Project description

At this moment, I’m working as a Producer/Broadcaster at the Voice of America Russian service in Washington, DC where I’m producing digital content, daily news, video stories, infographics and articles for international audience on various multimedia platforms. During the summer 2017 I was working as a Dow Jones News Fund data analysis intern at the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), investigative nonprofit Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom in Washington, DC. I had a chance to participate in long-term investigative projects such as creating a database of president Trump administration officials’ personal finances, analysis of campaign finance data and money in politics, investigating construction workers’ rights, natural gas regulations, refinery emissions in Southern California which helped me to develop my data and research skills. I also participated in a year-long investigative project by the Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press where our team collected and analyzed the personal financial disclosure reports of state legislators from around the country. We found numerous cases in which lawmakers’ jobs overlapped with their legislative duties. As a result of the project, several investigations were produced as well as an app with searchable personal financial disclosures for 6,933 state legislators holding office in 2015. I was also a part of the project #CitizenSleuth which won EPPY 2017 award.
All of these projects are of the public interests. They covered various issues of the politics, labour, environment, health in the United States and abroad (considering the connections of some US politicians to the business interests and actors in different countries). The main goals were to produce effective data visuals and graphics including interactive charts and mapping, also conducting analysis of databases for advanced investigations and creating an app for public use.

What makes this project innovative?

I think the hardest part and the most innovative is the way to analyze data, joining strategies and collaborative thinking between different members of the team. It is hard to distinguish what is innovative technique today. I used coding and data analysis as well as different ways for data visualization for our project, but for me the most creative part was the process of finding ways for effective data analysis and joining data tables, as well as looking for different ways to visualize the results of my analysis.

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

At CPI we used several types of measuring the impact of our investigations such as engagement on social media, the consequences and decisions which were taken by politicians and new investigations which came out from our data analysis (such as Conflicted interests story here https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/12/06/21294/how-we-investigated-conflicted-interests-statehouses-across-country). For the environmental project at California we had a feedback from real people who shared their problems and concerns about environment and pollution.

Source and methodology

Usually I used Microsoft Excel for smaller databases or PostgreSQL and SQLite for bigger databases to scan, filter and querying data. Databases were found through different sources: CPI had collaboration with ProPublica which requested the disclosure forms from government sources and made the disclosures available as PDF files (https://extapps2.oge.gov/201/Presiden.nsf/PAS%20Filings%20by%20Date?OpenView this is the source). We used the parser and scraped the data from pdf documents, after that we manually checked all the information working with the team on Google drive. We also use https://www.opensecrets.org/trump/financial-disclosures, environmental data from California https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen. For the Conflicted Interests Project the personal financial disclosure reports of state legislators from around the country were requested. We put them in a databases and coded manually before we could analyze them in Excel with filtering and joining. The final result is an app you can use to search conflicted interests in different states.

Technologies Used

Working for CPI, I was providing data analysis and producing data visualization for newsroom investigations. I was analyzing big amounts of data using PostgreSQL, SQLite, Microsoft Excel, also working mostly with coding in HTML and CSS, creating data visualization in JavaScript using D3 and leaflet libraries as well as other tools like Tableau, Highcharts, QGIS and other tools for data analysis and visualization.

Project members

For all the projects I mentioned I worked with reporters from CPI Kytja Weir, Chris Zubak-Skees, Liz Essley Whyte, David Jordan, Michael J. Mishak, Kytja Weir, Ben Wieder, Joe Yerardi, Jamie Smith Hopkins, Kristen Lombardi, Maryam Jameel, Dave Levinthal, Carrie Levine, Jim Morris, Amy Walters from Reveal.

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