JOUR 6700.03 Public Records Research (Investigative) 2017

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Instructor: David McKie

Office: 1-613-290-7380
Fax: 1-613-288-6523
E-Mail: david_mckie@cbc.ca

Week one | Week two | Week three | Week four | Week five |   Assignment One Assignment Two | Assignment Three | Assignment Four | Assignment Five | Tutorials | Datasets Readings | Additional Resources |

Tuesday and Thursday mornings: 9:35-12:35 in lab two from July 11 to August 10. My office space is room 129 on the main floor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES

This course will teach students how to locate, obtain and read public records with an investigative and data mindset. Students will learn to probe public records to uncover connections and patterns of information that might be invisible from reviewing one record in isolation. Students will learn how public records fit into a complete research strategy with the aim of telling, investigative, original and breaking stories, or simply adding context to ongoing stories.

The course will cover tools such as federal access-to-information and provincial/municipal freedom-of-information requests, as well as journalists’ legal rights to specific types of information and key repositories of public records. We will focus on public records,  including documents and databases that can be downloaded and analyzed in spreadsheeets like Excel, mapping and visualization programs such as Qgis.

The course will encourage students to think laterally about these records, finding information that can help to find original stories, or stories that provide value-added context to the large issues of the day.

As such, each assignment will build upon the previous one.

To aid our analysis of how these records can be used, the material will be classified into general themes such as government, the courts business with an investigative frame of mind. For instance, learning how to follow money: how it’s made, lost and hidden.

Such classifications will aid in our ability to cross-reference the information and think strategically about records, which will include, but not be limited to, the following categories:

GOVERNMENT

Hansard, Canada Gazette (and its provincial cousins); bills; statutes; regulations; policies; evaluations and audits; Orders in Council; budgets; estimates; public accounts; public sector salary disclosure; disclosure of contracts and travel in various jurisdictions; polls conducted for departments; formal and informal answers to questions from members of Parliament; discussion papers; municipal reports; minutes of meetings; Statistics Canada; and news releases.

LEGAL

Court decisions; informations (charges); exhibits; transcripts; civil filings;
bankruptcy records; search warrants; divorce documents; Judge Advocate General reports (the military); crime; statistics; records of professional disciplinary bodies and quasi-­judicial tribunals.

WHAT PEOPLE OWN

Land titles, mortgages, assessments, liens; shares in companies; and assets such as boats and cars.

FOLLOWING THE MONEY

Public securities filings (SEDAR, EDGAR); financial statements; management information circulars; annual reports; political campaign contributions; contracts and tenders at the federal, provincial, municipal levels and lobbyist registries.

SPECIALIZED RECORDS

Transport Canada’s online database of vehicle recalls; Health Canada’s drug, medical and consumer product safety data; Workplace safety data; Revenue Canada’s listings of revoked charities; federal and municipal lobbyist registries, environmental records such as the National Pollutant Release Inventory; food recall data; Industry Canada’s trade data, etc.

STORYTELLING

This isn’t a storytelling course, per se. However, evocative narrative is essential, especially for original stories. This means that in addition to the records discussed thus far, stories must have an essential element — people. That is, strong central characters who can help drive the narrative.

Since our focus is digital, stories will be posted to specific categories on this WordPress site, and they will be multi-media, using the tools you’ve already learned and some new ones that we’ll discover in this course.

ASSESSMENT

The normal journalistic standards will apply to the assignments. The work must be submitted on time. Generally, you will be graded on factors such as the precision and clarity of the writing, the thoroughness of the research that we’ve discussed in class, and the creativity needed to take your research and interviews beyond the regular suspects that populate too many stories, namely, spokespeople and oft-quoted officials. Specifically, you will be graded on the criteria established for each assignment. Grammatical mistakes and errors due to a lack of proofreading will all lead to a loss of marks. Factual errors may result in a failing grade. Written stories should be written in accordance with Canadian Press style.

Given that stories online lend themselves to a multi-media treatment to a greater degree than print, television or radio,  you’ll be graded on those elements and the extent to which they are seamlessly blended into the story. Whether it be a photo, timeline, map, chart, graph, the element must not only be a natural part of the narrative, but add value.

Multi-media elements such as photos, maps and graphs must be clear, contain value-added content, proper citation of the source, cut lines and titles. Failure to include these elements will result in lost marks.

The assignments will be comprised of two parts: an explanation of the steps taken to locate the record(s), the reason the methodology was employed and how the material was employed as a source, or major component of the story; and the story itself. Each part will be marked equally because it is important to reward the process ( as opposed to effort ) of finding the story. That means 50 percent for methodology and 50 percent for the story.

