Use basic Excel tricks to explore health care data

By Jennifer Lu Judging by the “oohs” and “ahhs” of appreciation from the audience, ProPublica reporters Ryann Grochowski Jones and Charles Ornstein reminded us why the humble Excel spreadsheet is still an excellent resource for data journalists. In this hands-on session, they covered how to use Excel for health care reporting. To cover health care…

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In Pennsylvania, culture of secrecy, Right to Know Law remain work in progress

Pennsylvania’s records laws were for many years among the most restrictive in the country, and though the letter of the law has since improved drastically, freedom of information advocates say the spirit of the law has lagged. Pennsylvania overhaul of its Right to Know Law four years ago was a major victory for government transparency,…

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Document Cloud, Overview help AP investigate vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s record

Jack Gillum of The Associated Press recently published a story showing that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has relied on many of the programs he’s criticized and suggested cutting. The report wouldn’t have been possible without tools like DocumentCloud and Overview, Gillum said in a post on the Overview project’s website. DocumentCloud enabled Gillum to analyze, annotate…

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Transparency Watch: What journalists need to know about FOIAonline

Federal agencies have launched FOIAonline, a tool that journalists can use to file, track and appeal requests for documents and data under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Here’s what you need to know about the service, which was announced just last week. Not all federal agencies are participating. Here’s who’s on board: Department of Commerce,…

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