Individual Portfolio - Patrick Cain
Organisation: Global News (Canada)
Publication Date: 03/19/2015
DescriptionBest individual portfolio. Here is a selection of 10 data journalism projects published from April of 2014 forward. A complete list of stories can be found here. 2014 1) April 14: We looked at police data obtained under access-to-information laws showing a sharp drop in marijuana grow operation busts in Toronto, and explained how it was connected to the fall in marijuana prices in the United States. Behind the data were addresses of about 1,400 grow ops requested from Toronto police under access-to-information laws. Toronto’s vanishing grow-ops fall victim to pot economics 2) May 14: Following a six-year legal battle that ended in the Canadian Supreme Court, we published a map of Ontario's registered sex offenders broken down by partial postal codes. By then, the process of getting the data had long since eclipsed the data itself as a story. Canadian three-character postal 'forward sortation areas' have populations in the tens of thousands, making them large enough to protect the anonymity of a few individuals. The map struck a balance between showing geographic patterns and not endangering individuals. For registered sex offenders, which have been attacked in other jurisdictions, this was a particular concern. The Supreme Court decision, which was unanimous, changed an aspect of Canadian freedom-of-information law which has to do with the burden of proof that has to be met by government bodies wanting to use a law-enforcement exemption. Here’s the sex offender map Ontario didn’t want you to see Related stories: Unanimous Supreme Court decision ends six-year FOI ordeal Sex offender case a ‘colossal waste of money': Tory jail critic 3) June 6: We mapped Canada's D-Day casualties down to the household/community level, tracing addresses through contemporary newspaper reports, historians, previous overlapping research, reader contributions and online resources. Of 388 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who died on the first day of the landings, we were able to trace at least a partial next-of-kin address for all but 15. Mapping Canada’s D-Day dead 4) June 24/25: We plugged demographic data from the census into the results of a provincial election in Ontario, creating a series of scatterplot graphs looking at political choice in relation to a number of factors including education, commuting mode (car vs. transit), immigration and income. We also used Fusion Tables to map results from the province's 24,903 polling stations on a one-stop-shop map, with a similarly detailed map of the 2011 election for contrast. The maps also showed each party’s support broken out separately. What 24,903 polls taught us about Ontario’s shifting political landscape Your guide to Ontario’s political polarization (have fun governing that) 5) July 23: We used Toronto traffic charge data and an accident database obtained under access-to-information laws to look at 'dooring' accidents involving cyclists: where the city's worst areas are (and why) and questioning why many incidents didn't result in charges. INTERACTIVE: Why College Street is Toronto cyclists’ ‘dooring zone’ Then, we looked at similar data for Vancouver, which shows that police there seldom use British Columbia laws on the books to charge drivers after cyclists are doored. People seldom charged when cyclists get ‘doored,’ Vancouver data shows 6) October 31/November 5: Local elections in Toronto in October ended Rob Ford's long, troubled tenure as Toronto's mayor. After the vote, we produced detailed poll-level maps looking at the plurality winner by poll, and a series of scatterplot graphs mashing up demographic data with the election results: Ford Nation 2014: 14 things demographics tell us about Toronto voters Poll-level maps show Toronto’s election in extreme detail 2015 7) January 22: We used a database of Toronto taxi licence prices obtained under access-to-information laws to show how the value of taxi plates has collapsed since Uber entered the local taxi market. In the process, we ventured into Toronto's tangled, thorny taxi politics. Toronto taxi licence prices are plummeting. Is Uber to blame? 8) February 2: This is not obviously a data story, but is in the background: it started life with a database related to immigration detention that we requested under access-to-information laws, and followed up with further access requests about specific custody deaths. The end result was a story about how border officials lost track of a detainee to the point of not knowing about his death, in a local jail, until three weeks after it had happened. It is part of a larger series on immigration detention in Canada. CBSA learned of its own detainee’s death by accident – three weeks later 9) February 11: Maps show how cheque-cashing outlets are placed in census tracts with low income and high welfare rates. Once the maps made the connection impossible to deny, we could move on to a discussion of why it exists. Chequed out: Inside the payday loan cycle 10) March 17: Toronto's population is 49 per cent visible minorities, but its fire department is over 96 per cent white, something that only recently attracted controversy. We used data on the postal codes of successful fire department applicants to show that Toronto firefighters have mostly been hired from areas outside the city with few immigrants and visible minorities. In the process, we produced the first really thorough look at race and firefighting in Toronto. Investigation: Slowly, Toronto firefighters become more diverse COLLABORATION NOTES: (3) Some research by Jesse Ward, at the time an intern; (5) Reporting on the Vancouver story by Alexandra Posadzki, data, FOI and visualization by me; (8) Database originally requested by Leslie Young; (9) Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny, data and visualization by me.
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