Assignments will be graded for both their journalistic and production values. Marks for the journalistic values will be based on the strength or newsworthiness of the story idea; originality of research; the depth of your research and the ability to overcome obstacles in gathering research, interviews, photos and other elements critical to the assignment.

The stories we produce each week will be posted on the class website and students will be encouraged to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to publicize their stories and solicit tips that could lead to more stories or follow-ups. In short, the class will be run like a newsroom. If you prefer not to make your work public, you can simply designate the story as private.  The instructor will also do the same if the story contains information that could be considered libellous, for instance.

And, finally,  10% of your grade will be based on your professionalism: showing up on time, participating in class, buying the textbooks, doing the readings, doing the assigned Excel skills (pivot tables and functions, for instance), responding to emailed queries promptly.

Students must achieve at least a B-.

A BREAKDOWN OF THE MARKING SCHEME

Research Component 50%

Depth of research 10%

Originality 20%

Creative use of material 20%

Total 50%

Storytelling 50%

Precision and clarity 20%

Originality 30%

Total 50%

*Marks will be deducted for errors of spelling, grammar and CP style.

See detailed rubric at the end of the outline.

Assignments are to be uploaded to our website on time, and unless there are unusual circumstances such as a medical emergency, no extensions will be granted. If an assignment cannot be completed for a medical reason, you will be required to provide a doctor’s note.

The assignments — the stories, public records and explanation of research methodology — will be submitted as emailed attachments. The assignments will be graded promptly.

Assignment one 15%

Assignment two 15%

Assignment three 15%

Assignment four 15%

Assignment five 20%

Excel Quizzes: 10%

Professionalism 10%

Total 100%

Assignment one: A story based on a publicly traded company

Assignment two: A story based on legal records

Assignment three: A story that backgrounds a newsworthy figure

Assignment four: A data-driven story based on the latest Statistics Canada census release

Final assignment: This final assignment will be the broadest in scope,
pulling together everything you have learned, and cross-referencing a number of records belonging to the various categories discussed in class. You will have to give some thought fairly early in the term to the way you want to tell the story.

Grading Scale:

A+ 90-­100

A 85-89

A- 80-84

B+ 77-79

B 73-76

B- 70-72

F <70

Students must achieve a B- in all classes. Disputes over academic performance and assessment will be dealt with according to the Academic Regulations of the School of Journalism. Students may appeal decisions of the Journalism Studies Committee to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

For more information, see the King’s calendar and the Dalhousie University Graduate Calendar.

PROFESSIONALISM

The professionalism you exhibit in your conduct, work habits and assignments are emphasized because they will matter in your career.

Because we’ll conduct ourselves as professional journalists, you will be expected to exhibit the appropriate behaviour. That means attending class, showing up on time; being prepared and ready to make a meaningful contribution based the readings and work you’ve been assigned; paying attention to your instructor and colleagues and ignoring cell phones, email correspondence, Facebook, Twitter and text messages while in class; and promptly responding to the instructor’s emailed correspondence. You’ll also be expected to stay on top of current events, which is part of your obligation as a journalist. If you must miss class, you will be expected to communicate with the instructor via email beforehand. You will also be expected to exhibit the conduct of a professional journalist when working on assignments in the field.

You will also be expected to complete the readings, as they, too, will form the basis for our discussions.

If you find an in-class exercise or assignment is confusing, it is your responsibility to seek clarity.

READING MATERIAL

The course textbook will be Digging Deeper: A Canadian Reporter’s Research Guide Third Edition, and The Data Journalist, which is augmented with online tutorials, outlining ways to use Excel, PDF-cracking software, Tableau Public and other programs that visualize data.

COMMUNICATION WITH STUDENTS

In addition to regular office hours, communication will also take place through emailed correspondence and phone calls. The protocol will dictate that emailed queries be answered as promptly as possible because that is how it is done in newsrooms.

As such, it will be important for students to regularly check their email accounts for communications such as revisions to instructions for assignments or readings, additions to the syllabus, or notes about a particular news story that you may be required to read.  For the most part, my lessons will be based on events making news. The excuse that I forgot to check my email is unprofessional and will not be accepted!

COURSE DETAILS

The class will meet every week for a total of six hours that will be broken
up into two sessions on separate days, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:35 to 12:35.

Since Excel is crucial to a lot of the work we’ll be doing, each class will begin with a 30-minute exercise designed to advance your skills. Between classes you’ll be able to practice, using tutorials based on downloadable datasets in the online tutorials that accompany specific chapters in The Data Journalist.

These exercises will be followed by a general discussion about a news item that relates to the lesson of the day. From there, we will learn the research methods that we’ll need for the next assignment. In short, the classes will be designed to prepare you for each assignment. For instance, in the first week, you’ll be given ample time to choose a publicly traded company and study the financial numbers you’ll be using for the story.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

The School of Journalism vigorously enforces the highest standards of academic integrity.

