I couldn’t have said it better than Mr. Bender Bending Rodriguez.
It’s been some time since I sat down and regularly blogged about anything. My blogs in the past have focused on all kinds of subjects: World Cup Soccer, journalism internships, and myriad others I can’t remember.
I’m hoping this new one will stick.
The newest iteration of this blog will center around my love of all things data. I’m lucky enough to get to work with it every day at The Washington Post as the database editor for investigations.
I’m always looking to push my own limits in terms of data analysis, wrangling and the like, but I’m also looking at how the limits of data journalism can be pushed.
I don’t purport to have all the answers. In fact, there’s a good chance that some of my posts will be about methods I tried and which ultimately failed. In those posts, I hope to explain why I failed and where there might be room for improvement.
My interests lie all over but I’m particularly fascinated with how statistical methods that have long found a home in disciplines such as economics, ecology, and other fields can be utilized for journalism.
I’m interested in big data, small data and everything in between. I’m enamored with unstructured data. I’m hell-bent to use more calculus in journalism.
For example, I’ll embed pieces of source code in my blog like this python snippet, which iterates the lyrics to the song, “99 bottles of beer” in time:
import time x = 99 beer = " bottles of beer" wall = " on the wall" take = "take one down" passit = "pass it around" while x>0: print str(x) + beer + wall time.sleep(2) print str(x) + beer time.sleep(2) print take time.sleep(1) print passit time.sleep(1) x = x-1 print str(x) + beer + wall time.sleep(2) print "You are out of beer. :("
Ideally, this blog will feature contributors from around the data journalism world. If you have any interest in contributing a post on something you’ve done, please let me know. On top of that, if there’s anything you’d like me to write about, let me know. Suggestions are always welcome.
For me, this blog is largely about growth. But it’s also about testing what can work and what doesn’t and I hope it can serve as a model for both current and aspiring data journalists to test the limits of what’s possible so we can push our field to limits we’d never imagined.
I know those goals may sound starry-eyed, but I genuinely believe that we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible in data journalism. That’s not a knock at the current state of data journalism. I see my colleagues at outlets across the world constantly pushing those limits. I just hope to help push with them.