Newsday: Nursing Home Complaints from Long Island, NYC and Hudson Valley

Deciding where to place a beloved family member in New York is a little easier thanks to Newsday’s research on nursing home complaints from Long Island, NYC and Hudson Valley. The data collected from all over Long Island gives individuals an easy way to determine what is best for them. Data journalism also provides insight for other reporters when developing a story. Providing context and value to a story, data journalism states the hard facts and proves truth to a story. Newsday’s data put into a virtual map makes information to easily obtained and visually pleasing to the user.

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Gorillas in the Crossfire – NYT Web Video

Gorillas in the Crossfire by is an example of a web video that tells a story without a reporter narrating. I really like the opening sequences because it introduces the story nicely. The wide shot shows that the story takes place in the jungle. There is a mix of music and natural environment sound to set the scene.

Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2012.

Orlando Von Einsiedel uses a couple of graphics toward the beginning of the video to give some background on the situation of that the gorillas and the rangers are in. I think that the text graphics work in this case. There is a lot of raw footage that is left without narration or music. Von Einsiedel lets the park rangers tell their stories about how they, and the gorillas survive in the war zones of Congo.

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The video has well framed videos with sound bites that show the subjects personality and address the issues in the story. I didn’t get bored because the story was visually engaging. The gorillas, the war scenes and the environmental shots themselves were beautiful.

This is the style that I want to emulate for my final project video.

In web video, a videographer has to shoot as much as possible because once he or she returns to the editing room, that’s it. There is no recorded voiceover to fill in the blanks. There is no stand up to clarify points. There is only the interviews, the broll and the small number of text graphics. Producing web videos is a skill because you have to get crafty.

Interactive Maps and Data Journalism

Losing Ground is a data journalism project from Pro Publica that thoroughly documents the landscape changes of Louisiana in the last 80 years. After a storm surge from category 5 hurricane Katrina completely destroyed New Orleans, Louisiana’s lack of elevation gained national concern. The states coasts are literally losing ground as almost 2,000 square miles of land has gone under.

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Above are screenshots from the website that show where the land has turned to water. In this project the interactive elements add so much value. On the main page there are buttons to see how canals, levees and oil/gas lines contribute to the loss of wetlands. Wetlands used to be the area that separated the Gulf and communities. Now the wetlands are being flooded. The issue is more than losing farmland and personal property. The loss of land affects the ecosystem, economy in Louisiana. New Orleans is an important city for trade and it is in danger.

Clicking into the specific boxes causes the graphic to zoom in. Then a timeline is given so that you can see the water levels rise over time. This strategy works for the story because it makes the issue real. According to the article, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 most of Southeast Louisiana will be underneath the Gulf of Mexico.

In the body of text, city names and areas are linked to the map. If I’m reading about the area called, “Buras,” I can click the link and the graphic will automatically zoom into the Buras area. I really like how the stationary sidebar includes text, audio and photos. It’s a lot of content and it was produced by many people but they are organized really well. It’s a story about people and how their community is drastically changing.

More Women Journalists Win Pulitzer Prizes

Finally, a competition where women apparently out-perform men: Pulitzer Prizes.  Of course, there is a caveat–these award-winning women are more likely than not to have graduate degrees.  Or so says the data on FiveThirtyEight’s recent  story on female Pulitzer Prize winners.  The strength of this article, authored by Hayley Munguia. is in the data, both in terms of amount and substance.  They used data going back to 1917 to analyze the characteristics of women who win this prestigious award. The one common characteristic among winners?  A graduate degree!

The data presented throughout the article helped to substantiate the authors claims.

Five Thirty Eight: Free Community College

In January when President Obama made his State of the Union address he proposed the idea of free community college, but now local governments’ and community college presidents are questioning if the proposal is even possible. Five Thirty Eight published a story by Hayley Munguia, using two graphs to help support their story. The first graph shows how likely community college presidents are to support free community college, while the other graph shows that the net cost of community colleges has actually declined.

The two graphs help to visually put into perspective how many community colleges would support the idea of free schooling and the net price of community college tuition. I think if I saw these numbers written in the story i wouldn’t be able to grasp the concept. I would just skip over them, never fully grasping what it meant. When readers are forced to look at a graph it catches their eye and puts it in their face to read it.