Plagiarism is the duplication in whole or in part of work created for another purpose. This can be work done by another student, published work or even a student’s own work that has been re-purposed for a class. Plagiarism can be reflected in actual language, or in the duplication of an idea or a sequence.

Do not cut and paste information from the Internet. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, consult your instructor. All cases of suspected plagiarism will be dealt with according to the policy.

Academic integrity issues will be dealt with by the Academic Integrity Officer of the University of King’s College, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Dalhousie Senate, as outlined in the King’s calendar and the Dalhousie University Graduate Calendar.

As well, the School of Journalism has a statement of ethics and professional standards that must be followed. It can be found at: http://ethics.kingsjournalism.com.

Please read this material carefully.

ACCOMMODATION

Statement on Accommodation:

Students may request accommodation as a result of barriers related to disability, religious obligation, or any characteristic under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. Students who require academic accommodation for either classroom participation or the writing of tests, quizzes and exams should make their request to the Office of Student Accessibility & Accommodation (OSAA) prior to, or at the outset of, each academic term.

Please see http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/for more information and to obtain Form A – Request for Accommodation.

A note taker may be required to assist a classmate. There is an honourarium of $75/course/term. If you are interested, please contact OSAA at 494-2836 for more information.

Please note that your classroom may contain specialized accessible furniture and equipment. It is important that these items remain in the classroom so that students who require their usage will be able to participate in the class.

COURSE OUTLINE

Week One: July 11, 13: (TOP)

What you will learn

Learning to crunch numbers in a spreadsheet, using basic math such as summing and percentages

Learning how to read a financial of a publicly traded company

Learning how to pull tables out of  a financial statement’s PDFs and using Cometdocs to convert them to Excel files

Learning how to create and embed stock charts using TradingView, an advanced trading visualization platform

Learning how to upload and annotate documents to DocumentCloud

Links

Overview and Key Findings of the 2017 Report: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
http://www.digitalnewsreport.org/survey/2017/overview-key-findings-2017/

Business news
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business

Blackberry turns a quarterly profit after getting a big boost from Qualcomm’s $940 million arbitration payment
http://www.businessinsider.com/blackberry-earnings-q1-2018-2017-6

BlackBerry Fiscal 2018 First Quarter uploaded to DocumentCloud
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3879465-Blackberry-Q1FY2018-Financial-Information.html

BlackBerry Limited 2014 Q4 (Example in pages 2016-19 of Digging Deeper)
https://ca.blackberry.com/content/dam/bbCompany/Desktop/Global/PDF/Investors/Documents/2014/Q4_FY14_Filing.pdf

BlackBerry’s 2014 Q4 Consolidated Statements of Operations uploaded to DocumentCloud
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3892077-Q4-FY14-Filing.html

Blackberry
https://ca.blackberry.com/

SEDAR (Canada)
http://www.sedar.com/search/search_en.htm

Fear of rising rates may have obsured the Bank of Canada’s good news story: Don Pittis
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-of-canada-poloz-rate-rise-1.4200979

Sears Canada to seek court approval to suspend benefits for retirees
http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/sears-canada-to-seek-court-approval-to-suspend-benefits-for-retirees-1.3491492

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
https://www.sec.gov/

Cometdocs
http://www.cometdocs.com

Bank of Canada
http://www.bankofcanada.ca/

DocumentCloud
https://www.documentcloud.org/

Tradingview
https://www.tradingview.com/e/MSuvXQsL/

Blackberry Stock Prices in TradingView
http://www.davidmckie.com/blackberry-2/

Registry of Joint Stock Companies
https://rjsc.gov.ns.ca/rjsc/

Nova Scotia Security Commission
http://nssc.novascotia.ca/

Statistics Canada
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/dai-quo/index-eng.htm

BusinessDictionary.com
http://www.businessdictionary.com/

Campbell R. Harvey’s Hypertextual Finance Glossary
http://www.duke.edu/~charvey/Classes/wpg/glossary.htm

Trade Data Online (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/tdo-dcd.nsf/eng/Home

Imports and exports (International trade statistics)
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/trade/data

Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer
http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/

National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting
http://www.nicar.org/
http://data.nicar.org/
http://www.ire.org/resource-center/listservs/subscribe-nicar-l/

Week two:July 18, 20:(TOP)

What you will learn

Using Excel to construct timelines

An introduction to court records (affidavits, search warrants, bankruptcy records, etc)

How to mine stories from those documents

Links

Quebec City Muslim community vows to continue fighting for rejected cemetery
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-community-vows-to-continue-fighting-for-rejected-muslim-cemetery/article35707650/

