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The idea of us allowing our raw information into our newspapers was anathema.But numbers without analysis are just numbers, which is where we fit in.We crowdsourced 458,000 documents relating to MPs' expenses and we analyzed the detailed data of which MPs had claimed what.We helped our users explore detailed Treasury spending databases and published the data behind the news. There were to be two more episodes to follow: Iraq and the cables.In fact, it’s people wanting to know more about carbon emissions or Eastern European immigration or the breakdown of deaths in Afghanistan — or even the number of times the Beatles used the word “love” in their songs (613).Gradually, the Datablog’s work has reflected and added to the stories we faced.
Behind all our data journalism stories is a process.
If you’re close, it’s easy to suggest stories and become part of the process; conversely out of sight is literally out of mind.
Before Wikileaks, we were sat on a different floor, with graphics.
But the game-changer for data journalism happened in spring 2010, beginning with one spreadsheet: 92,201 rows of data, each one containing a detailed breakdown of a military event in Afghanistan. The official term for the first two parts was SIGACTS: the US military Significant Actions Database.
News organizations are all about geography — and proximity to the news desk.