Data Journalism

Chris Knox

Data Editor at the New Zealand Herald (in August 2019)

22 September, 2019


  • Persist with getting data from NZ.Stat and Infoshare
  • There is a lot of data for stories in

Inflation adjusted median household income

Write out the steps

  • Get the median household income data
  • Get the CPI data
  • Combine the data
  • Calculate the inflation adjusted value


We have the income (NZ.Stat) and the CPI (Infoshare) data


I forgot how much of a pain it is to open NZ.Stat files - data is here

  • Load them both into separate workflow

Income data

  • Upload
  • Grrr commas in year
    • Convert year column to date
    • Actually not the right thing - we will come back to this
  • Results of conversion
  • Select Year and Value
  • Convert weekly income to annual
  • Drop value column

CPI data

(We did this yesterday)

  • Use a new tab
  • Upload
  • Remove extra row
  • And rename while we are cleaning up
  • Filter out Q1,Q3,Q4
    • It doesn’t matter which quarter - just be consistent
  • Filter using
    text contains
  • Let’s shorten the CPI column name
  • Another rename
  • Ohh lost filter
    • Set column again

Joining time

  • Start a new

    for joining

    • Leave data loading tabs for data loading
  • Start a new tab using an existing tab

  • Join to the other tab

  • Ohoh not ready yet

  • Columns need to match

    • Type, name, and content
  • Turn the year into a number without formatting

    • Could do this back at beginning
  • Remove Q2 from years

  • Convert to number without formatting

  • Rename to Year

  • Hooray

  • Oh Index is text

  • Calculation time

    • Index is designed so it provides a ratio
    • Think about whether number should get bigger or smaller
  • Divide through by year’s index

  • Multiple by index now

  • Tidy up

  • Look charts

  • Does that look right?

Stories in police data

  • Use the little plus to expand
  • See more levels
  • Select a level
  • Select a sublevel
  • What is happening?
  • How can we download?
  • Don’t download the summary
  • Download the full data
  • What if we want to look at cities?
  • Police stations report
  • Use the variance to look for big changes
  • Sort by variance
    • Ignore big changes in small numbers
  • Select the cities you are interested in
    • Lower Hutt and Wellington too



Write a short pitch for a data-supported or data-driven article based on police data.

  • No more than 150 words
  • What is the (draft - more summary than headline) headline?
  • Why is the data interesting/newsworthy?
  • What other data will you use?
  • What data processing do you expect to have to do?


Write the data-supported or data-driven article.


  • Christmas assaults

  • Rise in serious assaults

  • Burglarly town vs town

  • You don’t need to interview people

  • But do say who you would interview and why

  • Final article should be 400 to 600 words

    • Actual article could be less to leave room for interviews
  • Office hours

  • Reach out to me if you have questions like:

    • I think I should be able to download XX but I can’t
    • I want to calculate XX but I’m stuck