As an attempt to remain relevant in an increasingly data-driven world, many traditional news publications are embracing the sweeping changes in their industry by employing a broad swath of new technologies. Here is a good case in point: The Los Angeles Times Data Desk, offering content such as maps, databases, analysis, and visualizations. I’ve looked all through this growing repository, and found it to be rich in content and thought provoking. I find it very interesting for a newspaper organization to treat data as its own department. It is a sign that management is serious about keeping with the times and has chosen to innovate rather than stagnate.
Here is a sampling of the data available at the LA Times Data Desk:
- A database of homicides searchable by street, city, and zip code.
- Demographics detail searchable by community.
- Crime reports searchable by neighborhood.
- Bestsellers list based on chain results and a weekly poll of 150 area bookstores.
- Military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-present, searchable by last name.
- California school guide with test scores, demographics and comments, searchable by address.
- Campaign contributions database.
Also included in the data desk is an open source section offering all sorts of cool APIs and data sources, a perfect resource for data scientists and machine learning practitioners. I was heartened to discover this important data resource as it indicates how a big city news organization is using innovation to stay competitive but also that my own hometown newspaper is making strides in keeping abreast with leading-edge technologies.
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