Tips for building smart, clean spreadsheets

By Amanda Nero Sandhya Kambhampati, most recently a Knight-Mozilla fellow working in Berlin, Germany, helped CAR Conference attendees turn mediocre spreadsheets into ready-to-use data for analysis. Kambhampati took attendees through the dos and dont’s of formatting data in Excel. The session focused on the top errors she and her colleagues have run across in newsrooms…

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In a big freelance project, a little organization up front goes a long way

By the time I sat down to write the 6,000 word article I’d been reporting for the past several months, I was ready to quit. I had over 50 interviews, thousands of pages of documents and reports, contact information and source names all stored across my phone, random word documents, email drafts, and actual paper…

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Discovering data at the IRE Conference

Jewel Loree, of Tableau Software, uses her hands to illustrate how the software reformats data into columns during the Tabluea Public for beginners session. Photo by Travis Hartman. By Kathryn Sharkey It’s a word mentioned over and over at the IRE Conference, whether you’re at a specific panel on the subject or not: data. This…

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Adding depth to coverage of election results

For help in the scramble to provide instant results and analysis — all while sorting through close decisions on the local and federal level —  check out these resources for adding depth to your election night coverage, the day after stories and long range post-election stories. Also, check out our look at data-driven stories leading…

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Behind The Story: Investigating credit report errors

Courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch When Jill Riepenhoff and Mike Wagner began researching credit report errors in 2010, virtually everyone they spoke with knew someone who had been affected.  Although the industry lacks an official outlet for consumers to dispute credit claims, the reporters’ nationwide FOIA requests returned nearly 28,000 files from the Federal Trade…

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With one week left before Philip Meyer deadline, a look at past winners

There is only one more week until the Nov. 2 postmark deadline for the Philip Meyer contest, and we want to see your work. The Philip Meyer Journalism Award recognizes stories that incorporate survey research, probabilities and other social science tools in creative ways that lead to journalism vital to the community. Established in 2005,…

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Behind the Story: Investigating a building collapse, creating an interactive timeline

A normal day on the local government beat became two months of investigating for Lansing State Journal reporter Lindsay VanHulle.  After a portion of the residential St. Anne Lofts building collapsed in East Lansing, Mich., VanHulle discovered problems in the city’s building code and development programs.  Prior to the building’s collapse, these problems allowed unpermitted…

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Help us design a NICAR T-shirt

The journalists who attend the Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference do many things for their newsrooms: They analyze data, build websites, write stories, scrape and acquire records. To honor this work, the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting will sell a T-shirt celebrating the data geek in us all. Proceeds from the shirt will help raise funds for…

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