Melissa is here to share her work as a data journalist who uses Python. By the end of our conversation you’ll understand:
- What is data journalism?
- Why are Python and SQL great languages for data journalism?
- What skills does a data journalist need?
- Who is doing some of the best data journalism these days?
Q&A with Data Journalist, Melissa Lewis
1. What is data journalism?
Data journalism means using data to tell stories. For example, that could mean using infographics like in Emily Eng’s work at The Seattle Times, or it could mean presenting raw datasets to increase transparency or support a thesis, as in The Texas Tribune’s government salaries explorer.
2. What skills does a data journalist need and why are those important?
A data journalist often has a journalism background but also relies on a strong set of skills for parsing data using coding languages like Python, SQL or R.
3. How could I get started doing some “tiny data journalism” in my local area? Maybe I don’t want to become a data journalist, but I’m curious to see what data is available.
Ask for records! People think of this as a journalism thing, but records serve the public. They are your right!
Mentioned in this episode:
- Ida B. Wells as a data journalist
- Portland homeless accounted for majority of police arrests in 2017, analysis finds
- Melissa Lewis –The Metaphor of Semaphore: Explaining the Internet – DonutJS February 2018
- The Portland Police Bureau use of force report where 96/221 people on which force was used were “transient”
- Tableau graphics
- Census and federal funding
- Eyeo Festival, annual data visualization conference
- Amanda Cox’s talk “Visualizing Uncertainty”
- Commute story with margin of error
- The Queen podcast, for which author interviewed other authors like David Grann, who wrote Killers of the Flower Moon, and James Forman Jr.
- “Racially charged”
- AP Stylebook section on data journalism
- Methodology for ProPublica’s investigation into racial disparities in bankruptcy filings and outcomes
- Methodology for Kept Out, Reveal’s investigation into modern day redlining
- Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science
- Matt Davis’ Twitter profile
- Jessica McKellar’s How the Internet Works talk at PyCon 2013
- Center for Open Science
- Think Python 2e
- Regexextract google sheets
- Regex101.com, tool to compose and learn regular expressions
- Numbers in the Newsroom
- Khan Academy Statistics
- Precision Journalism
- Hack Oregon