Portfolio: Chris Zubak-Skees

Portfolio: Chris Zubak-Skees

Organisation: The Center for Public Integrity (United States)

Publication Date: 04/06/2016


Size of team/newsroom:large


2016 U.S. Candidate Finance Tracker: This app parses Federal Election Commission filings as those come in, loads the records into a database, does a series of calculations to count multiple reports and translates arcane data fields into simple values a reader can understand. 2016 U.S. Presidential TV Ad Tracker: This app creates a snapshot of which candidates, PACs and nonprofits are on the air, as well as where and when, from weekly data files the Center buys from media tracking firm Kantar/CMAG. It marries this data to research on what kind of groups support who, as well as playable ads from an Internet Archive project. Even for groups without a shred of paperwork filed, our readers can see who is trying to reach voters and how. Title Loans Graphics: The Center collected licensing data for title lenders in 20 states to map the geographic footprint of these triple-digit interest lenders in the states which permit them or where loopholes exist. I scraped, cleaned and verified the locations of 3,000 retail locations, visualized with a map and Google Street View. A table also shows campaign contributions, failed reform bills. A State-by-State Look at Students Referred to Law Enforcement: U.S. Department of Education data shows that in most states black, Latino and special-needs (disabled) students get referred to police and courts disproportionately. The volume of referrals from schools is fueling arguments that zero tolerance policies and school policing are creating a “school-to-prison pipeline” by criminalizing behavior better dealt with outside courts. The Center ranked states by their rate of referral for every 1,000 students. Broken Audit Promises: The Pentagon has never had a successful financial audit of its books, despite years of promises and a congressional mandate. Fatal Extraction: This is a 90-plus slide multimedia presentation on Australian companies’ deadly track record in African mines. 2015 U.S. State Ad Wars Tracker: Who’s airing ads in the 2015 state races? This continually updated tracker told you. Stocks Shot Up after CMS Memo: A memo from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services which an analyst interpreted as a signal that CMS would soften planned audits touched off a billion-dollar day for health plan stocks.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

These projects display a range of techniques and approaches, including use of multimedia and linear storytelling (Fatal Extraction) to non-linear scroll-based interaction (2016 U.S. Ad Tracker) to creative approaches to visualize data (Broken Audit Promises).

Technologies used for this project:

These all used lots of JavaScript. Node.js, SQL, Ractive.js, SVG, D3.js were also frequently used.
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