OJR’s Jim Wayne dives into Oakland Tribune’s “Not Just A Number” web site. The service won the Service Journalism Award from ONA for an amazingly powerful view of crime data.
The basic premise was to create a data visualization for Oakland homicide crime data that made the victims and, more importantly, the people in their lives real participants in the story rather than pure statistics (or just plain ignored entirely).
It’s a very powerful site and a model for all local newspapers to follow. It’s disappointing but no surprise the media creates these kinds of community services before local governments do. At least we’re getting more access to crime data.
Wayne also points to a crime data visualization from the Los Angeles Times called The Homicide Map that I wasn’t aware of.
They have a nice map mashup that takes a more statistical approach, yet they also include things like images of the victims.
Unfortunately, as Oakland Tribune producers Katy Newton and Sean Connelley point out, a mug shot is not a fair image to use for a violent crime victim in a statistical map. But I’m glad to see them exposing data that needs to be shared.
732 homicides in Los Angeles so far in 2007! Unbelievable.
3 thoughts on “Oakland Trib’s Not-Just-A-Number improves on crime data visualization”
Both are great examples of the types of crime reporting that most newspapers should be doing. All too often newspapers ignore the web (and opportunities such as these) in favor of the more comfortable and, dare I say easier, police report/press release driven crime coverage.
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