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Agustin Armendariz - California Watch - data analyst

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My name is Agustin I'm a Data Analyst at California Watch My history is I went to American University to get Masters in Journalism without realising I was supposed to work at your school paper, work at other small journalism jobs as I worked the way up the industry. So, I very much indeed needed a job. And because I need a job and there was a need for technical skills in journalism to analyse the million record datasets that exist out there, to do things like mapping and so. I was fortunate enough to end up at the Center Public Integrity where I worked with Derek WIllis, Derek Willis, Aron Pilhofer and Daniel Lathrop and they, they showed me the way in terms of the skills I needed to acquire to be successful as a data journalist and a data analyst in journalism. And really they kind of showed me the real power of this is to have reproducible results. Like If you’re working in a database and you blow something up, instead of having to go back by hand and recreate things I can have scripts that recreate it. Whether it is a campaign finance database, or contracting database, I can very quickly reproduce what I did off of the raw data, the raw materials and re-jigger (redo) the analysis. and so, you can see how much more efficiently you can work, you can see how much more accurate your results can be And those are kind of the gateway drugs for picking up these different skills like scripting. Whether that’s in python, or perl or php or whatever language you like. An example of how this can help us work more efficiently and do powerful stories is our seismic safety project called “On Shaky Ground” When you are looking at maps on the order of like 10000 schools and you try to overlay that with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other maps that show liquefaction zones, or landslide zones, fault lines. You know it becomes really hard to do by hand. You can’t really do it by hand So if you can unleash computers on this, then you have a chance of analysing things on the order of 10000 schools and hundreds of maps and then be able to focus in your reporting to find the really good examples and kind of qualify the problem of how extensive these construction projects are sprinkled throughout our state that are potentially putting kids at risk. So that in a nutshell, I think, is what I do and why I picked up some of the technological skills I guess LNdata: What do you love of this work? I love telling stories In journalism what we do is we just help people understand their society better, right? Whether that’s where do I go for a good restaurant, what band is playing, Is my kid in a good school that is seismically sound and can withstand an earthquake Part of the process is sifting through these documents, sifting through this electronic information, finding the good nuggets, helping quantify the problem and then tell people more about the society in which they live

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: @LNdata
Director: Florencia Coelho
Views: 352
Posted by: lndata on Oct 23, 2012

Explains his job

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