Data for Journalists Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

Building Your Own Database: How to Develop Exclusive Sources

Here is the checklist for building a database:

1. How many categories (columns in spreadsheets and fields in database managers) are necessary for the story you want to do?

2. What is the best software with which to do the analysis?

2. What basic data type will each category be – text, numeric or date?

3. How will you check the accuracy of the data entry and how often?

4. How often will you run test analysis while the database is being built.

  • Exercises

Suggested exercises include:

1. Build a database of your family and friends in a spreadsheet and then in a database manager.

2. The categories should include first name, last name, age, date of birth and residence address – street number, street name, street suffix, apartment number if necessary, city, and postal code.

3. Find the average and median age of your family and of your friends. 


© Brant Houston