Archives for category: Code

NICAR 2015 banner
The short link to this list is j.mp/nicar15 (case sensitive).

Consider donating to IRE
Investigative Reporters and Editors logoThis is the fifth anniversary of my NICAR Links List! If you’ve found the lists helpful, consider donating some money to IRE to help them continue training people and bringing NICAR to you. Donate today. You know you want to.

And now, on to business…
It’s back! The annual collection of presentations, tutorials, and resources from IRE’s CAR conference. This year’s event comes to you from Atlanta, March 5 – 8. Keep up with the chatter on Twitter at #NICAR15.

For attendees, IRE has created an schedule in The Guidebook app (iOS, Android & Web). Very helpful for planning the tactical mission known as “managing your time.”

Jeremy Singer-Vine also created CSV & JSON outputs of the schedule, along with the Python scraper to DIY. And there’s a Google spreadsheet with all the sessions. Awesome.

If you’re presenting at NICAR and would like this list to include your resource (presentation, tutorial repo, etc.), please send it using this form, or ping me on Twitter @MacDiva.

If you’re looking for a job, IRE keeps a list of open positions as does Knight-Mozilla OpenNews at Source Jobs. If you’re specifically interested in data visualization jobs, look here.

California Code Rush 2015And finally, NICAR in the Peach State will see its first California Code Rush. The Golden State’s campaign finance and lobbying database is online, and the California Code Rush aims to make the data easier to download, review and republish. It’s an open source project with lots of opportunities to help.

For previous years’ tutorials, videos, presentations and tips see the lists from 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

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Presentations & Tutorials | Software & Tools | References & Additional Resources | Lightning Talks | Work Samples

Presentations & Tutorials


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Presentations & Tutorials | Software & Tools | References & Additional Resources | Lightning Talks | Work Samples


Software & Tools

  • Tarbell – Google spreadsheets-based website publishing tool
  • Landsat-ul: A utility to search, download and process Landsat 8 satellite imagery
  • JPL’s SMAP Viewer (SMAP is “Soil Moisture Active Passive” satellite imaging)
  • Plotly – graph and share your data
  • Plug Tableau into Excel with Tableau’s Reshaper
  • Bokeh Python interactive visualization library
  • markdowneyjr turns Markdown into JSON for slightly easier copyediting of data files
  • Changedetection.com tracks website page changes and notifies you.
  • The New York Times graphics desk’s ai2html changes Adobe Illustrator files into HTML & CSS | example output
  • The New York Times graphics desk’s ArchieML – a structured text format optimized for human writability
  • Minezy email exploration tool (prototype by T. Christian Miller)
  • TimelineCurator works with TimelineJS to extract temporal references in freeform text to generate a visual timeline
  • The Upshot’s Bedfellows command-line tool for exploring the PAC donor-recipient relationship


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References & Other Resources from NICARians


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Lighting Talks


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Presentations & Tutorials | Software & Tools | References & Additional Resources | Lightning Talks | Work Samples


Work Samples

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NICAR14 The short link to this list is j.mp/nicar14 (case sensitive).

Almost 1,000 people registered for the annual Computer Assisted Reporting conference this year, making it the biggest NICAR ever. Thanks again to Stephen Stirling and Frederick Kaimann of the New Jersey Star-Ledger for creating NICAR bingo with code lent by WNYC.

Make note: NICAR 2015 will be March 5–8 in Atlanta.

This is a collection of all the practical knowledge journalists specializing in investigative reporting shared in four days. It is a lot and deep learning takes time, so consider this your archive.

If you went to the conference, Matt Waite has some good advice for how to make the most of the enthusiasm and frenzied exhaustion you’re feeling immediately after coming home. I strongly suggest you not only read it, but take it to heart. Especially the kicker.

Have session materials? Send me email or ping me on Twitter @MacDiva and I’ll add them to this list.

If you’re looking for a job, IRE keeps a list of open positions and OpenNews Source just launched their jobs list. If you’re specifically interested in data visualization jobs, look here.

For previous years’ tutorials, videos, presentations and tips see the lists from 2013, 2012 and 2011.

