Data journalism – MPs’ donations explained

Data journalism has got great significance when it comes to story telling.In this blog post we will be analysing all the figures that represent the donations that MPs have received. In particular, we will be discussing which MP has received the highest amount of donations 6 months before- and after the elections. Essentially we will be figuring out what all this data actually means.

In recent times the spotlight has been shining on the MPs’ expenses. Journalists have been focusing on analysing the figures of MPs’ donations that they receive during the general election. This type of data-research allows journalists to critically assess and scrutinise donations made to MPs. These are donations made to local parties that are used to campaign for the candidate that has been nominated to obtain a seat in Parliament, to stand for elections and ultimately get the public to vote for them.

See here the graph that shows you the donations MPs have received six months prior to the 2005 general elections.

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This graph here shows a notably different situation. Six months after the 2005 general elections we can see that Mr Cameron has received an outstanding amount in donations.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 15.56.39

To conclude, data allows journalists to analyse a set of ambiguous numbers and translate into words the value that that data holds. It allows them to find patterns in all those numbers and make out other information; are the politicians being truthful to the public? Are they being transparent enough? Overall, this spread sheet of data allows you to monitor how much MPs and their party receive in donations and also helps you to find out if the politician has been doing some ‘private work’. Data journalism is an extremely important and beneficial skill to have in the newsroom as it can make you stand out as a journalist. Analysing data can allow you to present new trends and identify potential and unique story angles as it provides a new approach to story telling.  Because let’s face it, without data journalism we wouldn’t have ever found out about the MPs’ expenses scandal. Let’s be forever grateful for data journalism and keep up the great investigative journalism work!


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