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2020-09-29 | J++ Newsletter #99

The Los Angeles Times has looked at how fire season in California is worsening, alongside a changing climate. The piece includes some really creative visuals, including this comparison of the biggest wildfires 2001-10 and 2011-20. 

And speaking of climate data, how can you get started with the topic at small or local newsrooms? Our sister company Newsworthy talked about this recently at investigative journalism conference Grävseminariet. Slides here [in Swedish], and our crowdsourced list of climate-related datasets is here

How was the FinCEN investigation done? 

You won’t have missed the FinCEN files leak, revealing how huge sums of money are laundered via global banks. There’s a great “how we did it” write-up on the ICIJ website. 

Also, Swedish television SVT have written a blog post (in English) about how they used machine learning to search through the leak and "find clues for journalists".
Check out Berliner Morgenpost's creative take on how to show regional differences. With their interactive visualisation, you can cut and compare different parts of Germany and see differences in life expectancy, gender pay gap, children in private school, and more. 

Tools and tutorials

QGIS 3.14 (aptly named “Pi”) was recently released, and should be available for most platforms by now. There are literally hundreds of new features, but as data journalists we are particularly happy for one of the minor ones: Finally being able to keep multiple tables open in tabs, much like we do in Excel or Google Sheets.

Getting to grips with how to structure spreadsheets and build your own databases can be a real minefield. The paper Data Organization in Spreadsheets, which originally came out a few years ago, remains a great primer on the topic.

Finally, for those getting into R and ggplot2, the #tidytuesday community on Twitter posts new visualisation challenges every week - and is friendly and encouraging.
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