Cultural gem or ‘tax grab’? $20M in Annie Leibovitz photos caught in Canadian quandary
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cultural-gem-or-tax-grab-20m-in-annie-leibovitz-photos-caught-in-canadian-quandary-1.4181765

Omar Khadr fights attempt by soldier’s widow to freeze his assets
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/omar-khadr-fights-back-1.4201788

Canada (Prime Minister) v. Khadr, [2010] 1 SCR 44, 2010 SCC 3 (CanLII)
https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2010/2010scc3/2010scc3.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAFa2hhZHIAAAAAAQ&resultIndex=4

Taxpayers to foot bill for Belvedere Orphanage demolition, as tangle of debts snarls property
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/belevedere-orphanage-future-demolition-debts-1.4182216

The Criminal Code
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/

Supreme Court of Canada
http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/home-accueil/index-eng.asp

Judgements of the Supreme Court of Canada
http://csc.lexum.org/en/index.html

Federal Court of Canada
http://cas-cdc-www02.cas-satj.gc.ca/fct-cf/

Tax Court of Canada
http://cas-cdc-www02.cas-satj.gc.ca/tcc-cci/

Canadian Law List
http://www.canadianlawlist.com/

The scope of CANLII’s databases
http://canlii.org/en/databases.html

The Courts of Nova Scotia – Registry of Class Actions
http://www.courts.ns.ca/Supreme_Court/NSSC_class_action_registry.htm

National Class Action Database
http://cbaapp.org/ClassAction/Search.aspx

Find out how to request a decision by the Parole Board of Canada
https://www.canada.ca/en/parole-board/services/decision-registry.html

Guidelines for Press, Media, and Public Access to the Courts of Nova Scotia
http://courts.ns.ca/media_information/media_docs/media_guidelines_08_12_20.pdf

Class Proceedings Act
https://www.canlii.org/en/ns/laws/stat/sns-2007-c-28/latest/sns-2007-c-28.html

Class Action Database (U.S.)
http://www.consumer-action.org/lawsuits/

List of Class Action Lawsuits (U.S)
http://www.classaction.org/list-of-lawsuits

The Canadian Legal Information Institute  (a voluntary initiative and is not a comprehensive listing of all class action lawsuits currently underway in Canada)
http://canlii.org/en/index.php

Advocate Daily.com (Canada’s Legal News)
http://www.advocatedaily.com/index.html

Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-osb.nsf/eng/home

Bankruptcydata.com
http://bankruptcydata.com/

Guidelines for Press, Media and Public Access to the Courts of Nova Scotia (Uploaded and partially annotated in DocumentCloud)
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2995331-Guidelines-for-Press-Media-and-Public-Access-to.html

Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-osb.nsf/eng/br02049.html

Quebec Human Rights Tribunal
http://www.tribunaux.qc.ca/mjq_en/TDP/index-tdp.html

Julie Payette’s vetting for governor general questioned amid ‘disquieting’ revelations
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/payette-vetting-trudeau-wednesday-1.4213743

Before OJ Simpson parole hearing, Ron Goldman’s family says they may never see justice
http://abcnews.go.com/US/ahead-oj-simpson-parole-hearing-ron-goldmans-family/story?id=48742111

Court Record Examples

1) Statement of Claim in Omar Khadar’s lawsuit against the federal government uploaded to DocumentCloud
2) Omar Khadr 2010 Supreme Court of Canada decision uploaded to DocumentCloud
3) Factum containing demands that Khadr’s settlement be given to victim uploaded to DocumentCloud
4) Parole Board Decision
5) Bankruptcy Filing
6) The bishop’s search warrant uploaded to DocumentCloud
7) Divorce Proceeding
8) National Parole Board Statistics

Week Three: July 25, 27:(TOP)

What you will learn

Building a database from 2016 Nova Scotia election contributions

Pivot tables using Excel

Using records we’ve used so far (financial statements and court documents such as divorce and bankruptcy proceedings), in addition to new ones we’ll learn this week, to background individuals

Methods used to background people such as advanced internet searches, databases such as political donations, land title searches and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Links

PMO has no comment on Julie Payette’s expunged 2011 assault charge
https://ipolitics.ca/2017/07/18/pmo-has-no-comment-on-julie-payettes-expunged-2011-assault-charge/

Martin Luther King Jr. – A True Historical Examination
https://www.martinlutherking.org/

Aspertame Kills
http://www.aspartamekills.com/

Privy Council Orders In Council database
http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/oic-ddc.asp?page=secretariats&lang=eng