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Presentations & Tutorials | Software & Tools | References | Lightning Talks | Work Samples

Presentations & Tutorials


Make your first news app (from Ben Welsh)
Build maps with leaflet and mapbox.js (from Becca Aaronson)
Creating maps: principles, mistakes, and potential (from Noah Veltman & Tom MacWright)
• Excel Magic class handout and Excel data (from MaryJo Webster)
• 50 ideas 50 minutes handout (from MaryJo Webster)
Maps and Charts in R: Real Newsroom Examples (from Matt Waite)
Intro to MySQL tutorial materials (from Liz Lucas)
PostGIS + CartoDB (from Michael Keller & Andrew Hill)
Demystifying D3, an intro to the grammar of graphics (from Alastair Dant)
Introduction to D3.js (from Irene Ros)
Demystifying d3.js Workshop (from Irene Ros)
Everyday Scripting (from Agustin Armendariz)
Amazon Cloud Basics (from Scott Klein)
• Grabbing Data from Websites: tips & tricks (from Scott Klein)
Intro to Tableau (from Jewel Loree)
• SQLite from the Command Line slides & GitHub repo (from Matt Kiefer)
Working with NPR’s Apps Template (from Tyler Fisher)
Insight and Enlightenment and an expansion on data, patternicity and biases (from Alberto Cairo)
• Notes from The Data-Driven Story (from Stephen Suen)
• Data-Driven Story: Putting the Package Together slides (from Maud Beelman)
Love Your Life, Retire Your Servers (from Andy Boyle & Tasneem Raja
Getting Started with Excel (from Helena Bengtsson)
NodeXL for Network Analysis (from Peter Aldhous)
• Investigating Racial Inequality in Your Region Presentation | Tipsheet (from Lawrence Lanahan)
Mapping 1: displaying geographical data with QGISHands (from Peter Aldhous)
Mapping 2: Manipulating geographical data with QGIS (from Peter Aldhous)
Counting and Summing with SQL (from Andrea Fuller)
Digging online for global data (from Jonathan Stoneman)
Mining the Census for Every Beat (from Ronald Campbell)
• Census I: Must-have data for every beat slides & handout (from Paul Overberg)
• Census I: Crunching Census Commuting Data handout (from Mike Maciag)
• Census II: slides (from Paul Overberg)
• Data Deep Dive I handout (from Paul Overberg)
Free CAR Tools (from Matt Wynn & Martin Burch)
• Harnessing the Power of the Crowd presentation (from Robert Benincasa) | notes (from Stephen Suen)
What to Consider Before Scraping (from Isaac Wolf)
• Tools for cracking PDFs panelist notes (from Jeremy Merrill) | Notes (from Justin Myers)
• The customized Census: How to use microdata when you just can’t find the right table slides (from Robert Gebeloff) | notes (from Justin Myers)
• Justin Myers’s Dig into business with data investigations notes
• Justin Myers’s Enhance your stories with statistics notes
Mining Health Care Data (from Peter Eisler)
How to make a story map with photos, text and ArcGIS (from Sharon Machlis)
Intro to R & Beginners’ Guide to R (from Sharon Machlis)
A few of my favorite (health data) things (from Charles Ornstein)
How ProPublica’s Prescriber Checkup Came Together (from Charles Ornstein)
Intro to GitHub (from Jordan McCullough)
Collaborative Reporting with GitHub (from Ben Balter)
Mining Nonprofit Data (from Kendall Taggart)
Complaints: A road map for killer investigations & State Consumer Complaint Contacts (from Tisha Thompson & Jill Reipenhoff)
A Reporter’s Guide to Unleashing E-Docs (from Deborah Nelson)
• Learn how to use Census Microdata (from Katie Genadek)
Dataviz for Everyone slides (from Chris Amico, Lena Groeger & Ryan Pitts)
Keeping tabs on crime slides (from Laura Norton Amico)
How to Feel Like You’re Hacking Without Really Doing It (from Samantha Sunne)
Campaign Finance I: Mining FEC Data ZIP file of slides & tipsheet (from Chris Schnaars)
• Storytelling as Presentation Tool Slides (from Chrys Wu, Helene Sears, Aron Pilhofer & Alyson Hurt) | Notes (from Stephen Suen)
Cooking With Hardware (from Team Blinky)
Intro to Ruby (from Al Shaw)
When to Scrape (from Nils Mulvad)
Build a police scanner for $20 (from Ken Schwencke & Jon Keegan)
How Panda Works (from Christopher Groskopf)
• Weathering the Storm presentation & tipsheet (from Stephen Stirling & Ian Livingston)
Make Dirty Day Shine with OpenRefine (from Frederick Kaimann)
• Threat Modeling: Planning Digital Security for your Story video and slides (from Jonathan Stray)
• The Wall Street Journal Encrypted Chat installation instructions
PyCAR Python mini-bootcamp (from Tom Meagher)
Getting Started With Python (from Anthony DeBarros)
• Intermediate Python: Refactoring 101 Documentation | GitHub repo and a well-commented example (from Jeremy Bowers, Serdar Tumgoren & Katie Park)
What is a Data Desk (from Ben Welsh)
• Crossing the language boundaries across your newsroom: journo to dev and back notes (from Stephen Suen)
Intro to Google Earth Engine (from Vanessa Schneider)
• Deep Data Dives notes (Team Al Jazeera US & friends)
Learn Regex (from Amanda Hickman)
Rifling Through the Mapping Toolbox (from Michael Corey & Ryan McNeill)
Census III: mapping & presentation (from John Keefe & Chris Amico)
• How to remove water from census shape files (from John Keefe)
• PDF Scraping With Tabula, including an explanation of its algorithms (from Jeremy Merrill)
• Tracking Hazardous Waste (from Ben Poston)
• Social Media for Investigation tools handout (from Mandy Jenkins & Robert Hernandez)
• Build your Twitter bot army – Notes (from Stephen Suen)
• Connecting Charts to Live Data slides & spreadsheet (from Timothy Barrmann)
• Tips for Covering Money in Politics stories (from Jack Gillum)

