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2021-03-30 | J++ Newsletter #109

Three things to learn from Hem och hyra

In this newsletter we want to highlight a couple of methodological tips from a recent article about bike thefts by Aron Andersson at Hem och hyra.
The story goes one step beyond the typical data journalism on this topic – yet the method is one that many reports could re-use.

Heads up for non-Swedish reades! The examples will be from Sweden this week. Have your Google Translate ready when you click links.

1. Make FOI requests for data

Brå is a rich source of crime data in Sweden. You can the number of reported crime at very granular level. However, what's publicly available through is only the tip of the iceberg, as this investigation shows. 

However, by turning to the police Hem och hyra was able to get not just aggregated statistics, but the actual addresses of all bike thefts from a period of five years. From those addresses they were able to extract coordinates. 

2. Geographical counting

Once you have your set of coordinate data you need to be able to start asking questions. For example just counting occurrences by region. Enter QGIS – Excel for maps, as we like to call it. 

This is actually not much harder than making a pivot table in Excel. This tutorial takes you through a basic example.

For more in-depth learning our own Leo Wallentin published these to QGIS tutorials recently:  

3. Plotting data on custom maps

Datawrapper is our tool of choice for making charts and maps without code. A municipality map is done in a heartbeat with the predefined boundaries. 

But what if you, like in this case, want to make a map with custom regions? That's possible as well. Here is an excellent tutorial on how to do just that.

Acquiring geograpical data can be a bit of a hassle, but the DeSO boundaries that Hem och hyra used are publicly available for download at SCB

Many journalists fascinated by data journalism have struggled with entry barriers and complex tools for data analyses and visualizations. In order to lower barriers and foster data journalism, the European Data Journalism Network has been developing some tools that can make journalists’ life easier

For instance, the Quote Finder comes handy if you want to explore the EU debate, including MEPs' activity on Twitter or the official statements by EU institutions.

We have also been listing data sources that can be useful for journalists, dividing them by themes. 

Three other pieces of data journalism this week to learn from – and get frustrated by

1. Dagens Nyheter and Kristoffer Örstadius made an ambitious mapping of covid deaths to be able to show, for example, how people born overseas have been more exposed to the the disease. We want to highlight the method section. DN was able to do an inter-governmental data join by asking one authority (Socialstyrelsen) to pass data (sociai security number of deceased) to another (SCB) for aggregations by income level, education level and county of birth:

2. Our sister company Newsworthy published a story in collaboration with Sveriges Natur about carbon budgets with never before published regional data from Klimatsekretariatet. The story? The chance that Sweden will live up to the Paris climate agreement is looking increasingly slim.
The story is open for republishing in 20 regional versions

3. We are not allowed to know the size of the school yards at private schools in Sweden. The magazine Läraren was denied this data when they tried to find out if there are private schools that have small to non-existing school yards. "Trade secret", says SCB. Read more. 

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