DomainTools
http://whois.domaintools.com/dal.ca

Geektools
http://www.geektools.com/

The Wayback Machine
https://archive.org/web/

Bankruptcy
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/inbsf-osb.nsf/en/home

Nova Scotia
http://electionsnovascotia.ca/sites/default/files/PoliticalContributionsRegime2017for2016.pdf

http://www.electionsnovascotia.ca/sites/default/files/2016_PartyLiberal.pdf

http://www.electionsnovascotia.ca/sites/default/files/2016_PartyPC.pdf

http://www.electionsnovascotia.ca/sites/default/files/2016_PartyNDP.pdf

Elections Canada
http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=fin&&document=index&lang=e

Federal Government Open Data Portal
http://open.canada.ca/en/open-data

Nova Scotia’s Property Online
http://www.novascotia.ca/sns/access/land/property-online.asp

Halifax Regional Municipality Building Permits
http://catalogue.hrm.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/1ae0b449678241b3b6d17f1b832ab7a8_0

Discipline Committee Schedule
(The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario)
http://www.cpso.on.ca/whatsnew/committeeschedule/default.aspx?id=1448

All Doctors Search (The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario)
http://www.cpso.on.ca/publicregister/default.aspx?id=2048

Law Society of Upper Canada (list of disbarred lawyers)
http://www.lsuc.on.ca/with.aspx?id=2147486087

Federal lobbyists search
http://www.ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/lobbyist-lobbyiste1.nsf/eng/h_nx00274.html

Lobbyists (Nova Scotia)
http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/lobbyist/

N.S. College of Physicians and Surgeons disciplinary decisions
http://www.cpsns.ns.ca/DisciplinaryDecisions.aspx

Search for a Federal Corporation
https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpSrch.html?locale=en_CA

Government of Canada
https://www.canada.ca/en.html

Week Four: July 31, August 3:(TOP)

What we will learn

A continuation of our pivot table exercises

An introduction to Statistics Canada and the 2016 Census

How to map census results, using Qgis

Links:

Statistics Canada
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/start

CANSIM – Table directory – All Section
http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a29?lang=eng&groupid=All&p2=17#n376

The house is sold, but nobody’s home
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/toronto/vancouvers-vacant-home-surge-comes-to-thegta/article34639829/ 

Toronto Has Over 99,000 Unoccupied Homes, Here’s Where They Are [Interactive]
https://betterdwelling.com/city/toronto/toronto-has-over-99000-unoccupied-homes-heres-where-they-are-interactive/#_

More Canadians than ever are living alone and without children, census finds
https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/08/02/more-canadians-than-ever-are-living-alone-and-without-children-census-finds.html

2016 Census Program release schedule
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/ref/release-dates-diffusion-eng.cfm

Families, households and marital status: Key results from the 2016 Census
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170802/dq170802a-eng.htm?HPA=1

2016 Census topic: Families, households and marital status
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/rt-td/fam-eng.cfm

Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/ref/dict/index-eng.cfm

2016 Geographic boundaries
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/bound-limit-2016-eng.cfm

Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2016 Census
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/hlt-fst/pd-pl/comprehensive.cfm

Hierarchy of standard geographic areas for dissemination, 2016 Census
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/ref/dict/figures/f1_1-eng.cfm

 

Week Five: August 8, 10: (TOP)

A continuation of the lessons learned the previous week with an emphasis on connecting records to see patterns.

Reviewing regulations that make it possible for laws to function

One-on-one time for final assignment

Links

Alberta
http://data.alberta.ca/

Alberta  Government Salary disclosures
https://www.alberta.ca/salary-disclosure-table.cfm

ACOA Project Information (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
http://pub.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/atip/e/content/default.asp

BC
http://www.openinfo.gov.bc.ca/ibc/search/search.page#cateloguehttp://www.openinfo.gov.bc.ca/ibc/index.page?http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/

Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADORS): Main Menu
http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/saf-sec-sur/2/cadors-screaq/m.aspx?lang=eng

Charities Listings (Revenue Canada)
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html

Edmonton
http://data.edmonton.ca/

Elections BC (Political Contributions System)
http://contributions.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/pcs/SA1ASearch.aspx

Elections Canada – Political Financing
http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=fin&&document=index&lang=e

Halifax’s Open Data Catalogue
http://www.halifax.ca/opendata/

Incident-based crime statistics, by detailed violations
http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&id=2520051

Merchandise imports, exports and trade balance, customs and balance of payments basis for all countries, by seasonal adjustment and principal trading partners
http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2280069&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid=

National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) datasets
http://www.ec.gc.ca/inrp-npri/Default.asp?lang=En&n=0EC58C98-1

Newfoundland and Labrador
http://open.gov.nl.ca/

Nova Scotia
https://data.novascotia.ca/

Ontario
http://www.ontario.ca/government/open-data-ontario
http://www.ontario.ca/government/open-government

