When you get data in sentences: how to use a spreadsheet to extract numbers from phrases (Online Journalism Blog)

Online Journalism Blog: When you get data in sentences: how to use a spreadsheet to extract numbers from phrases. “We needed to be able to take a collection of words such as ’11 years and 5 months’ imprisonment’ and convert that into something that could be used in spreadsheet calculations (specifically, comparing the lengths of time represented by two different phrases). It’s a problem you come across every so often as a journalist — especially with FOI requests — so in this post — taken from the book Finding Stories in Spreadsheets — I’ll explain how to do that.”

Block Club Chicago: Has Your Alderman Been Indicted? New Website Highlights The History Of Corruption In City Hall — And Hopes You’ll Hold New Leaders Accountable

Block Club Chicago: Has Your Alderman Been Indicted? New Website Highlights The History Of Corruption In City Hall — And Hopes You’ll Hold New Leaders Accountable. “Currently, there’s one sitting alderman that is under federal indictment. Sadly, ending up in jail is a common occurrence for Chicago’s leaders — and now South Side journalism lab City Bureau is making it easier for residents to know if their elected alderman is in trouble with he law. City Bureau’s new website… includes information on the aldermen who lead all 50 of Chicago’s wards, as well as the history of political corruption in each ward. Simply plug in your address and find out what your alderman (past or present) has been up to.”

How To Tell Stories: A Beginner’s Guide For Open Source Researchers (Bellingcat)

Bellingcat: How To Tell Stories: A Beginner’s Guide For Open Source Researchers. “Open source research begins by pulling on a thread. As individual threads begin to unravel, keeping the narrative as clear, informative, and as readable as possible is the only way to make sure your work makes an impact. I’ll be using our latest investigation into the people responsible for the downing of Flight MH17 as a tool to help you understand this process better.”

The GroundTruth Project: Tools and tips for digging into Facebook from two investigative journalists

The GroundTruth Project: Tools and tips for digging into Facebook from two investigative journalists. “Although many groups are private and you might need an invitation or a source inside them to gain access, the world’s largest social network is a trove of publicly accessible information for reporters, you just need to know where to look. I reached out to Brooke Williams, an award-winning investigative reporter and Associate Professor of the Practice of Computational Journalism at Boston University and Henk van Ess, lead investigator for Bellingcat.com, whose fact-checking work using social media has earned a large online following, to talk about how they use Facebook to dig for sources and information for their investigations. Their answers were edited for length and clarity.”

The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore email archive still not accessible after cyber attack. What does that mean for records requests?

The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore email archive still not accessible after cyber attack. What does that mean for records requests?. “An archive of Baltimore employees’ emails still can’t be accessed after the city’s computer network was attacked by hackers in May, a city official said Friday. City Solicitor Andre Davis said emails older than 90 days cannot be retrieved. He said he expects the information will be recovered, but was not certain.”

WUSF: African American History Lost In Tampa Graveyard

WUSF: African American History Lost In Tampa Graveyard. “Last fall, a cemetery historian came upon a few death certificates from a little-known Tampa burial ground called Zion and he wanted help to learn more about it. Tampa Bay Times journalist Paul Guzzo took the story on, and after nine months of research, he discovered that no one really knows what happened to hundreds of bodies that were buried in Tampa’s first African American cemetery.”

Muckrock: Looking for a better way to teach public records? Read what we’ve learned in Make FOIA Work

Muckrock: Looking for a better way to teach public records? Read what we’ve learned in Make FOIA Work. “Last August, with support from the Online News Association, we partnered with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism to explore new ways of teaching public records to students and the broader community. Five workshops, four articles, and a hundred public records requests later, our partners at the Engagement Lab have put together a new website, Make FOIA Work, and downloadable guide on what we’ve learned, ideas to make Freedom of Information work more exciting and accessible, and a blueprint for others to build on.”