Pre-NICAR Events
• Reynolds Center Detecting Corporate Fraud workshop slides & handouts | Joanna S. Kao’s notes
Why Does Fraud Happen? (audio from Theo Francis)
Going through SEC’s 10-Ks, 10-Qs and more (audio from Theo Francis)
Don’t be intimidated (audio from Theo Francis & Roddy Boyd)
• TechRaking 5-ish (CIR) – Bootstrapping the News


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Software & Tools


Campaign Finance Tools (from Aaron Bycoffe)
Computational Journalism on a Stick (from M. Edward Borasky)
FOIA Machine
• What Do They Know (UK FOI)
Wakari.io, Web-based Python data analysis
Oatmeal geocoded
Kartograph framework for building interactive map apps
OpenRefine for data cleaning
The Miso Project for interactive storytelling and data visualization
D3.chart from The Miso Project for building reusable charts with d3.js
TextQL – execute SQL against structured text like CSV or TSV
Rank and Filed – search SEC filings for free
CometDocs (free for IRE members)
Import.io transforms websites into structured data or an API
Investigative Dashboard – helps expose illicit ties that cross country borders
Captricity can extract handwriting from paper forms and PDFs
Tableau plug-in for Excel
Panopticlick shows how unique your browser is. You may not be as private or hidden as you think.
Spark.io – wifi hardware to DIY
• Use GPGTools to encrypt email and manage OpenPGP keys
Google 2-step Verification
• Make a calculator with Equation by Sisi Wei & Steven Melendez
Stacked Up – check that Philadelphia neighborhood schools have all of the required instructional materials before school resumes in fall
Shut That Down – see who’s funding hate in your state
Sunlight Foundation APIs
Census Reporter
IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series) offers complete-count data from 1800s censuses of Canada, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.
• Brown University’s US2010 census project
Website Watcher tracks site changes
• Find phone numbers with AnyWho (U.S.) | Worldwide: Infobel & Numberway
Snap Bird searches your tweets & DMs and friends’ tweets
Foller.me Twitter analytics
• Twitter’s own analytics tools
Tweetbeep Twitter analytics
DownloadThemAll browser plugin
• NPR’s Apps Template
• Chicago Tribune’s Tarbell (Google Spreadsheets + AWS)
Vega visualization grammar
Lyra visualization design environment
Overview Project
Open Source Alternatives a.k.a. OSALT
Tabula
Tineye reverse image search
• Falcon Google Chrome extension for people search
• Cryptocat private chat for Web browsers and iPhone
• Tor Project prevents traffic analysis
Freze saves screenshot + website source code
• Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories


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References


• The IRE-NICAR Database Library
• Alberto Cairo’s blog, The Functional Art
• Mike Bostock’s Let’s Make a Map tutorial
• “How Designers Destroyed the World” by Mike Monteiro
• “The Grammar of Graphics (Statistics and Computing)” by Leland Wilkinson et al.
How to Read Histograms and Use Them in R
What statistical analysis should I use? (from UCLA — Go Bruins!)
Econometrics lectures by Mark Thomas, University of Oregon
Fracking tipsheet (from Mike Soraghan)
FollowTheMoney.org
• Make Tidy Data from start to finish by Hadley Wickham
Easing Functions Cheat Sheet by Andrey Sitnik
Mapmakers Cheat Sheet by Tom MacWright
• Information on the sustainability of digital formats from the Library of Congress
• Scott Murray’s D3.js tutorials
Data Resources for Dams, Impoundments and Levees from Society of Environmental Journalists
ArcGIS Gallery of maps, maps, maps
Causes of Death in the World (1990, 2005, 2010) from Health Intelligence
• The Pew Research Center Data Feed
New Directions in Cryptography (PDF) by Whitfield Diffie & Martin E. Hellman
Best practices for FOIA & government information requests (from Office of Government Information Services)
FERPA Fact fact-checks the use of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act when denying access to public records. A Student Press Law Center project.
• Edward Tufte’s Sparkline theory and practice
A Map That Wasn’t a Map – Mother Jones case study
VINELink – find out if someone is incarcerated
National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
• Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator
Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), St. Louis Federal Reserve
Algorithmic Accountability Reporting paper by Nick Diakopoulus
PythonJournos Google Group
National Historical Geographic Information System
Data.gov – the U.S. government’s open data repository
How to Mail Merge in Microsoft Word
• Easy maps with Ari Lamstein’s choroplethr
Six Provocations for Big Data by danah boyd & Kate Crawford
• Noah Veltman’s explanation of static vs. dynamic websites
• “Building Data Science Teams” by DJ Patil
• The ultimate in user testing (seriously): Test your mobile app on drunk users
• How to set up your laptop to develop news apps the NPR way
• “Multiliteracies for a Digital Age” by Stuart A. Selber (library lookup | Amazon | Southern Illinois University Press)
• Noah Veltman’s Learning Lunches – an effort to demystify technical topics that come up often in newsroom development
• “Reverse Engineering Chinese Censorship through Randomized Experimentation and Participant Observation” by Gary King, Jennifer Pan and Margaret E. Roberts
• Political Framing Blog uses machine learning to find trends in congressional rhetoric


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Lighting Talks


• Refactoring; or Why Your Code Sucks and How to Fix ItChristopher Groskopf
• A Few of My Favorite Wee ThingsLena Groeger
Natural Language Processing in the kitchenAnthony Pesce
• Five (more) algorithms in five (more) minutes GitHub repo | VideoChase Davis
• What we can learn from terrible data viz (slides | Video) – Katie Park
Practical CalculusSteven Rich
• Detecting What Isn’t There – Sisi Wei
• The whole internet in 5 minutes! (Slides | GitHub repo | Video) – Jeremy Bowers
How to Raise an ArmyTyler Fisher
• You Must Learn (Slides | Video) – Ben Welsh


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Work Samples


• Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt (NPR)
The GitHub repo for Planet Money’s T-Shirt Project (NPR)
• BBC News Interactives & Graphics
Visualizing Buffy (data visualization, made with d3.js)
Timeline: Shots fired at LAX Terminal 3 checkpoint (KPCC)
Timeline: The search for Christopher Dorner” (KPCC)
Fire Tracker (KPCC)
Confira a evolução da população do mundo desde 1950 (Epoca)
50 Years of Change tracking LGBT civil rights (University of Wisconsin-Madison cartography, multiple representations of the same dataset for clear explanation, recommended by Alberto Cairo)
HealthCare.gov Explorer (WSJ)
Russia’s Dubius Vote (WSJ – histograms example)
Portraits of the Hundreds of Children Killed by Guns Since Newtown (Mother Jones)
Playgrounds for Everyone (NPR)
Behind the Bloodshed: The Untold Story of America’s Mass Killings (USA Today)
A Special Report on the Rise of Mass Shootings in America (Mother Jones)
Secrecy 101 (The Columbus Dispatch)
Washington: A World Apart (The Washington Post)
NHS Winter Accident & Emergency tracker (BBC News)
The Child Exchange: Inside America’s underground market for adopted children (Reuters Investigates)
Chicago Under the Gun (The Chicago Tribune)
Deadly Delays (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Twisters: Road to Larissa (Adam Pearce)
News Nerd First Projects – “It’s okay. We all sucked once.”