Ontario’s Public Sector Salary Disclosure
http://www.ontario.ca/government/public-sector-salary-disclosure

Open Government Portal (Federal)
http://open.canada.ca/en

Ottawa
http://data.ottawa.ca/en/?page=1

Québec Ouvert (les données ouvertes pour le Québec)
http://quebecouvert.org/

Record Suspension Program 2015-2016 Report to Parliament
https://www.canada.ca/en/parole-board/corporate/transparency/reporting-to-canadians/record-suspension-report-to-parliament-2015-2016.html

Statistics Canada Trade Data
http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2280069&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid=

Toronto
http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=1a66e03bb8d1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Trade Data Online
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/tdo-dcd.nsf/eng/Home

Vancouver
http://data.vancouver.ca/

Vehicle Recalls Database
http://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/1ec92326-47ef-4110-b7ca-959fab03f96d

All Calculators
http://calculator-converter.com/

Create Your ArcGIS Public Account
https://www.arcgis.com/home/createaccount.html

Halifax 2016 Census Tracts Mapped in ArcGIG Online
http://www.davidmckie.com/category/digi-1examples/

Crime Stats From Halifax Open Data Site
http://catalogue-hrm.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/f6921c5b12e64d17b5cd173cafb23677_0

Halifax Crime Mapped in ArcGIS Online
http://www.davidmckie.com/category/digi-1examples/

Fusion Tables
https://support.google.com/fusiontables/answer/2571232?hl=en&ref_topic=1652595

Fusion Table Icon Markers
https://www.google.com/fusiontables/data?docid=1BDnT5U1Spyaes0Nj3DXciJKa_tuu7CzNRXWdVA#map:id=3

Articles

Everything residents are calling 311 to complain about
https://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/archives/2016/01/07/everything-residents-are-calling-311-to-complain-about

What’s all the noise? A ward-by-ward breakdown of noise complaints in Ottawa
http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/what-s-all-the-noise-a-ward-by-ward-breakdown-of-noise-complaints-in-ottawa-1.2431535

City of Ottawa apartment noise complaint : ottawa – Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/r/ottawa/comments/56co20/city_of_ottawa_apartment_noise_complaint/

Top complaints to City of Toronto’s 311 line and how to avoid a complaint against your home
http://globalnews.ca/video/3627618/top-complaints-to-city-of-torontos-311-line-and-how-to-avoid-a-complaint-against-your-home

Weird and wonderful ways Open Data is unearthing Edmonton information
http://globalnews.ca/news/3649702/weird-and-wonderful-ways-open-data-is-unearthing-edmonton-information/

Remembering Jim MacNeill, publisher, editor, iconoclast (Ryerson Review of Journalism)
http://rrj.ca/ah-that-a-man-should-live-so-well/

I.F. Stone
http://www.ifstone.org/

National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting
http://www.nicar.org/
http://data.nicar.org/
http://www.ire.org/resource-center/listservs/subscribe-nicar-l/

Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.
http://www.ire.org/

Federal Orders in Council Database
http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/oic-ddc.asp?lang=eng&Page=secretariats

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/gazette/home-accueil-eng.php

Nova Scotia Registry of Regulations
http://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/index.htm

Directory of Chief Coroners and Chief Medical Examiners

http://ccinfoweb.ccohs.ca/help/fatality/coroners.html

Office of the Chief Coroner, Verdicts & Recommendations, Chronological List
http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/DeathInvestigations/Inquests/VerdictsRecommendations/OCC_verdicts.html

Departments and agencies
https://www.canada.ca/en/government/dept.html#S

2015 Refugee Claim Data and IRB Member Recognition Rates
http://ccrweb.ca/en/2015-refugee-claim-data

Nova Scotia departments and agencies
http://novascotia.ca/government/

Assignment #1: Business story  (TOP)

Assignment #1

1) A 600-word multi-media based on a financial statement uploaded to the specified category on our WordPress site. The story must have at least two multi-media elements (for instance, a photo and chart) and at least one interview with an expert such as a business professor or analyst who follows the company. The visualizations MUST have proper titles, cut lines, explaining the content, and a citation of the source. Please feel free to make an appointment with Kat to review your visualizations to ensure that they have the necessary elements, so as not to lose marks for omissions. She’s expecting to hear from you.

While you will be expected to contact the company for an interview, an official voice from the company is NOT a requirement for the story. You may have to make due with an emailed correspondence (which is usually boiler-plate stuff), or what the company has said publicly in its financial statement ( management, discussion and analysis ), news release, testimony before a committee of some sort, or even a court document.

