In the past year I have worked on a wide range of data journalism projects for The Age, a newspaper and website based in Melbourne in Australia. I\’ve produced work that involves written stories, video, graphics and interactives on a wide range of subjects including transport, education, economics, health, crime and demography. I often write the articles myself, design the interactives, script and present the videos and pull all the material together for the online presentations. There is not a data journalism team at The Age, so all these projects came about after I came up with the ideas, drew on collaborators within the newsroom and project-managed the work.
Here is a brief summary of the projects I have submitted for consideration in this entry (from most to least recent):
Schools that Excel: I gathered 10 years of school performance data in Victoria, from multiple sources, mashed it, cleaned it and analysed it to uncover the schools that had shown the most consistent improvement over the past decade. I also designed the interactives so that parents would be able to navigate the data on their school. Nobody had pulled all this information on schools before, and it sparked discussion on education philosophies and how schools can improve their performance.
Do You Earn Enough: I pulled together data sets from multiple government sources to produce a series of interactives that enabled readers to find out lots of useful information about their job. I compiled a database of more than 1000 jobs, and in five interactives readers can find out about the average pay, the hours worked, the demography of the occupation, its future employment projections and whether it has a gender pay gap. All this information is public data, but it is hard to access and use by members of the public. The series led to 20 stories, most of which I wrote. I couldn\’t include them all in this entry, so I included the piece that summarises all the interactives and the stories that formed the series.
Victoria Crime Interactive: There was a state election in Victoria last year and crime was one of the main issues. However, there was a lot of inuendo and misinformation floating around in the lead-up to the election, and politicians on both sides were twisting the data to suit their claims. I worked on a crime interactive that allowed readers to see crime rates in their suburb, and wrote a few stories fact-checking claims and demystifying the statistics to readers.
The most common causes of death in Melbourne and Sydney: Most of the projects I have included here were put together over a longer period, but I thought I would include this one as well as it had a really short turnaround. I extracted the data, analysed it and designed the interactive that accompanies this story within two days, and we used it to outline the disproportionate premature death rates among Australia\’s indigenous population.
Peak hour project: This was the biggest data journalism project I\’ve worked on in my time at The Age. It involved lots of bread-and-butter journalism, but I also had to learn new skills to pull off the project. I had to negotiate with HERE Technologies to get access to their data, I had to present video on a green screen for the first time, I had to learn how to understand complicated traffic dynamics, and I had to pull together all the written, interactive, graphical and video material into a coherent series of stories. This project was named one of the most memorable pieces of content The Age produced last year.
Melbourne by the numbers: Another project I executed in a short space of time. I had analysed Melbourne population growth and found lots of potential stories, so I decided to present the findings as a listicle and guide readers through the findings of the data.
Life cycle of a Melburnian: This story used maps and charts to tell an engaging story about how people move about at different stages of their life in Victoria. The information is all government statistics agency census data.
What makes this project innovative?
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
Source and methodology