Sid Ryan wanted to see if planning applications near planning committee members were more or less likely to be accepted. In two guest posts on Help Me Investigate he shows how to research people online (in this case the councillors), and how to map planning applications to identify potential relationships.
The posts take in a range of techniques including:
Scraping using Scraperwiki and the Google Drive spreadsheet function importXML
Mapping in Google Fusion Tables
Registers of interests
Using advanced search techniques
Using Land Registry enquiries
Using Companies House and Duedil
Other ways to find information on individuals, such as Hansard, LinkedIn, 192.com, Lexis Nexis, whois and FriendsReunited
If you find it useful, please let me know – and if you can add anything… please do.
Motion graphics has become an increasingly popular way to present data in a compelling visual form. In a series of videos guest contributor Sihlangu Tshuma outlines his workflow process for managing a motion graphics video project, the results of which are shown at the end. All 13 videos are also available in this playlist.
With news last week of the New York Times and Washington Post being hacked recently, The Muckraker‘s Lyra McKee looks at internet security.
“They were able to hack into the computer and remotely access my Facebook account, printing out a transcript of a private conversation. Then they told me who I’d been talking to over the past week and who was on my contacts list. They’d hacked into my phone. When they first told me they could hack into computers and phones, I didn’t believe them. So they showed me.”
I was sitting at the kitchen table of one of Northern Ireland’s few investigative journalists. He was shaken.
In thirty years of reporting, Colin (not his real name) has seen things that would leave the average person traumatized. A confidante of IRA terrorists, he has shaken hands with assassins and invited them into his home for a chat over a cup of tea – as he had done with me that night.
A few weeks previous, during one visit from a source, the subject of hacking had come up. Continue reading →
Yesterday my review of drag-and-drop data analysis tool QueryTree App kicked off a surprising amount of reaction across Twitter, including some interesting insights into the role of spreadsheets in newsrooms. I’ve collected them together below.
Sometimes the most impressive tools solve a problem you never knew you had. In the case of QueryTree, a new data analysis tool, that problem is something most people never question: spreadsheets.
For all the shiny-shiny copy-and-paste-click-and-drag-ness in new journalism tools, most data digging comes back to at least some simple spreadsheet work, and that represents a significant hurdle for many journalists used to working with simpler tools.
While interface design has undergone generations of improvement on the web, spreadsheet software interfaces have remained largely unchanged for decades.