Project description

My portfolio reflects how I use data journalism to break important local exclusives that would not otherwise be told. And I do it every day. I write an overall of four investigations a week that are published across all our local publications. Me and Trinity Mirror Data Unit I work with write six stories a week. I am able to do this through exclusive analysis and using interactives that explain the story to the public. My stories reflect at a local level breaking news or are based on the actual investigation over an issue. This portfolio contains just a portion of stories I wrote for our local newspapers.
“1 in 3 people fail the British Citizenship test – but would you pass? Try our quiz” – published across most of our local newspaper and at a national level- shows how a successful FOI can be turned into an interactive story with a quiz that created engagement with readers. The story highlights an issue – the difficult test people need to take in order to become a British citizen – that would have gone untold without the use of FOI and which contributed to the debate around the recent Brexit referendum results. The use of an interactive quiz allows the readers to experience first-hand how hard is to pass the test, increasing their engagement with the story.
I wrote the data analysis for “The huge difference in house prices in neighbourhoods right next to each other” in reaction to the tragic blaze of Grenfell Tower, which showed the extent to which deprivation and wealth can exist side by side. I used a complex analysis of several datasets to show that huge gaps in the average property prices in neighbouring wards is an issue everywhere and not only in London. [link1]
In the story on negligence claims by the NHS, I made a complex national issue relevant to local readers with an exclusive analysis that shows the extent of the same issue at local level providing further vital information on NHS. [Link 2]
For the story on deliberate self-harmed children hospitalised, I started from the national figures and, once noticed that number were high, I asked for the data at local level broken down by age in order to see whether there was a trend for specific ages. It turned out that there was a relevant trend in some areas. [Link 3]
The cuts on spending on social care story is one of the stories of my series of analysis of councils’ spending, which includes analysis on sexual health spending, obesity and home care [Link4, link 5, link 6]
I also analyse data as they are published by the government on the same day in order to provide our local newsrooms with figures at a local level for a story running at a national level.
Here two example of the use of figures on national insurance number allocations for different areas. [link 7, link 8, link 9]
Please note that despite the joint byline on the pieces, the investigation and copy were completed by me alone before being uploaded in local newsrooms.

What makes this project innovative?

I bring data at a local level. This makes my portfolio innovative. I write stories that otherwise will be untold in local areas.
My ability to analyse data allows me to compare big data sets and find the best angle to tell the story in an understandable way for the readers.
Furthermore, my analysis are not only a simple description of numbers. When I have the clear picture of a trend, I contact experts asking to comment and explain it. I always tend to answer the question “Why?”.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

Bringing data at a local level helps the community to be aware of specific issues and triggers the debate around it. Experts and charity that helped me to explain the trend also share my articles in their social media increasing the chance that more people read a story about their area.

Source and methodology

I often start from national stories and I look for the data to see if there are the same trend at a local level.
I use official sources like ONS, NHS, FOIs, NOMIS, Stat-xplorer. I also ask for data companies, charities and those who run researchers. Most of the times, I analyse data matching more than one datasets, it depends on the story I am working on. In order to very my data, I make research and I check the reports that normally are published together with data. In case of doubt or just for extra meticulosity, I share the data with other members of the Trinity Mirror data unit and I check the data with them.

Technologies Used

I mainly use Libre office and google spreadsheet to analyse my data. I also use Tableau, infogram, carto to visualise them, when I need to see if there is an actua trend and when it come to create interactive, the data unit has coders that helps.

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