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Data Roundup, 19 November

- November 19, 2013 in Data Roundup

Lessons and workshops on data journalism in Europe and US, winners and losers of the after-crisis monetary policy, Chinese government censorship on the internet, the Bourbon distilleries tree, what does life expectancy mean in statistics, how to eliminate headings with more than one row in Excel.

Herve “Setaou” Bry – Tian An Men Patrol

Tools, Events, Courses

On Wednesday the 20th,from 4pm to 6pm, while drinking tea, you might also listen to an interesting lesson on data journalism with two experts of the field: Brian Abelson, data scientist at the New York Times, and Amanda Zamora, senior engagement editor at ProPublica. The event will be held at the prestigious Columbia Univeristy Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

Everyone knows Alberto Cairo’s famous massive online courses, but for those of you who are in the Netherlands, you now have the opportunity to attend one of his lecture and to do it live! On Friday 22, don’t miss the appointment with “Visualizing Information: The Insightful Art”, the one-day workshop on how to draw effective data visualizations.

Data Stories

Since the 2007 economic crisis, there hasn’t been a day without someone arguing about interest rates, net incomes, GDP and taxes. A few days ago, Emily Cadman published an article on the Financial Times Data Blog which gives you accurate details on who wins and who loses from the monetary policies undertaken by governments in the last years. If you are curious, read “Estimating the cost of QE”.

Bourbon has a long long tradition in Kentucky, but who produces it? Which are the biggest distilleries? And, above all, who owns those distilleries? Check it out in the Bourbon Family Tree: a nice GQ infographic by Colin Spoleman.

If you haven’t already done it, let me invite you to read another milestone of interactive journalism from ProPublica: “China’s Memory Hole”. With the help of several Mandarin interpreters, ProPublica’s team monitored Sina Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) for 6 months. From a huge dataset of about 80,000 messages and photos, they stored and selected all the posts which were removed from the site by the national censorship!

Data Sources

Statistics is the core of every data analysis. Before visualizing them, it’s fundamental to learn how certain indexes and metrics are calculated. For those of you passionate about demography, you’d better read what Emi Suzuki and Neil Fantom say in “What does ‘life expectancy at birth’ really mean?” on the World Bank Data Blog. You might discover (or maybe just remind) that living in a country with a life expectancy of 80 years doesn’t necessarily mean that each of its citizens will get octogenarian before dying!

Paul Bradshaw has been on the frontline of data journalism since newsrooms started extracting stories from numbers. If you are desperately trying to clean an Excel spreadsheet with a multiple rows heading, keep calm and read his easy step-by-step guide on “How to: clean up spreadsheet headings that run across multiple rows using Open Refine”.

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