Data reporting

Data-driven quick hits are my favorite kind of daily to find, but I think the real power in data analysis comes in for the bigger-picture projects. The following is a small sample of the data work I’ve done.

Bradenton Herald

Naples Daily News

In the summer of 2014, I interned as the Naples Daily News database intern. I got a couple of quick-hit daily stories out on my own, but I also helped with other reporters’ larger projects:

Shrinking Shores: Florida reneges on pledges to its beaches

Mr. Staats and Mr. Mills were working on this project when I arrived. They needed my help in cleaning and analyzing the Excel data they already FOIA’d. I also helped with vizzing parts of the project. This map was my doing and I helped with this one.

Shuttered: Florida’s failed charter schools

Mr. Carpenter did all the heavy lifting in reporting this story. I helped verify, clean, analyze and format some of the data during the three months I was on staff.


View my Tableau Public gallery here.

Fraternities and sororities fail inspections; Violations take months to fix

In college, my first experience with in-depth work and data journalism came when we looked into how often University-endorsed Greek housing is inspected (by city of Champaign employees) and how much good those inspections actually do for the safety of students. To do this story, we built our own database from hundreds of pages of handwritten housing inspection reports. From there, we were able to do analysis nobody had done before and create an interactive map.

In depth

While covering daily business news for the Bradenton Herald, certain stories have leapt out and struck a chord. In every case, a quick-hit daily we wrote spurred a phone call that turned into a story I dug my heels into. Every in-depth story included data collection and analysis.

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee had to ask the county for $200,000 in emergency funding. We dove into years of 990 records to give the full picture of how the organization ended up in such a situation. Increased demand for services, costly PLUS programs and heavy reliance on private gifts has led to the budget shortfall.

After Tropical Storm Colin, one restaurateur expressed his concern about abandoned boats destroying his property in the event of a more severe storm. A few conversations later, the Bradenton Herald’s island reporter Amaris Castillo and I discovered abandoned and derelict boats are a statewide problem, and one that’s costly to taxpayers. Castillo and I spent hours chasing the next link in the story to figure out how much money our county spent on this problem and to find out how many people it affects.

I wrote about two elderly care facilities planning to open in our coverage area. After a phone call that I happened to catch when I stopped by the office on a Saturday afternoon, I found out that 10,000 elderly care facilities could be built, but not a one would be an option for the Schmidts, a family living with ALS.