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Using international data in investigative journalism

Panel at the global investigative journalism conference in Geneva 23th of April 2010
By nils.mulvad@kaasogmulvad.dk

In many years US was seen as the leader in Computer-Assisted Reporting, due to the fact that it was easy to get data in US, and much more difficult in other countries.
But this is also build on a misunderstanding. In US the journalists also have to fight hard and long battles to get data, and they do.

Overcrowded at the panel on international data

In the same way, journalists in other countries need to implement the same attitude, working for data. We started with that in Denmark in 1996, and slowly the possibilities began to change.
In 2004 Denmark as the first EU-country was forced to open for information on recipients of EU farm subsidies. The year after a lot of journalists, researchers and NGO’s formed farmsubsidy.org to join forces to get the data out in all EU-countries. And it was together with other initiatives a way to spread the attitude of fighting for data, using FOI or wobbing as it is called in Europe, round in European countries. Now we see a flood of data coming out in Europe. We see networks on specific topics (farm subsidy, fish subsidies, lobbyism, EU-structural funds).
First step is to start the process of getting data and use them in journalism – or to get the help from NGO who already have structured data from authorities. Often these NGO’s want to help journalists for free.
Next natural step is to begin working together cross-border on data or make projects between US and Europe on for instance lobbyism or farm subsidies.

Links from Nils Mulvad
Overview of payments in EU farm subsidies:

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/funding/index_en.htm
http://wobbing.eu/
www.fishsubsidy.org
www.farmsubsidy.org
Free data in Denmark: http://www.kaasogmulvad.dk/data/gratis/
European lobbyism: http://www.corporateeurope.org/
NGO working on EU-structural data: http://www.tbij.com/
Climate data: http://kmswww3.kms.dk/kortpaanettet/
Dangerous production in Denmark: http://www.aabenhedstinget.dk/?p=773

Links from Brant Houston
Banktracker: http://banktracker.investigativereportingworkshop.org/banks/
Economic meltdown: http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/economic_meltdown/data/maps/
Ujima project: http://ujima-project.org/dfid/country/
Many eyes: http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/visualizations/what-is-collaboration
Official Google blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/
Finding identities: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/be-who-you-want-on-web-pages-you-visit.html
Google – statistics for a changing world: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/statistics-for-changing-world-google.html
Google lab for public data: http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&ctype=m&met_c=unemployment_rate&fdim_c=seasonality:S&met_s=unemployed&fdim_s=seasonality:S&ifdim=state&hl=en_US&dl=en_US&mapType=t
Movie on social network analysis: http://www.soc.duke.edu/~jmoody77/NetMovies/rom_flip.htm
Footnoted: http://www.footnoted.org/

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