TIP: set up a Google alert for news about the company; use Twitter and Tweetdeck to find out which experts are tweeting about the company you’re following; try to read the financial statement in conjunction with others ( proxy statement for salaries, annual report for more information on how the company has fared for the year, or even a similar financial statement of a competitor.)

2) A 500-word explanation of your methodology sent to me as an emailed attachment.

3) The Excel workbook containing your calculations.

4) The financial statements in PDF format MUST  BE UPLOADED to DocumentCloud with key sections annotated, allowing me easily see the sections that you used. Failure to do this will earn a deduction of half a mark.

The entire assignment is to be emailed and uploaded to the “InvestigativeAssignmentOne” category on July 20 before midnight.

Assignment #2: Legal story  (TOP)

Assignment #2

1) A 600-word story based on a court document and uploaded to the Investigative2017_2 category on our WordPress site. As was the case with the business assignment, the story MUST come from the document(s).  The story must also contain at least TWO interviews: one involving a major player such as the plaintiff, defendant, lawyer involved in the case; and an expert who can put the case into context.

TIP: The story must either be new because no one has reported on it, or contain a fresh element of an ongoing story. Also, use other public records. So, for instance, if the court case involves a publicly traded company such as General Motors, then be sure to read its latest financial filing to see if the company discusses the court case.

2) A chronology of the key dates from your public documents in Excel. You can also turn the chronology into a visualization.

3) The story must contain at least three multi-media elements such as a video (please feel free to use your new mobile skills), audio clip, photo (cutline and photo credit) of the person you’ve interviewed, or a graph. The court document uploaded and annotated in DocumentCloud DOES NOT count as a visualization.

4) A 500-word explanation of how you put the story together and the rationale used to determine its newsworthiness. Here, I’m looking for contact information of people interviewed, or those you attempted to reach; links to key websites; a list of the public records, and a brief explanation of how you used the information in your story (direct quotes; context; an address, a name, a tip that led to another public record, etc.)

4) The court document MUST be uploaded to DocumentCloud and annotated. Failure to do so will lose you half a mark.

The assignment must be uploaded to the syllabus’ Investigative2017_2 category by midnight on July 27. Please email the Excel workbook with the chronology and the Word file with the background info as attachments.

Assignment #3:  Backgrounder(TOP)

Topic: A story about a newsmaker using extensive background research.

The backgrounding assignment is designed to flex your inner sleuth. Though we’ve been recently introduced to new search tools such as bankruptcy and property searches, this assignment should allow you to draw on all the records we’ve covered thus far: financial statements, court documents, political donations, to name but a few. Also be sure to consult Digging  Deeper and The Data Journalist.

1) A 600-word story that backgrounds a newsworthy individual  and uploaded to the Investigative2017_3 category on our WordPress site. The story must also contain at least THREE interviews. Ideally, the person who is the subject of the backgrounder should be one of the interviewees. However, if it proves too difficult to contact this person, then you can use what the individual has said publicly (just like we did for the business assignment), but still be required to interview three people who have a connection to this individual. An emailed statement can count as an interview, but only as a last resort. Also, try to conduct the interviews in person, which allows for more colour and context that can convey setting and place. The person to be backgrounded can be someone well-known, or an individual involved in a case or situation that is newsworthy. If you’re unsure of your choice, I’m happy to have a conversation.

2) The story should contain at least two visualizations; for example, a large photo of the individual at the heart of the story, and a chart. If there are any primary sources such as court records, they MUST be uploaded to  DocumentCloud, annotated, and then hyperlinked to your story. DocumentCloud will not count as one of your visualizations because it should now become a tool we use regularly for reasons we’ve discussed in class. Please be sure to consult Kat on your visualizations.

3) One multi-media component, which could include an audio clip, video clip, or a video or audio interview no longer than two minutes, which can be inserted as part of the natural flow of the story. Again, please also ask for Kat’s help for this component.

4) A 500-word explanation of why you chose the background subject, who you interviewed, who you attempted to interview, and the types of records that you used.

Deadline: Midnight, August 3

Assignment #4: Data-driven story (TOP)

Media Hot Line / Ligne info-médias (STATCAN)
On August 2, 2017, Statistics Canada will release data on families, households, marital status and language, for Canada, its provinces and territories, municipalities, and many more detailed levels of geography.

The assignment will be a story based on our analysis of this census material, using the mapping program Qgis and ArcGIS Online or Google Fusion Tables. Using the map we create, the idea will be to identify a census tract in Halifax  that represents a newsworthy pattern in one of the three areas covered by the latest Census release.

For instance, what area of town is seeing the largest increase in single-parent families? Once you’ve identified the area, you MUST visit it, and talk to a individual who represents that trend: it could be a family, a social service in the neighbourhood that caters to single-parent families, etc. The idea is to conduct in-person interviews that allow you to take pictures, and build colour into your writing.

