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I'm a data journalist working for The News Journal in Delaware.

You'll probably find a lot of stuff about journalism, data and data visualization (nerd alert) and other random musings.

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Patrick Sweet

Archive

Mar
5th
Wed
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NICAR postmortem

I’m not quite sure I can summarize everything I learned at this year’s NICAR conference in Baltimore. There’s simply too much.

Here, however, are the highlights that I know I’ll be putting to use in The News Journal newsroom:

Statistics: Our new best friend

I attended a few panels on better using stats in the newsroom (one of which was even called “Enhance your stories with statistics”). We’ve done some rudimentary statistics quite bit, finding means, medians and even modes to explore different various topics.

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Feb
28th
Fri
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#NICAR14 - Day one

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It’s that most wonderful time of the year, the annual NICAR conference. For the uninitiated, this is the conference where journalists from all over the country (and from many other countries) get together to talk data, open records, technology and all the other wonderful components that make up the world of computer-assisted reporting (i.e. CAR or data journalism).

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Jan
2nd
Thu
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Some 2013 work highlights

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The past year seemed to fly by, and after looking at the server where I publish a lot of my work, I think I know why 2013 seemed so quick. It was busy.

What didn’t we map?

Looking back, I realized that I spent a lot of time building maps. Some of them were more interesting than others, and they varied quite a bit in complexity. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:

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Nov
1st
Fri
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MAPPING: Cars hitting deer and a hexagonal grid map

This post has been updated. Scroll to the bottom for the new information.

We published a story today about the growing population of deer and the state’s warnings that motorists need to be extra mindful of deer in the roadway this time of year.

It just so happens that we have a database of car accidents between 2005 and 2012 that can tell us whether a deer in the roadway caused the accident. It’s a little spotty before 2010, but that still leaves us three years of accident data to play with. In this case, we identified more than 4,700 car accidents caused by deer in the roadway in those three years.

We don’t want to just throw 4,700 points on a map, however, especially when the map is just the size of Delaware. So, this was the perfect opportunity to try something that I think is pretty cool and that I’ve seen a few other news outlets do: turn the state into a hexagonal grid to identify areas with a lot of accidents.

Instead of leaving you in suspense, here’s a link to the map. The rest will walk you through how it was put together.

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Jul
15th
Mon
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Delaware’s Dangerous Intersections

After months of analysis, reporting and delays, Melissa Nann Burke and I finally saw our analysis of the most dangerous intersections in Delaware grace A1 of The News Journal.

STORY: Delaware’s Dangerous Intersections

INTERACTIVE MAP: Most Dangerous Intersections

Our analysis focused on the 185 intersections that averaged at least 15 crashes per year between 2010 and 2012. I’ll defer to the story for a discussion of the findings, though. Here, I want to focus on how the analysis was done.

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Jun
26th
Wed
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suntimesdarktimes:

Front pages, June 26, 2013. 

Holly Hell! This is what happens when you gut your photo staff.

Jun
21st
Fri
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Supermoon and #firefly balloon.

Supermoon and #firefly balloon.

May
6th
Mon
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Arugula, prosciutto, tomato, goat cheese, mozzarella pizza. #netde #foodporn

Arugula, prosciutto, tomato, goat cheese, mozzarella pizza. #netde #foodporn

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Double meanings can be dangerous. #netde

Double meanings can be dangerous. #netde

Mar
5th
Tue
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#NICAR13 is already paying off. Thanks to a few sessions from a few brilliant people, I decided to try using R to evaluate bail data. Unfortunately, all these boxplots show me is that our data was screwed up when they changed the field type in 2004, which is just another fun problem to solve…

#NICAR13 is already paying off. Thanks to a few sessions from a few brilliant people, I decided to try using R to evaluate bail data. Unfortunately, all these boxplots show me is that our data was screwed up when they changed the field type in 2004, which is just another fun problem to solve…