How fast is LAFD where you live? An analysis by the Los Angeles Times Data Desk

Interactive map from an LA Times series on emergency response times

In the US state that supplies most of the world’s bourbon, I saw a possible future for journalism. In that future, reporters are as adept at crunching numbers and interrogating databases as they are at interviewing, and write code as much as they do copy.

I once dismissed the idea that a journalist needed to learn how to program as a waste of time. Then last summer I tried my hand at some basic web programming (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery) after attending Computer Assisted Reporting Bootcamp, a course put on by the Media Alliance in association with the US-based National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting (NICAR). It proved valuable – I can now create simple tools such as interactive tables for The Australian Financial Review’s website – but I remained unconvinced.

But that was before I travelled to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 20th NICAR conference earlier this year. I was one of 600 journalists, programmers and designers who had gathered from 15 countries to exchange techniques and ideas over four days.

I alternated between feeling completely inspired and utterly overwhelmed, so it helped that I was in a state that claims to produce 95 per cent of the world’s bourbon.

The conference was host to the full spectrum of journalists, from reporters who had only ever used basic Excel commands through to those who spent their days programming. I heard from journalist after journalist who had learned how to code and been converted to the benefits of programming.

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The Australian Financial Review’s Budget Explorer was designed to help make sense of the data deluge that accompanies every federal budget. The interactive features five modules tackling a different major element of the budget. It was produced with the fine data visualisation experts from Small Multiples.

Major Initiatives and Savings
This module allows readers to explore the government’s 2013 budgetary juggling act by comparing major policy initiatives with major spending cuts.
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Social media will be a key battleground in this year’s Federal Election with the major parties using Twitter, Facebook and YoutTube to get their message out and fire up their supporter base.

The Financial Review has developed an interactive database of the key stats for all the federal politicians on social media. I will be updating and reporting on this database every month.

Obama’s chief data scientist says how the Labor and Liberal campaigns are getting it right – and wrong
Interactive | Liberals outgun Labor in social media

Edmund Tadros

Social media Interactive Database – Edmund Tadros

Explore the Financial Review’s interactive database of federal politicians on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the full set of 2011 census data late last year. I have explored the data and written a number of stories with my colleagues on topics ranging from eduction, housing, dating and the workplace.

Baby boomers who never say die (pay)

Baby boomers Census - Edmund Tadros

Baby boomers Census – Edmund Tadros

While most Australians still retire at 65, there has been a slow but steady increase in those continuing to work full- and part-time. Apart from working, the research shows that 65-74 is the decade of life when people are most likely to volunteer in a community group and care for other people’s children (usually their grandchildren).

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