Trinity Mirror data unit weekly review: why simple interactives are often the best

This post was originally published on this site

Okay, it’s a fortnightly review. I wasn’t around last Friday.

We start with a couple of interactives built by the unit. The first was to go with the newly-released Welsh colour-banded school ratings. It didn’t aim to do much: just let parents find their children’s school, and ones nearby, as quickly as possible, and see their results.

As usual we preferred a postcode-search — it’s quicker and, besides, everyone knows their postcode even if they don’t know their local authority.

See the story here

Too simple? Well, the story the gadget was used with — headlined simply “Wales schools colour codes 2018: Find out how your school rated”— has been one of the five most-read stories on the site over the past fortnight, and numbers are still rising. There are times when audiences want deep analysis and multi-layered interactives. And there are times they just want a specific piece of information as quickly and painlessly as possible (probably on a mobile phone). A data team can, and should, do both.

We built a second interactive when the English schools performance data came out, along the same lines, to complement our journalist’s analysis.

See the story here

Same simple construction, similar result in terms of page views.

News-wise, here are some of the stories data unit team members have been telling:

  1. Claire Miller’s constant monitoring of public health data allowed her to pick up a significant (and growing) scarlet fever outbreak across the country. You can read her work in various Trinity Mirror titles including these in Stoke, Hull, Somerset, Surrey, Kent and Lincolnshire.
  2. Claire’s analysis of poverty hotspots did great traffic in Cornwall in particular and also saw her get a single-bylined splash in Coventry:
See the story here

3. Speaking of splashes, Annie Gouk analysed the latest data from fire service to find a shocking rise in arson attacks in places like Birmingham, Surrey, Lincolnshire and Oldham:

4. We also looked at detailed exam results for hundreds of councils and found native English-speaking pupils are being comprehensively outperformed by children who speak English as a second language virtually everywhere.

5. Claire’s round-up of the most expensive homes sold in 2017 — based on millions of rows of Land Registry open data — is a perennial favourite that got excellent use in, inter alia, Bristol, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Devon.

6. Rob Grant got a great line from the BMA on his exclusive analysis of the under-reporting of dementia, with doctors admitting part of the reason was that under-pressure NHS and social services systems simply couldn’t cope if everyone was correctly diagnosed. See his story for Somerset here and Devon here.

7. Annie showed how children in care were far more likely to be convicted of a crime. See the full analysis — and what experts said about the trend — on various TM sites like this one or this one.

8. Figures on rough-sleeping came out last week. We generally don’t spend too long on figures which we think “non-data unit reporters” around the group will be aware of, and planning to use. There’s no point replicating work, and in any case we prioritise looking for exclusives. That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything with such data. We often find ways of adding value, and comparisons with historical data or local trends can turn up important lines that would otherwise be missed. In this case, you can read Claire’s work in various titles, including the Mirror, and see Mark Magill’s video companion piece on various sites like this one.

Here’s a gallery of the print-pages journalist Alice Cachia and designers Marianna Longo and Kelly Leung have done for Trinity Mirror’s daily papers this week. They cover such topics as gambling addiction, families refusing organ transplants, phones smuggled into prisons, and rugby. Obviously.


Finally, our “robot pages” — generated automatically from templates for weekly titles across the group — were on homelessness this week. Here are a couple of sample pages, for Croydon and our Gloucestershire titles:

Have an excellent weekend.

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