Here are a few of the data stories that caught my attention this week.
Profiling data journalists
Over the past week, O’Reilly’s Alex Howard has profiled a number of practicing data journalists, following up on the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting‘s (NICAR) 2012 conference. Howard argues that data journalism has enormous importance, but “given the reality that those practicing data journalism remain a tiny percentage of the world’s media, there’s clearly still a need for its foremost practitioners to show why it matters, in terms of impact.”
Howard’s profiles include:
- The API architect: Jacob Harris (@harrisj), The New York Times
- The Daily Visualizer: Matt Stiles (@Stiles), NPR
- The Data Editor: Meghan Hoyer (@MeghanHoyer) , The Virginian Pilot
- The Long Form Developer: Dan Nguyen (@dancow), ProPublica
- The Elections Developer: Derek Willis (@derekwillis)
- The Human Algorithm: Ben Welsh (@palewire), The Los Angeles Times
- The Visualizer: Michelle Minkoff (@MichelleMinkoff), Associated Press
Surveying data marketplaces
Edd Dumbill takes a look at data marketplaces, the online platforms that host data from various publishers and offer it for sale to consumers. Dumbill compares four of the most mature data marketplaces — Infochimps, Factual, Windows Azure Data Marketplace, and DataMarket — and examines their different approaches and offerings.
Dumbill says marketplaces like these are useful in three ways:
“First, they provide a point of discoverability and comparison for data, along with indicators of quality and scope. Second, they handle the cleaning and formatting of the data, so it is ready for use (often 80% of the work in any data integration). Finally, marketplaces provide an economic model for broad access to data that would otherwise prove difficult to either publish or consume.”
Analyzing sports stats
The Atlantic’s Dashiell Bennett examines the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, a “festival of sports statistics” that has grown over the past six years from 175 attendees to more than 2,200.
“For a sports conference, the event is noticeably athlete-free. While a couple of token pros do occasionally appear as panel guests, this is about the people behind the scenes — those who are trying to figure out how to pick those athletes for their team, how to use them on the field, and how much to pay them without looking like a fool. General managers and team owners are the stars of this show … The difference between them and the CEOs of most companies is that the sports guys have better data about their employees … and a lot of their customers have it memorized.”
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