Google Fusion Maps with Joe Wertz

StateImpact Oklahoma’s Joe Wertz, mapping wizard, shows us how to create an interactive map using Google Fusion Maps and some raw data in this quick and simple tutorial.

Here is the data that you can use, if you’d like to try this at home.

(Don’t be alarmed! The audio doesn’t kick in until about ten seconds in.)

Creating a Legend

Of special note, around minute 31 (31:00), Joe walks us through creating a legend for your map. To do that (in the new and improved version):

  1. In the map view, click on the little arrow on top of the “Map of…” tab and navigate down to “change map styles.
  2. Whether you are dealing with points or polygons, make sure that your bucket ranges are exactly as you’d like them to appear in your legend.
  3. Click on “automatic legend” (your last option on the list to the left).
  4. Create a title for your legend.
  5. Decide where you’d like your legend to appear (typically in the bottom right-hand corner,  unless your map makes a different corner preferable).
  6. Hit “Save.”

Embedding an Iframe Into Your Site

At minute 32 (32:35), Joe shows us how to embed an iframe with your map and legend right into your site.

  1. Click on Share (in the upper right-hand corner) and publish it to the web. You’ll see your current sharing settings listed towards the top. If it doesn’t say “Public” hit the blue “Change” and select “Public on the web.” Continue reading

Nuts and Bolts: Embed Charts and Tables in WordPress and Core Publisher

After you get your chart or table into Google Drive and formatted the way you’d like to, follow these steps, kindly collected by data viz maven Emilie Ritter Saunders, to get it into your post:

Embedding Charts in WordPress

  1. Make your chart public to the web: Share —-> Change “public on the web”
  2. Publish your table: Click the arrow dropdown (upper right corner of the chart) —-> Select a chart1publish format “Image.”
  3. Copy that “Image” code and paste it into the HTML side of your WordPress editor.

Embedding Tables in WordPress

  1. Make your table public to the web: Share —-> Change “public on the web”
  2. Publish your table: File —-> Publish to the web —-> Click Publish or Republish Now
  3. Copy the URL.
  4. Paste the URL into the spreadsheet function in WordPress, “Google Spreadsheet Key.” Continue reading

Summer Camp: Excel Formulas with Kyle Stokes

In this 28-minute webinar, StateImpact Indiana reporter Kyle Stokes walks you through some Excel basics, including:

  • using cell references!
  • copying formulas down a column!
  • calculating sum and difference!
  • and calculating rate of change!

To follow along, download the data here.

And for quick reference, here is a sampling of some of our favorite Excel formulas for journalists, below: Continue reading

Summer Camp: Excel Basics with Molly Bloom

Let StateImpact Reporter Molly Bloom lead  you through some basics of using Excel, including: 
  • Importing data from txt and csv files!
  • Sorting and filtering data!
  • and Creating easy and super-powerful pivot tables for data analysis and organization!

To experiment with the files used in this video:
  1. Report Card data: Go here and click on File –> Download as –> Microsoft Excel.
  2. Enrollment data is here.
  3. School levy data is here

Summer Camp: FOIA Tips with Ida Lieszkovsky

Check out our FOI star Ida Lieszkovsky’s quick primer on strategies for getting the documents you want from government agencies.

The webinar includes:

  • A review of the importance of knowing your FOIA laws and legal precedents. “I’ve found it important not just to review the Ohio guidelines, but to also review the successes and failures of public records requests in the state, since they can often help me anticipate how people will react and I can taylor my request with that in mind,” says Ida. Continue reading

Summer Camp: John O’Connor’s Social Media Secrets

We recently persuaded John O’Connor, StateImpact Florida education reporter and social media extraordinaire, to share some of his tips and tricks with us. He put together a list of key take-aways, below, for those of you who weren’t able to join us.

  • Not all social media is equal. Take advantage of the strengths of different sites. Twitter is what’s happening now. It’s great for publishing and promotion, but also a good way to find sources, activists and trends. Use Facebook to share things that might spark a conversation. LinkedIn is great for finding people who worked or work for specific companies or organizations.
  • Twitter is the most useful social media service, but it needs to be tamed. Use TweetDeck, HootSuite or a similar tool to bend it to your will.
  • Remember that social media is a conversation. You have to engage with others to get the most out of it.
  • Use social media to tell stories. People love to live-tweet events. Compile those tweets with Storify, but be a journalist and organize and add context to tell a story.

Webinar: The Basics of Data Journalism

Data: It’s not just for computer geeks anymore.

There is an awful lot that data can do for you and your stories if you get over the idea that it is something for other, more computer-savvy people and get into the habit of working it into your daily routine. Think of it as simply another–but infinitely more authoritative–source, one that allows you to speak with more authority, see beyond the clutter and the “he said-she said” and find trends and facts that aren’t otherwise available.

The digitization of government records offers great opportunity for reporters to hold public agencies accountable, increase government transparency and inform the public–but only if we know how to ask for, obtain and use it. So don’t be afraid. Be psyched.

In the webinar below, I walk through the basics to get you started. (See below THAT for a mini-recap and a whole bunch of links to the tools and sites mentioned in the video.)

The Basics of Data Journalism (April 11, 2013) from NPR Digital Services on Vimeo.

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2013 NICAR’s Greatest Hits

The annual computer-assisted reporting conference organized by IRE and NICAR is a treasure trove of tips, tools and inspiration. There is always something for just about anyone in the news

Pete Karl II / Flikr

People share notes, experiences and know-how at NICAR and IRE conferences. It's cool like that.

industry–from the old-school newspaperman who won’t send an email to the young, enthusiastic programming geek–and everyone in between.

In fact, if you consider yourself to be very much in between–or maybe even slightly towards the old-school side of things, this post is for you. We’ve sifted through the labyrinth of tipsheets, blog posts and (almost) exhaustive collections of all that was generously shared, referenced or demonstrated at this year’s conference to bring you some of the most useful data-driven reporting tools offerred at this year’s event.

We’ve organized it into seven broad categories:

  1. General CAR Tips & Best Practices from the Pros
  2. Research Tools
  3. Social Media Tools
  4. Data Cleaning
  5. Excel
  6. Inspiration: A Small Collection of some of the Best Data-Driven Stories of 2012 (with a special emphasis on energy, education and economy stories)
  7. Advanced Coursework in Database Analysis, Super Stealth Spy Stuff and Web Scraping

We haven’t tested everything just yet, so if you find any of this particularly useful–or not–please do tell us about it in the comments section or via email.

That said, we hope you’ll find at least some of the collection below as useful and inspiring as we do. Enjoy!

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