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PBS Off Book wanted to know: “Is code the most important language in the world?” They asked Adda Birnir of Skillcrush, Edd Dumbill of Silicon Valley Data Science, Evan Korth of of NYU and me to weigh in.

I struggle to remember how to put together a pattern search with regular expressions, so I was excited to discover Lea Verou‘s talk from May 2012, which breaks down how to construct them for JavaScript. (What she teaches can be applied to other languages as well.)

Lea is a front-end engineer who works for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She created RegExp Playground so you can experiment with your own regex patterns. She uses it in her talk below.

NYC Ruby WomenA few years ago, I founded a code and social meetup for female Ruby developers called NYC Ruby Women. It’s been great to see a whole spectrum of Rubyists — from highly experienced pros to novice coders, all of whom are women — get something from the group.

As Ruby Women learn more, they want to go from learning the language and working on personal projects to working on teams and bigger projects. In other words, they’re looking for apprenticeships.

I know they’re out there somewhere. So friends, readers, do you know of any? NYC is preferred, but it’s good to know about opportunities in other cities too. (Direct hires only, no recruiters, please.)

There’s a Branch, which I’ve embedded below (a perfect excuse to test Branch’s group feature, which is currently in beta), or you can post a comment. If you’d rather contact me privately, write me here.


One of the most popular posts on Ricochet was the collection of dataviz tools, slides and links from last year’s NICAR conference.

It was so popular, in fact, that people have asked me to make a similar collection again. So from Feb. 23–26, I’ll be updating this post with all the great things NICARians have to share this year.

Follow #NICAR12 on Twitter for the buzz; come to this page for the goods. And if you’re attending the conference, be sure to buy a T-shirt to support IRE, the organization that puts this fantastic event together. Ben Welsh of The Los Angeles Times is taking candid photos and posting them on Flickr.

Have links from sessions you attended? Post them in comments or ping me on Twitter @MacDiva and I’ll add them to this list.

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Presentations & Tutorials


Bringing Maps to Fruition (from Michelle Minkoff)
Free tools for scraping data without programming (from Chris Keller and Michelle Minkoff)
Instructions for Hands-on Web Scraping Without Programming (from Chris Keller and Michelle Minkoff)
Locating the Story: The Latest in Online Maps and mapping links (from Ben Welsh)
Mapping links & presentation (from David Herzog)
Social Media Sleuthing (from Doug Haddix)
freeDive Tips & Tricks (from the Knight Digital Media Center)
CAR on a Shoestring (from Kevin Crowe, Patrick Sweet and Mary Jo Webster)
Regular Expressions: An Introduction (from Kevin Crowe, Patrick Sweet and Mary Jo Webster)
Create a moderation form using Google Forms and Fusion Tables
Scraping with Django (from Kevin Schaul)
How to turn PDFs into a searchable, sortable table (from Kevin Schaul)
Get the Most Out of Fusion Tables (from Rebecca Shapley)
Data viz in 20 minutes: jQuery DataTables (from Christopher Schnaars)
How to set up Python in Windows 7 (from Anthony DeBarros)
Data visualization best practices (from Kat Downs)
NodeXL for Network analysis (from Peter Aldhous)
Network Analysis for News (from Peter Aldhous and Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe)
Network analysis for news (video of Peter Aldhous’s NICAR12 talk)
How to Use Google Refine for Investigative Journalism (from Dan Nguyen)
Mapping is for Everyone – How to make all kinds of maps (from Sharon Machlis)
Advanced Excel techniques tipsheet (from MaryJo Webster)
How do you edit a story made of software? (from Alexander Howard)
Election Night Results & Maps (from John Keefe)
Covering Elections presentation (from Al Shaw)
Making friends with map projections (from Ben Welsh and Michael Corey)
Database validation (from JT Johnson)
Web scraping with Node.js (from Al Shaw)
Who is John Doe — and where to get the paper on him
Practical TastyPie for the Modern Djangonaut (from Jeremy Bowers)
Weathering the Storm: Using data to bolster the traditional weather story (from Stephen Stirling)
Build your first Django news app (from the IRE NICAR12 Django workshop)
GeoCommons walkthrough (from Paul Monies)
QGIS 1 workshop tutorial (from Michael Corey)
Tell Me a Story! – storytelling and data journalism (from Anthony DeBarros)
Human-assisted reporting: How to create robot reporters in your own image (from Ben Welsh)
How I learned to stop worrying and love flat files (from Ben Welsh)
Infect the CMS (from Jacob Harris)
Inspect the Web With Your Browser’s Web Inspector (from Dan Nguyen)
An Intro to R (from Jacob Fenton)
Slides from “Mapping is Hard” (from Brian Boyer)
TileMill hands-on tutorial (from Chris Amico, Brian Boyer and Matt Stiles)
Own Your Map Stack (from Chris Amico, Brian Boyer and Matt Stiles)
Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) basics (from Jacob Perkins)
Connecting to state data using OpenMissouri.org (from David Herzog)
How to convert PDFs to Excel in Windows (from IRE)
Quantum GIS (QGIS) 2 workshop (from Michael Corey)
How to turn PDFs into text (from Dan Nguyen)
Web scraping in Python workshop tutorial (from Mark Ng)
Infiltrate the Ad Department (from Ryan Pitts)
Map Graphics for Video (from Michael Corey)
What We Can Find Out from Elections (from Aaron Bycoffe)
The Latest in Mapping with Javascript and jQuery (from Timothy Barmann)
How to Make a PANDA (from Brian Boyer)
The Farenthold Surprise (election panel presentation from Derek Willis)
Displaying data geographically: Creating a one-layer map in ArcMap (from Tom Meagher)
An intro to csvKit (from Christopher Groskopf and Anthony DeBarros)
Integrating CAR into a daily Beat (from Kate Martin)
How to use the SIMILE Exhibit timeline framework (from David Karger)
Tableau training handouts (from Tableau)
CAR Training 2012 including mapping data sets, practice data sets and tip sheets (from Jennifer LaFleur)


