Here at ScraperWiki, we’ve got a good eye for data. Not just structuring, formatting and quality, but also where data can tell stories (hence the addition of views to the site). The decision to put a scraper of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice by Noah Seger on the front page proved to be a bit of foresight on our part. Noah is the software engineer for The Texas Tribune and together with the Data Reporter Ryan Murphy they made an interactive of the executions on Rick Perry’s watch.
In the true spirit of open data, data journalism and open journalism, Ryan published his workings. Also, as Noah’s scraper is on ScraperWiki, so the code and the data is available for anyone to use, reuse and recycle (we’re very good for the data environment!).
Because we’re an open platform we’re free for experimentation. And what’s most interesting about our community of coders is the many varied ways they look at and liberate data. Noah and Ryan used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and integrated the JSON file into the scraper. In that way, you can clean large amounts of scraped data quickly and build an interactive for The Texas Tribune Data in record time.
In the 24hr digital news cycle, stories built with the digital platform in mind were difficult to pitch because the time frame was too wide compared to the traditional article. Noah and Ryan have shown that gap is narrowing. With the vast array of tools being developed to handle data quickly and efficiently, ‘stories’ like this are going to become the norm in the digital news cycle.
So watch out Texas, with The Texas Tribune Data you’re gonna be seriously ScraperWikied!