Tag Archives: ad hominem

Defending an investigation — and planning one: lessons from ProPublica’s Black Snow

Sugar Companies Said Our Investigation Is Flawed and Biased. Let’s Dive Into Why That’s Not the Case.

In the summer of last year ProPublica published a major investigation into air pollution in Florida, and its connection to the sugar industry. The story itself, Black Snow, is an inspiring example of scrollytelling — but equally instructive is the methodology article which accompanies it, responding to criticisms from the sugar industry.

Not only does it demonstrate how to respond when large organisations attack a piece of journalism — it also provides a great lesson on the tactics that are adopted by organisations when attacking data-driven stories.

In this post I want to break down the three most common attack tactics, how ProPublica deal with two of those, and how to use the same tactics during planning to ensure your project design isn’t flawed.

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