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The Russian language news startup Helpdesk offers service journalism for times of war
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July 15, 2013, 2:31 p.m.

The Chicago Tribune debuted a new shootings map recently, and Andy Boyle from its news apps team wrote up the process

The data had more than 4,000 rows, entered by humans, who, despite doing their best, occasionally entered typos or wrote ages as “40ish” instead of an integer. Anyone who’s dealt with any large dataset made by humans can attest this is pretty normal. So I had to write many functions to clean every field of data we were importing. We also wrote a function that checks if any data has changed for each record and updates the database accordingly.

They’re using the increasingly common triad of Leaflet.js, Stamen Design map tiles, and data from OpenStreetMap. And they tried charting with D3.js, but found it “kind of complicated,” falling back on Rickshaw instead.

It is, unfortunately, a boom time for Chicago crime coverage; the Sun-Times has a Homicide Watch instance going, and DNAInfo has an interactive homicide timeline.

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