Take home quiz #5 Part 2: Fusion Table Campaign Donation Map

Due Wed, Nov. 30. Worth 15 points

For this exercise, you will use Fusion Tables.

You need a non-Rowan Gmail account to do the following.

You will share your map with me via email feature in Fusion Tables.

Continue reading

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Week 11 – Mon., Nov 14 and Wed., Nov. 16

In Class:
Rowan Crime Group Data Assignment story due
Revised Schedule for Rest of Fall 16 Semester revisited
-Data Journalism Final Project overview
Intro to Pivot Tables
Some post-election thoughts on data journalism
Common Data File Types
Four Common Ways to Clean Data in Excel
-Intro to Making Maps with Googles My Maps and Fusion Tables

-Bring initial ideas for your Final Project to class on Monday. Your Final Project Pitch and Data Plan are Due Wed, Nov. 23 before you leave for break

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Making Maps with Google My Maps and Fusion Tables

Note: You need a non-Rowan Gmail account to do the following.

My Maps vs. Fusion Tables

Both are mapping software made by Google. My Maps is simpler and easier to use. Fusion Tables is a more robust data visualization tool.

Google’s My Maps

If you want to make a simple map with just a few points or with a relatively small spreadsheet (no more than 2000 rows), you can use Google’s My Maps. You can manually add points, lines, and shapes. Or you can import a spreadsheet with addresses, places, or long/lat coordinates.

For example, see My Maps Gallery

Here is an Intro to My Maps

How to Create a Map

Google’s Fusion Tables

Fusion Tables is an experimental data visualization web application to gather, visualize, and share data tables. It can do a lot more and handle much bigger data. And it takes more effort to learn.

For example, see Fusion Tables Gallery

Here is an Intro to Fusion Tables

Here are Tutorials for Fusion Tables

In-class Assignment:

Continue reading

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Common Data File Types

When you are seeking data, you will find that it comes in many forms and formats. For example, look at OpenDataPhilly. You want to know a bit about some of the most common formats you may encounter.

For example:

XLS (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) – Common spreadsheet software format. If you can find data in .xls format, it will save you a lot of work in scraping.

CSV (comma-separated values) – Stores data in plain text form. Google Sheets saves files as CSV. Can often be opened easily in Excel or Google Spreadsheet.

HTML – a web page written in hypertext markup language.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) – A markup language with a heavily structured format. Commonly used to describe items in a database.

PDF (Portable Document Format) – A flat, fixed-layout format of text, fonts, graphics. It’s great because they are standard, small-sized files that can be easily opened. However, the format makes it difficult to extract information.

shp – Shapefile – commonly used for geography, maps, and graphics.

api (application programming interface) – Programming instructions and standards for accessing a Web-based software application or Web tool. A software company releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service.

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Four Common Ways to Clean Data in Excel

Merge/Split – Sometimes you have to either merge cells together or split them into multiple cells. For example, in Google Fusion Tables, the whole address (street, city, state, zip) must be in one cell.

Trim – This forumula will remove extra spaces from cells. You don’t want to delete them all one at a time!

Change case – Sometimes data comes in ALL CAPS. You can change it so it is more usable and readable.

Copy – You can copy and paste either contents, values or formulas by using “Paste Special” option.

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Five post-election thoughts on data journalism

Common narrative vs. reporting

Limits of data

Red feeds, blue feeds


Why journalism isn’t just another job

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Data Journalism Final Project – Fall 2016

Worth 100 points (or 30% of overall grade)


-Must meet deadlines for all of the required steps. All work must be submitted on time to get credit. No late work accepted.

-Must be a story that you need three and half weeks to report. No “day after” stories. It must be a feature article that requires analysis, reporting, writing and visualization.

-Your goal is a publishable article. Pick a publication that you think would publish an article on your topic. Write your article for that publication. Submit it when you are done. (If a 12-year-old can do it, so can you.)

-You must obtain data from a reliable source or collect it yourself.

-You must do original reporting to flesh out the data. You must use at least five (5) other sources, including interviews/quotes from at least three (3) people.

-Final written article (approx. 750-1250 words) will consist of:

  • Compelling, descriptive headline that uses key words
  • An image that pulls reader into the story (If you don’t take it yourself it must be Creative Commons)
  • Strong lead
  • Nut graph that states story angle
  • Organized story structure
  • Quotes from at least three sources will something relevant and compelling to say
  • At least one chart, graph or visualization that supports the story
  • Clean copy – no grammar or spelling errors

Here are some sample projects from previous semesters:

Are Five Star High School Footbal Recruits Destined for NFL?

Marvel and DC Comics Fail on Affirmative Action

The Worst Pitching Seasons in Baseball History

How the 2015 Rowan baseball team successfully embraced the philosophy of “small-ball” without sacrificing consistency

Five steps in the project:

1. Proposal and Data Plan– Students will pitch a data journalism project. What is the data? How will it be obtained? How will it be analyzed? Why do you believe this data set will yield something newsworthy? What publication are you writing it for? (15 points) Due Wed, Nov. 23 before you leave for Thanksgiving break

Post your Pitch and Data Plan to rudatajstudent.wordpress.com in the following format

Your Name’s Final Project Pitch and Data Plan

Pitch: My story is X… and it’s interesting Y. Be as concrete, specific and focused as possible. (Is this something you can answer in a 750-1250 word article with a few graphics? If not, you may need to focus it more or tighten your angle).

Sources of data: I’m using the following sources:

  • Source with link if available
  • Source with link if available
  • Etc

Story framed as questions: I am looking to answer the following questions:

  • Question 1
  • Question 2
  • Question 3

2. Outline and Storyboard – Students will present an outline of the key findings of data analysis and a proposal for displaying it graphically. (10 points) Due Wed, Nov. 30 Friday, Dec 2 at Noon

3. First Draft of article – Students will write a full draft of the article with the all of the elements above. I will review it and offer suggested revisions. Due Wed., Dec. 7

4. Final Product – Students will submit their written and visual work. Students must also submit a spreadsheet of data. (70 points) Due Wed., Dec. 14 at 12:30pm

5. Presentation – Students will make a brief present their final project to classmates during the final exam period (5 points) Wed, Dec. 14 12:30-2:30pm

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