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Software & Tools


Twazzup – find breaking news, popular hashtags, influential users
Reporters’ Lab Reviews – a link list of tools, techniques and research for public affairs reporting
Twellow – a yellow pages for Twitter
Twiangulate – find sources and groups of people on Twitter
Crowdbooster – monitor and analyze buzz on social media sites
KnowEm Username Search – finds the social networks a person or organization/brand is using
Muckrack Pro – add yourself to the list of journalists or find journalists covering a particular topic
The Archivist – save tweets and export to Excel to analyze later
PowerPivot for Excel – “Load massive amounts of data from virtually any source, process in seconds and model with powerful analytical capabilities”
Pandoc – a universal document converter
HTML-to-PDF – converts HTML to PDF docs for free
Mr. Data Converter – converts Excel data into one of several Web-friendly formats, including HTML, JSON and XML.
Natural Language Toolkit – for machine language text analysis
Voyant Tools – Web-based document analysis
ClearForest Gnosis – Firefox plugin that uses OpenCalais for data extraction
Exhibit – a publishing framework for data-rich interactive web pages
DocumentCloud – store, analyze and annotate PDFs
DataTables – jQuery plugin to create sortable datasets
Ben Welsh’s triumvirate of tools that allow you to copy Google Maps’ functionality:
   – a data source, like OpenStreetMap
   – a tile set, like what you can make with TileMill
   – a JavaScript interface, like Leaflet
OpenOffice – open source office suite software (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation/slide deck, database)
QGIS – Open source geographic information system
Shape to Fusion (a.k.a. Shpescape) – Import shapefiles to Fusion Tables
MySQL – Database software
Google Refine – data cleaner
Junar – Discover and track data
The Overview Project
Visicheck – ensures your graphics are visible to the colorblind
Colorbrewer – in case you need help with color schemes for your design
Color Oracle – colorblindness simulator for Mac OS, Windows and Linux
0 to 255 – find variations of any color
Beautiful Soup – useful for many things, including parsing HTML
Weave – Web-based analysis and visualization environment. Made by a partnership between the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Open Indicators Consortium
Highcharts – create interactive JavaScript charts (free for non-commercial use)
Indiemapper – Upload shapefiles and convert them to create static, thematic maps
CSV-to-JSON converter
Sinatra a lightweight Ruby/Rails framework for creating apps
• Use Google Docs, XPath and the =importxml() function to put data in a spreadsheet
PANDA Project
Timemap syncs a SIMILE timeline to a web-based map
Tabletop – allows you to use Google spreadsheets as your app backend
Js2Coffee – converts Javascript to CoffeeScript and back
CoffeeScript sandbox
iPL2 – ask a librarian, search through the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians’ Internet Index (LII) websites.
• “Lesson of the night: Want to put census geos in fusion tables? Keep it stupid simple: convert US Census data from TIGER into shape files with shpescape” — tip from Matt Kiefer
Rubular – a Ruby regular expression editor
Timeline Setter – makes timelines from spreadsheets
Spoofcard changes your voice and gives you a temporary phone number
Tablechart turns HTML tables into charts
Spam Mimic – hide a message in spam
FEC scraper/FEC parser – Chris Schnaars’ script on Github

