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1 Analytic Journalism and Decoding the Political Race(s) "Newspapers are a 'morning line' tip sheet. 2 nd Session Wed, 8 Oct. 2008 Tracking the data's.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Analytic Journalism and Decoding the Political Race(s) "Newspapers are a 'morning line' tip sheet. 2 nd Session Wed, 8 Oct. 2008 Tracking the data's."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Analytic Journalism and Decoding the Political Race(s) "Newspapers are a 'morning line' tip sheet. 2 nd Session Wed, 8 Oct Tracking the data's flow upstream. And then landing it. Tom Johnson Institute for Analytic Journalism Santa Fe, New Mexico Three SF Complex Tuesday, 30 Sept. 2008

2 2 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Objectives: 2 nd Tuesday, 7 Oct "How to track the data's flow upstream. Whos behind those sites, anyway? Whats in online data bases and how did that data get there? How good, i.e. clean, is the data? 1 st Tuesday, 30 Sept "Newspapers are a 'morning line' tip sheet.

3 3 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Did anyone ??? What learned? Interrogate the sub-pages, their links and the data in those links. List 5 story ideas - based on the data – that could be done Find 5 vested interested sites that have data pertaining to political campaigns.

4 4 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Candidates Use the Internet Web site Fund raising Online ads Webcasts of events Blogs and podcasts Take polls and surveys Communicate with press Television ads on the official site Campaign web video on other sites Participate in social networking sites Opposition research Manage field operations Text messaging

5 5 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Voters Use the Internet Find out about all candidates and issues Contribute to candidates Organize for and against candidates and issues Tell their friends/family about political issues Post their own opinions in blogs Post video and audio related to candidates Rate posted videos Create their own sites Use social network sites

6 6 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 What were aiming for today Who/what is behind a web site? How do we get data off the web into analytic tools Why do we care? Efficiency Dispersed national archive The Wayback Machine - Accuracy

7 7 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Who/what is behind a web site? DNS (Domain Name System)Domain Name System Translates human-friendly computer hostnames into IP addresses. i.e. translates to = IP Address hostnamesIP addresses Whois - Betterwhois Domain History View historical whois records

8 8 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Domain walk-through Search Google for "republican national committee" site:.org No free sites to find all domains at address or in block of Ips, but But can triangulate by using phone numbers or addresses in Google

9 9 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Data formats Ink-on-paper (use OCR) Online (copy and paste; insert URL) Documents (file type?) Dynamic data bases PDF (export;OCR; c&p; Images (.jpg.gif) [ Conversion tool ] Conversion tool Audio and video files (text/content analysis) Less advanced tools

10 10 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 DB vs. Stats Apps vs. Excel Statistical applications SAS, R, Stata, Mathematica, SPSS SASRStataMathematicaSPSS Cases or Records Fields or variables Alpha or numeric data Linkage = flatfile or relational Priority language scripts Pros Large data sets Fast sorting/filtering True, fine-tuned statistical methodology

11 11 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 DB vs. Stats Apps vs. Excel Database: Cases or Records Fields or variables Alpha or numeric data Linkage = flatfile or relational VBA Scripts Pros Large data sets Fast sorting/filtering

12 12 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 DB vs. Stats Apps vs. Excel Excel Rows = records or cases Columns = variables or fields Alpha or numeric Linkage to workbooks/worksheets VBA Scripts Pros Counting money/cases Flow through calculation Richer calculations/statistical Easy – if crude – graphics

13 13 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Finding data Googles Advance Search file type Google cheat sheet Bookmarks But what is seen is not the digital reality

14 14 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Getting data off web, into Excel No silver bullet! 1. Try copying URL and use it to open Excel 2. Look at the page source. If you can see the actual data, good odds of c&p table 3. Use FireFox extensions and right click selections 1. In Excel, Paste and Paste Special 2. Consider cell formats

15 15 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 A few Spreadsheet Commandments NEVER do analysis on original file. After importing data, enter row or cell or Comment with Source, its URL & date Save this file in folder with Name-the-Virgin file name Re-save the file with a track-able file name, i.e. OpenSource Casino v1 – Oct 8 08 Periodically re-save with adjusted file name. (Why you want to keep a log book so you will know how far back you need to go.)

16 16 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Piggy-backing on Bill Dedman Obama leads the money chase in key counties Obama leads the money chase in key counties Challenge in getting data out of sub- tables. Look at Source for tips. Use Ffox to highlight & copy (table?) Might have to try different approaches Scan whole web page for happy surprises.

17 17 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Different approaches??? Copy data and paste into MS Word Turn on Word show/hide¶ Look for delimiting or field separator characters or symbols. Use those to parse the text to columns in Excel. Save Word file as text (.txt)

18 18 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Digital Shadow Puppets Basic, clean data and code Source: Liberal-Conservative Self-Identification

19 19 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Links with contribution data Opensecrets.org Copy and paste into Excel

20 20 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Getting data out of PDF Get latest version of Acrobat Reader PDF apps alternatives Acrobat Pro – pricey but evolving (Buy one-back version, i.e. ABBYY PDF Transformer 2.0

21 21 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Getting data out of PDF Aetna Report 07annualreport.pdf Page 4 07annualreport.pdf Copy and paste into Excel Check Cell Format types Common Cause NEW MEXICO: THE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND LOBBYING EXPENDITURES OF THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY AND ITS ALLIES P. 16 NEW MEXICO: THE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND LOBBYING EXPENDITURES OF THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY AND ITS ALLIES

22 22 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Browsers PDF might not be PDF GovernmentAttic.org Office of the Governor accessions into the Alaska State Archives and Records Dispositions 01-January-2007 to September 2008 Office of the Governor accessions into the Alaska State Archives and Records Dispositions

23 23 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Review Data In Analysis Info Out Think about process & forms of data plus methods Need for new tools Document transformation tools Objective: get to ASCII or as close to it as possible Search for PDF to Text and html to text pdf to excel converter See PDF Online and Easy Converter DesktopPDF OnlineEasy Converter Desktop Acrobat Professional Can export PDF to different formats OCR = Optical Character Recognition

24 24 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 For next week – 14 Oct. Pull down some data that interests you Get it into a spreadsheet Add a new column or row that gives you information about the topic you didnt know before

25 25 AJ and Decoding the Political Race(s) © J.T.Johnson 2008 _________________________ Fall 2008 Objectives: 1 st Tuesday, 30 Sept "Newspapers are a 'morning line' tip sheet. 2 nd Tuesday, 7 Oct "How to track the data's flow upstream. 3 nd Tuesday, 7 Oct How to make sense of those numbers? More on getting the data off the web PDFs, CSV & importing and exporting Simple arithmetic and simple spreadsheet tips


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