Welcome to Irish Times Data

Our team of journalists will dig deep into complex data to bring you illuminating and entertaining stories on a wide variety of issues

The Irish Times Data Blog digs deep into complex data and statistics to generate illuminating information on a wide variety of topics, from baby names to NCT fail rates.

 

Data journalism comes in many forms, but usually aims to tell complex stories in illuminating ways. Data projects featured in this blog will explore serious issues like emigration, hospital waiting lists and household income, but some of our stories will just be for the fun of it. Two of our opening projects give a sense of the variety of material that will feature. One (What's the most reliable car in Ireland?) involves distilling complex sets of figures to work out what cars are most likely to pass the NCT test. Another (Is your name going out of fashion?) uses tens of thousands of data points to work out which baby names are going in and out of fashion.

This blog is at the centre of an initiative to put data journalism to the foreground in The Irish Times and to make the most of the wealth of possibilities created when a journalist’s nose for news is brought to bear on the vast array of data available.

Creating accurate, readable stories with data is labour-intensive. It involves wrestling with spreadsheets, reformatting PDFs, feeding figures into visualisation programmes and then figuring out the best way to present the information to the reader. It’s a group effort, requiring a variety of journalistic and production skills. Based in the newsroom, the team includes data journalist Pamela Duncan, lead data scientist Bahareh Heravi, chief reporter Carl O’Brien, graphic designer Paul Scott, digital production editor Luke Cassidy, chief sub-editor Brian Kilmartin and news editor Roddy O’Sullivan.

The blog will feature contributions from Irish Times journalists from all departments but we also hope that readers will become involved. While we go to great lengths to get things right, sometimes the data creates as many questions as answers and we welcome help in interrogating and analysing it. If you feel we’ve misinterpreted the numbers or there’s a problem with our data, please get in touch and we’ll correct any mistakes as quickly as possible. We’re also making our datasets available for download, wherever possible.

We also hope our readers will make our stories better by sharing ideas or pointing us to interesting new sources of information. You can contact us at data@irishtimes.com, on Twitter @IrishTimesData, or by commenting on the blog entries.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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