Project description

These projects showcase the richness and power of data mining, analysis and visualisation as a method for driving investigations across a vast range of topics. The portfolio includes investigations including: inequity in private vs public school funding; what music, TV and book choices reveal your social class; the near-record breaking downturn in Australian property prices; how extreme weather has forced more homes into Australia’s insurance “red zones” and how widespread cynicism about democracy has pushed more voters to the fringes of politics (and other stories).

What makes this project innovative?

This portfolio showcases how data-driven techniques can be applied across the entire spectrum of news production to inform, strengthen and enliven both the newsgathering and storytelling process. Some techniques include: • Using scrapers to generate new datasets or augment existing data • Turning crowdsourced information into original datasets • Decision-based storytelling that encourages the readers to participate in the story and “choose their own adventure” or enter their details to customise the text and visuals • Combining the “scrollyteller” format with data visualisation and/or animation to take readers through complex analyses, step-by-step

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

Engagement minutes for: • Good taste, bad taste? What your habits reveal about social class - 4,635,779 • Property prices in most suburbs have already peaked. How hard have you been hit? - 2,765,543 • Extreme weather set to see Australia's insurance red zones expand - 1,128,204 • Party's over: In a nation of cynics, we're flocking to the fringe - 1,031,155 • Counting the cost of the education revolution - 1,000,349 • The Implant Files: The hidden human toll of lax controls on the booming medical device industry - 916,294 • Sportsbet’s big punt - 358,979 • For the Matildas, the season never ends - 102,592

Source and methodology

Datasets are obtained from a variety of government and non-government organisation, including commercial businesses, universities or independent research organistions. Some data has been scraped; other data was obtained through freedom of information requests. The data is cleaned and processed, and often blended with other sources to increase accuracy, newsworthiness, relevance to readers and, where relevant, enable personalisation/customisation to the reader (as this has proved to be a highly successful means of deepening reader engagement). Data is then analysed, with several ways of presentation storyboarded before the final visual form is chosen. All analysis is checked by statisticians and subject-matter experts to ensure the data is being represented accurately.

Technologies Used

Javascript, D3, React library. We use QGIS mapping software. We use the Sentinel Hub for satellite imagery. We also use Excel, Tabula, Google Refine, Tableau and Tableau Prep.

Project members

Stephen Hutcheon, Mark Doman, Alex Palmer, Jack Fisher, Michael Workman, Ri Lui, Nathanael Scott

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