Project description

I’m 28 year old data-journalist from Russia. Here I provide my porfolio consisting of publications made before January, 2019. All the articles were published when I was 27 and worked at the RosBusinessConsulting – a media holding, one of the largest independent newsrooms in Russia by coverage and audience. It\’s specialized in business news, reports on corruption, abuse of power and other investigations. My area of interest is corruption, health, economics and business activities. My responsibilities are finding a story of interest in data (open data as well some data which was not published as a database), design a research, then collect and clean that data, analyse that and compile the findings in a story. I participate in the infographics blueprinting as well.

What makes this project innovative?

I provide a portfolio of ten projects that I consider the most important of my work last year. In that projects I use different approach to data. The main idea behind the first eight of them - to make the invisible things transparent and to demonstrate that the rumours are discussed everywhere are true. That happened with the doctors salaries that should've risen according to presidential bill and according to the health minister words - but they didn't (link 1). I used public procurement to show how Putin’s friend tried to hide his business after it was sanctioned by the US (link 2). I collected many years of governmental health statistics to show that it is fake (link 3). With the data I showed that Russian courts issue less and less verdicts of not guilty every year (link 4). I used up-to-date and retrospective data to show that the ruling party “United Russia” becomes less and less popular (link 5) and that the parliamentary parties become less and less independent (link 6). All those things are widely discussed in the society but usually are just rumours, intuitive knowledge, and I prove them with data. I also use my skills for business and economics journalism. I showed that half companies in Russia officially have zero staff - which is one of the characteristics of a shadow company (link 7). Using the data provided by the officials I’ve made the rating of the best-sold franchise licenses (link 8). My approach is pretty innovative for journalism in Russia as almost no one analyzes data in bulk systematically, checking hundreds and thousands of webpages where data is scattered in the form that makes it unavailable for most people who are interested in it and find it useful. I make own datasets when the government doesn’t publish them and compile lots of published datasets to see the trends and provide my audience with them.

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

According to internal analysis, exlusive data-projects have larger audience and far greater citations that the common news. That shows that the vast audience is interested in such articles and they rise the awareness on such issues. Speaking on certain topics, after the investigation on low doctors salaries was published the regional officials had to admit that the president's bills were not actually executed. The article on the zero staff companies received a prize as the best article using government open data. The franchise licenses rating was very popular among the small and medium business - during the year 2018 I have received many calls and emails from the companies that wanted to participate in it.

Source and methodology

Here I provide brief description on source and methodology for every publication of the portfolio. Detailed descriprion is provided in every artice (in Russian). Link 1: data on average salaries in the state-owned medical centers was collected from the accounting reports published in a special website. To show that this salary levels are very low, some calculation was made using data from the Ministry of Health and Federal Statistical body. Proof by contradiction was the main method and scraping - the main technology behind that report. Link 2: a company of Putin’s notorious friend Eugeniy Prigozhin every year had gotten a public contract for a New Year’s party at the Kremlin. In December 2018 I’ve found out that other companies that were establish the same year receive that contracts. The companies appeared to be remote allies of Eugeniy Prigozhin. The government procurement website zakupki.gov.ru and commercial business database “SPARK” were used to show this. Link 3: Rosstat data was compiled to show that cardio-related mortality rates steep decline started after the presidential bill saying that mortality rates should be lower. I showed that doctors, responsible for detecting the reason of death, document other reasons than heart-disease. Those reasons’ share in the whole mortality rate increased drastically in just five years since Putin’s bill. Link 4: compilation of court data and analysis based on a punitive article and a court verdict. Link 5: retrospective data and the current local elections results were analyzed to show that the ruling party “United Russia” loses its electorate in the regions. Link 6: a retrospective parties financial report analysis to show their income source for the last 15 years. The parties have less and less money from supporters, almost all their budget became money from the government. Link 7: analysis of open data published by the Federal Tax Service (2.5 million rows in an XML-tree). Link 8: raw data on franchise agreements was provided by Rospatent - a regulating body. That was not open data and was provided upon request. The data (around 100K rows in CSV) did not contain information on companies that concluded agreements, that data was scraped from the Rospatent website.

Technologies Used

Python programming is my daily routine. For data mining I use Selenium and BeautifulSoup. For cleaning data - pandas and Google Spreadsheets. For analysis - pandas, Tableau and Google Spreadsheets. For visualization - Tableau, Datawrapper. I use public API for public procurement contracts (clearspending.ru) and some commercial databases as well.

Project members

I provide my individual portfolio above. Every research and the investigation above was designed by me. The publications were realized however with the help of the design department, producers and reporters of my newsroom.

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