Computer assisted reporting

Links to resources and example files used in my book about data journalism, «Datastøttet journalistikk».

Supplemental resources

You will find a brief description and links to some of the software packages I refer to here. All of them are completely free, most of them are open-source and cross-platform.

Building fires in Oslo

One of the data examples I use throughout my book, is from a research project I did for a NRK documentary film in 2008.

Here, you can download a simplified version of the database I used. This is not the complete dataset. Rather, it is an partial version specially adapted to the examples described in my book.

Do not use these data files as basis for any real-world stories! There are missing entries, and inaccuracies are introduced for the sake of simplicity. For journalistic projects, you’ll have to assemble your own dataset.

  • Dummy database corresponding to the examples in the book. (Zipped MySQL dump, ~100 kB)
  • The dispatch log from the fire department, listing building fires in Oslo between 2001 to 2007. (Excel file, ~467 kB)

I researched fires in Oslo, comparing the locations for the fires with addresses registered on the City Heritage Office’s list of protected buildings.

The aim of the investigation was to see if there was an overweight of fires in old, historical buildings, and if there might be some covariance with the fires on the one hand, and the owner’s desire to demolish the very same buildings that the City Heritage Office have protected on the other hand.

ScraperWiki example

A hands-on example on how to write a screen scraper with the online service ScraperWiki can be found in the appendix of the book.

However, ScraperWiki have redesigned their user interface. The screen shots in the book are based on the «classical&raqou; view. The scraper in the example may still be accessed from the link below, but it is read-only.

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