the problem: using an automated script coded by ScraperWiki, all the separate all-party register entries are pulled into one document, so the data can be analysed to give a fuller picture.”<br />
“the key thing here is to learn how to solve your own problems. Asking a tutor should be your last resort - they will not be there for the rest of your life!<br />
Task 1: Use advanced search techniques to find data for a journalistic question<br />Identify a question you have - or a set of data that may be useful. Failing that, have a look at GetTheData.org and try to answer one of the questions there.<br />Use Google's Advanced Search facility to narrow down your search. Try the following:Limit by filetype: <br /><ul><li>filetype:xls will restrict results to Excel spreadsheets;
.police.uk - police websites, including British Transport Police, the Met and others</li></li></ul><li>Limit by website:<br /><ul><li>site:bolton.gov.uk will further limit results to just one website, rather than all local authority websites.
Likewise site:city.ac.uk would only return results from City University's website</li></ul>You can limit your search further by using quotation marks so that only pages containing the exact phrase are returned, e.g. "annual report"<br />You can also expand it by using 'Boolean' operators like OR, e.g. "site:gov.uk OR site:police.uk"<br />Look up 'Boolean operators' to find out other tricks<br />Combine the above to limit your results - e.g. "deaths in police custody filetype:xlssite:gov.uk"<br />Also try to search for 'database' - the contents of databases are 'invisible' to Google so you're looking for the page that allows you to search it.<br />Try other 'operators' such as <br />+ before a search term to ensure it is in the pages themselves, e.g. +custody<br />phrases in quotes, e.g. "deaths in custody"<br />The * wildcard, e.g. "deaths in * custody"<br />The ~ operator for synonyms, e.g. ~deaths <br />