Code in Journalism Roundup

New and Updated Interactive Features

This set of contributions from the journalism-code world covers a lot of ground: nursing home safety and accountability, open data access issues, new approaches to sports data, and several updates and posts related to the mass shooting last week in Newtown, CT.

The Sandy Hook School Shootings

Mother Jones updated its “Mass Shootings in America” map and timeline with information about the shooting in Newtown, CT, and charted fatal shootings and gun-related injuries using data from the Firearm and Injury Center at Penn, which was unable to publish a full report in 2012 due to lack of funding.

The Globe and Mail did a state-by-state interactive breakdown of US gun laws, with options to view them by region and regional political leanings, and the Guardian looked at how many guns are sold in the US using FBI data on the number of applications to buy guns filed in 2012. The Washington Post collected a series of visualizations and studies about guns and mass violence in the US, and Reason ran a post questioning assertions about an increase in the frequency of school shootings.

Computational social science post-doc Brian Keegan analyzed Wikipedia editors’ behavior in the wake of recent mass shootings, including Sandy Hook, and sociology professor Kieran Healy’s visualizations of CDC and OECD data on assault deaths in the US and internationally, originally inspired by the Aurora, CO massacre, received wide attention, and information science post-doc Mark Reid graphed relationships between gun deaths and gun ownership, and wrote a detailed walkthough of his process.

New and Updated Interactive Features

ProPublica’s Nursing Home Inspect Tool

ProPublica updated and significantly beefed up its Nursing Home Inspect tool, which they released in August of this year. Charles Ornstein and Lena Groeger announced the update alongside a feature article into the disparity in consequences after two nursing-home deaths, and noted the relationship between their investigation and the updated tool:

In the Texas case, at the recommendation of state officials, CMS imposed a fine against The Springs nursing home of $9,500. In the other, acting at the suggestion of South Carolina officials, CMS required Unihealth Post-Acute Care-North Augusta to pay a fine of $305,370.

These disparities aren’t unusual, it turns out. But they are now much easier to spot using ProPublica’s expanded Nursing Home Inspect tool (pictured above). We’ve mapped the differences among states in finding serious violations and parceling out fines. Here’s more on how to use our updated tool.

The Guardian also created a detailed interactive chart of global causes of death in 1990 and 2010.

La Nacion released a Tableau-based interactive visualization of Lionel Messi’s record-breaking number of goals in 2012

The Information Is Beautiful team released a CO2 visualization based on nine different data sources to accompany the Doha climate change talks.

Slate and the New America Foundation mapped and detailed internet takedown requests submitted to Google by the governments of more than 50 countries, using Google’s Transparency Report and MapBox. (More details available at Slate.)

New Code

The LA Times Data Desk open-sourced shp2svg, a Django-powered tool for converting GIS shapefiles into SVGs, and wrote a post on how they made it.

Event Report-Backs

storyark, one of the projects that emerged from the 2012 TimesOpen Hack Day

The New York Times did a wrap-up of its 2012 TimesOpen Hack Day, where prizes went to NYCHere, an “app that uses Foursquare check-ins to tell you which NYC neighborhood you’re in, and links to Times stories about that neighborhood,” storyark, which visualizes the “long tail of news stories” using NY Times topics, and Ted Talks, an app that offers Times quotes for interjecting in conversations, along with a measurement of their “Snoot level.” (They also collected links to more articles about the hack day.)

The Guardian’s government spending visualization

ProPublica’s Amanda Zamora wrote a Nieman Lab post about what her team learned from their experience with Free the Files (which has broken $1B in logged ad buys).

Earlier this month, on the data-acquisition side, the Guardian released its fifth annual breakdown of its problems getting data from UK government departments—problems which have worsened each year despite governmental statements about transparency. (They also released a gigantic and very detailed visualization of the information they were able to get.)

MapBox’s Chris Herwig wrote about “The Trouble with Geoportals”:

Open data is not truly “open” if it is inaccessible. As the open data space matures, domestically and internationally, we need to start talking about best practices for making open data more open and accessible. I’m going to go over a few of the key takeaways from my recent work, highlighting some successes and failures in providing geodata at the state and local levels in the United States.

The BBC released an “experimental mood GUI” for its iPlayer media player as part of an effort to automatically classify the mood of video content using signal processing techniques. BBC R&D also announced a collaborative project with Queen Mary University of London and I Like Music to automatically map the mood of songs, and did a detailed write-up of their work to date.

Wired’s Playbook broke down the network analysis work Jennifer Fewell and Dieter Armbruster have been conducting on basketball.




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