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References


• The American Library Association’s wiki of government databases (from Dan Nguyen)
Penn Treebank Project reference – Use it in conjunction with the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK)
Geomedia Google Group
NICAR-L mailing list
Google Public Data Explorer
InfoVis Wiki – a catchcall list of papers, conferences, patterns and jobs in information visualization
Spatial Reference – an IMDB-like catalog of spatial reference systems
22 free visualization tools collected by ComputerWorld
Free Data Visualization tools – a collection from Sharon Machlis
8 cool tools for data analysis, visualization and presentation (from Sharon Machlis)
Chart and image gallery: 30 free tools for data visualization and analysis (from Sharon Machlis)
LocalHealthData.org – find health data from more than 70 sources and 300+ datasets
Analytic Journalism “It’s not ‘all about story’ if you don’t have anything to say.”
How to install MySQL and Navicat on Windows
Freebase – an entity graph/Wikipedia-like collection of data
Save the Post Office – records U.S. post office consolidations and closures
• Los Angeles Times datadesk Github repository with code for you to use
USASpending.gov – Official record of Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (Transparency Act)
&bull: Data for the Public Good by Alexander Howard (free eBook)
CongressionalPrimaries.org shows what Illinois congressional candidates are tweeting about
Civic Commons Marketplace collects open government efforts in the U.S.
OpenCorporates is in the process of collecting information on every corporate entity in the world
• USA Today’s Developer Network

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Work Samples


Bailed out banks profit from tax liens (Arizona Star heat maps showed property locations, making the story very clear)
Race gap found in traffic stops (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel showed the racial disparity in pullovers and on further examination, municipal maintenance requests)
Texas redistricting map and slider code (Texas Tribune)
The Poverty Gap shows a clear correlation between poverty and access to education (ProPublica)
2012 Election Results big board, one approach to visual presentation of election info that tells you the story of the election immediately (The New York Times)
Little Loving County grabs a bit of Texas’ growth a census story unlike the usual census stories (The Dallas Morning News)
Riot rumours: how misinformation spread on Twitter during a time of crisis uses data analysis to watch the spread and suppression of rumors about the London riots (The Guardian)
Discover Boston Public Schools (Code for America)
SchoolBook makes teacher data reports for New York City schools
Redistricting: New lines leave some voters without a senator (The [Riverside, Calif.] Press-Enterprise)

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And finally, no journalism nerdfest would be complete without a demonstration of the latest hotness: Drone journalism by Matt Waite.

Drone Journalism Demo – Matt Waite from John Keefe on Vimeo.

Last week, Alastair Dant, lead interactive technologist at The Guardian, came to Hacks/Hackers NYC to show how his team produces its informative and award-winning interactive graphics.

It’s a wide-ranging talk about what’s new and inspiring about news technology, and how each team member’s unique skills contribute to the whole.

Well worth watching. And if you want to deeply nerd out with The Guardian, check out their Developer Blog.

The projects mentioned in Alastair’s talk:

Alastair’s team is Martin Shuttleworth, Mariana Santos, Jonathan Richards and Alex Graul.

It was great to see so many people excited about yesterday’s post on understanding API documentation. And better still, it was encouraging to see people succeed in the first exercise.

Being able to read API docs is like being able to read any foreign language: You improve through daily practice. So for today, let’s stick with movie reviews.

I hope you’ve got a Netflix account. If so, work through Joseph Smarr’s Netflix API tutorial. When you’re done, you’ll have a personalized list of RSS reader-ready movie ratings, reviews, and recent DVD returns.

If you’ve got questions as you’re working through the tutorial, post them in comments and try to help each other. I’ll pitch in too. Afterward, you’ll be ready for something completely different, so we’ll take a look at the Bitly API on Wednesday.

If you need a little break while you’re working through the Netflix example, enjoy the fascinating video below that explains the Stuxnet computer virus. This kinetic type explainer was created for Australia’s “Hungry Beast” news show on ABC1.


Video: Patrick Clair/Vimeo