Here’s an example of how APIs can be useful to journalists when they need to combine two sets of data.
I recently spoke to Lincoln investigative journalism student Sean McGrath who had obtained some information via FOI that he needed to combine with other data to answer a question (sorry to be so cryptic).
He had spent 3 days cleaning up the data and manually adding postcodes to it. This seemed a good example where using an API might cut down your work considerably, and so in this post I explain how you make a start on the same problem in less than an hour using Excel, Google Refine and the Google Maps API.
Step 1: Get the data in the right format to work with an API
APIs can do all sorts of things, but one of the things they do which is particularly useful for journalists is answer questions. Continue reading