Murder in America
The Wall Street Journal takes FBI data from 2000 to 2010 to analyze the who, what, where, why, how and when murders take place across America.
All 165,068 in the decade analyzed.
The interactive they’ve created lets users sort and explore “why” a murder occurred (eg., Lover’s Triangle, Gang Killing and a large bucket of “Other”), who was killed and by whom (by race, sex and relationship), what weapon was used (eg., gun, knife, blunt object, etc.), when murders occurred (by year) and where they occurred (by state).
Needless to say, guns top the weapons category. While unlikely, getting pushed or thrown out a window has occurred 35 times.
Most often the relationship between the victim and killer is unknown (in over 70,000 cases). How or why this doesn’t become known goes unexplained but acquaintances accounted for over 27,000 murders, strangers for over 25,000.
In the good to know but it goes against our folk history category: the least likely to commit murder are stepmothers with 57 killings attributed to them in the decade analyzed.
The WSJ notes in their methodology that the data they’re working with has many holes in it. For example:
The FBI collects this data from the states, except for Florida. Florida doesn’t use the FBI’s guidelines when reporting additional information about homicides. The FBI data don’t capture all homicides. The states’ reporting is voluntary, and the country’s thousands of police agencies aren’t consistent in how they report. Some states, including New York, reported no justifiable homicides at all for some years. In recording the circumstances of a murder, the information recorded in the FBI data may capture only the relationship of the killer to one of the victims — but not other victims — in a given situation. Because of the unlimited number of scenarios in which a homicide can occur, the coding used in the FBI database may not explain the full set of circumstances involved.
That said, an interesting data set and interactive but view it as a big picture account of murder in America.
Image: Detail, Murder in America, by the Wall Street Journal.
I love alpacas!
Tweets your congressman wishes you couldn't see -
From The Atlantic:
Stephen Fincher, Congressional representative of the 8th district of Tennessee, once posted the following observation to his Twitter feed:
Half an hour after posting his message, however, Fincher deleted it — thus depriving the world not only of an opportunity for comparative textual analysis, but also for conversational interaction with a politician.Post, think better of it, delete. That might have been the end of things. A small insight into a politician (or, at least, into the staffer of a politician) lost to history.
Until now, that is. Today, the transparency-minded folks over at the Sunlight Foundation are releasing a new service: Politwoops, which exists solely to resurface deleted tweets from politicians’ accounts. The project follows the official Twitter feeds of, among others, President Obama, members of Congress, and presidential candidates; when a pol has a deleted a tweet, Politwoops records the deletion and archives the message. It also records, helpfully, the time of deletion and the amount of time elapsed between posting and deletion. Think Tweleted, only politics-focused and operational.
The Politwoops team has been compiling a database of deleted tweets for six months now — so, though today marks the service’s official launch, Politwoops has already recorded over 3,000 deleted tweets for your schadenfreudistic enjoyment. These include: Senator John McCain mocking the tears of Vladimir Putin after the latter’s re-election; Newt Gingrich’s campaign account tweeting, Dole-like, in the third person; and Representative Jeff Miller tweeting a link to a Facebook poll asking, “Was Obama born in the United States?”
This is fantastic.
This IS fantastic
The Woodbridge Avenue Honor Roll and War Memorial Committee has installed two replacement plaques at a war memorial in Ansonia, after they were stolen to scrap for cash last year.
They’ll have a hell of a job trying to get it out if they tried now, —
Nancy Evans, member of the Woodbridge Avenue Honor Roll and War Memorial, talking about new bronze plaques installed at the memorial in Ansonia, Conn.
I didn’t see participants wringing their hands and worrying about the future of journalism. They’re too busy building it. —
David Herzog, associate professor for print and digital news at the Missouri School of Journalism, in an interview after the NICAR 2012 Conference. (via O’Reilly Radar)
The event is well-summarized by another conference attendee, Anthony DeBarros, senior database editor at USA Today:
The conference is a place where news nerds can gather and remind themselves that they’re not alone in their love of numbers, data analysis, writing code and finding great stories by poring over columns in a spreadsheet. It serves as an important training vehicle for journalists getting started with data in the newsroom, and it’s always kept journalists apprised of technological developments that offer new ways of finding and telling stories. At the same time, its connection to IRE keeps it firmly rooted in the best aspects of investigative reporting — digging up stories that serve the public good.
Read the full conference report here, and check out the first two interviews in Alex Howard’s new series profiling data journalists.
The Long Form Developer: Originally an aspiring long form writer, Pro Publica’s Dan Nguyen says,
With data journalism techniques, there are countless new angles to important issues, and countless new and interesting ways to tell their stories… It just happens that programming also provides even more ways to present a story when narrative isn’t the only (or the ideal) way to do so.
The Elections Developer: the New York Times’ Derek Willis emphasizes how data can help journalism fulfill its promise of public services. He says,
We live in an age where information is plentiful. Tools that can help distill and make sense of it are valuable. They save time and convey important insights. News organizations can’t afford to cede that role. [Data journalism and news apps] really force you to think about how the reader/user is getting this information and why. I think news apps demand that you don’t just build something because you like it; you build it so that others might find it useful.
In a culture that favors sensation, the fact checker is an anomaly, perhaps even anathema. He is the brakes on editors and writers racing toward deadline intent on dazzling readers at the expense of edifying them. He is the schoolmarm tsk tsking. He is the public defender for the unrepresented, the downtrodden, the forgotten—the facts. — On the unheralded work of fact checkers via The Atlantic (via aprilmayparker)
We’re delighted to hear that Rep. Fleming is a regular reader of America’s Finest News Source and doesn’t bother himself with The New York Times, Washington Post, the mediums of television and radio, or any other lesser journalism outlets. — The Onion editor Joe Randazzo • In response to the Republican Congressman who mistook an Onion article for the real thing. source (via • follow)
(Source: shortformblog, via theatlantic)
Enough, We Get It: Retweets Aren’t Endorsements
Twitter has been around for almost six years and each year people feel the need to remind everyone that their retweets are not endorsements. Overkill or still necessary?
Read more on GOOD
So true. I think people keep writing this message because some people actually believe your retweet is an endorsement.