Category Archives: Data Journalism

The Jobbridge database

The Jobbridge database [Version One] courtesy  of a Freedom of Information request. [Since the Excel XLSX file is rather large at over 14Mb, there may be problems in formatting etc. Any suggestions for improving usability gratefully received.] Version Two: Jobbridge database in Socrata (from a suggestion by Steve White)

Jobbridge and Freedom of Information

Victory of a sort…but mostly not In March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Social Protection (DSP), looking for the Jobbridge database. By July of the same year, DSP had replied with some of what I sought, but I had some problems, and so an appeals process began. My first problem was the DSP refusal to provide details of companies which had asked for… Read Article →

RTE, BAI, and the marriage referendum

In response to a letter from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland about coverage of same sex marriage, RTE politely responded that it knew how balance worked. I previously published a copy of the BAI’s letter to RTE, which I obtained from the BAI itself. Below are the letter and the official RTE response, obtained through an FOI request to RTE. Same Sex Marriage BAI to RTE 060814

What’s wrong with this graph?

It’s been niggling me since the result was announced, but there were other things to do, so it took me a few days to sit down and scratch this itch. The headline is simple. Older voters defeated the Scottish independence referendum, as illustrated by this graph breaking down voter intentions. But data journalism can be a tricky thing, and graphs can easily misleading unless designed with a bit of thought…. Read Article →

Kildare Street: Questions for the Oireachtas

On Tuesday, the Oireachtas website changed how it operates, effectively shutting down KildareStreet.com. Simon McGarr outlines the issues here. I send an email to the Oireachtas yesterday, containing several questions as follows: Can you supply me with a statement re operation of Oireachtas debates website, and recent changes to the site which have apparently rendered it unusable by the KildareStreet.com website? Why were these changes implemented? Will information be published… Read Article →

JobBridge: The Story So Far

Back in March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to FÁS and the Department of Social Protection (DSP) seeking two items: (1) Records maintained by FÁS relating to the number of jobbridge positions accepted by participants, how many jobbridge programmes have been completed, and relating to what happened afterwards to participants. (2) Records relating to the assessment, monitoring, quality control mechanisms etc FÁS is using in relation to… Read Article →

Jobbridgers used to clear citizenship backlog

Yesterday, I received a Freedom of Information file containing (part of) the Jobbridge database. Showing it to a friend, I ran a trivial search: Who sought the greatest number of jobbridgers? Three organisations requested 30 “interns”. For now, I can only tell you one of them. Step forward, Citizenship Division, Department of Justice and Equality. Here’s Alan Shatter, speaking at a citizenship ceremony on 14 June: When the Government came… Read Article →

What’s my line?

A barman, a TV repairman, four trade union officials, five solicitors, a salesman, a stockbroker, a publican, a post office clerk, two postmasters, a political advisor, four political party officials, an operations manager, a plant hire company owner, a painter/decorator, a newsagent, a management consultant, a fisherman, a FAS community employment scheme supervisor, fourteen farmers, an electrician, three doctors, a property developer, an US Congressional aide, two company directors, a… Read Article →

Numbers game

It’s been bothering me for a while, but until tonight I never bothered to do any research on it. Here’s Brian Lenihan’s version of it, as paraphrased by The Journal earlier today: “The Finance Minister said Ireland’s taxation system was no longer “fit for purpose”, saying that the upper 8% of taxpayers accounted for 60% of all income tax payments, while 80% of taxpayers contributed just 17% of the total… Read Article →

Are speed camera zones about safety or revenue?

I spent Tuesday at Hacks & Hackers Hack. Organised by Scraperwiki, and sponsored by the Guardian Open Platform, NUJ Dublin Freelance Branch and Innovation Dublin, HH&H was a one day exercise uniting Hacks (journalists) and Hackers (computer coders) to extract data from public databases. Since the introduction of safety camera zones has been in the news, our group decided to look at some road safety information. Some of the data… Read Article →