1) A 600-word story or profile of an individual or family who symbolizes the trend identified in your data.  The story is to be uploaded to our website’s Investigative2017_4 category. There should be at least TWO interviews.

OR, instead of a story, you can do a two-minute video, complete with interviews, B-roll and a stand-up. Work closely with Kat and set up the video with a paragraph-length introduction that contains hyperlinks to key sources, or documents uploaded and annotated in DocumentCloud. The introduction would work the same as a script that sets up a television news report.

2) If you choose a 600-word story, you’ll be required to use at least TWO mutli-media elements such as a video or sound clip no  longer than 60 seconds.

3) An embed of the census tract map that we’ve created.

4) A large photo of the individual or family you’ve interviewed, complete with cut line and credit.

5) A 500-word explanation of your methodology and who you contacted and attempted to interview.

Deadline: Midnight, August 10

Assignment #5: Capstone  (TOP)

Deadline: Midnight, August 18

This assignment will be anything you want it to be. It could be a follow-up from a previous story; something interesting that you’ve uncovered from one of the public records we’ve discovered; a tip you’ve received.

1) A 600-word article uploaded to our website’s Investigative2017_5 category. There must be at  least TWO interviews and three data-visualizations, including a photograph, and at least one multi-media element such as a video or sound clip that must be no longer than 30 seconds.

OR

A two-minute voicerover-to-sound (SOT) that contains the essential elements that could be in a written story, including clips from at least TWO interviews. If you choose this option, there will be no requirement for a separate data-visualization. Instead, it could be used for b-roll.

2) A 500-word explanation of why you chose the story; a list of public records you searched and used; a list of contacts;

 

Tutorials  (TOP)

Week one:

To download the DocumentCloud tutorial, please click here.

To learn how to embed a table from Tradingview, please click here to learn how to use embed it.

For instructions on how to upload data to infogr.am, please click here.

Digging Deeper’s online tutorials for Excel and Fusion Tables

Week two:
Infographics and photoshop.pptx
Using Excel to build chronologies 

Week three:
Tutorial for conducting bankruptcy searches
Data Visualization For All: Tell Your Story with Free and Easy Tools
Using pivot tables in Excel_update.pdf
Using pivot tables in Excel_the Word version

Week four:
Mock test using ACOA data.docx

Tutorial for importing 2016 Census Tract and Family Status Data Into Qgis.pdf

CH7 – Joining Maps to Other Datasets in QGIS.pdf

Week five:

CH7 – Spatial Joins in QGIS.pdf

CH6 – Building Maps with ArccGIS Online.pdf

Datasets  (TOP)

Week three: Elections Canada Contributions data – 2014-July 25, 2017
Week four: Unoccupied Housing.zip
Week four: 2016 Census_Family Structure.zip
Week four: Final_Census_Families_2016-2011_updated.zip
Week four: Pivot Table Test Using Elections Canada Donations Data.docx
Week four: Mother Tongue Look-Up.csv

Readings (TOP)

Week one: Chapter 9 of Digging Deeper;  Pages 298-307 of Chapter 11 in Digging Deeper; The Data Journalist, Chapter 4, pages 60-65

Week two: Digging Deeper, Chapter 5; Pages 75-77 of Chapter 4 in The Data Journalist

Week three: Chapter 7 Digging Deeper

Week four: Chapters 6 and 7, The Data Journalist

Week five: Chapter 11, Digging Deeper; Chapter 2  The Data Journalist, pages 27-30, Chapter 11

Additional Resources (TOP)

New 17th edition Canadian Press Stylebook
http://www.thecanadianpress.com/books.aspx?id=182
Canadian Press Style Guide Excerpts.pdf

Canadian Press style now capitalizes Aboriginal and Indigenous
http://www.j-source.ca/article/canadian-press-style-now-capitalizes-aboriginal-and-indigenous

Intro to data journalism
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1I-_2uM95ngJOgiGlsakCgJGKZSLNlhN9bxXagukTwN0/edit#slide=id.g1f6adebb8b_0_16

The colour of money.  Writing coach, Don Gibb’s, must-read article on using numbers in stories

Understanding Financial Statements
https://www.amazon.ca/Understanding-Financial-Statements-Journalists-Guide/dp/0972993738

Show Me the Money 2nd edition
https://www.amazon.com/Show-Money-Economics-Communication-Routledge/dp/0415876559

Numbers in the Newsroom: Using Math and Statistics in News
https://store.ire.org/products/numbers-in-the-newsroom-using-math-and-statistics-in-news-second-edition-e-version