Reproducible Journalism?

Longtime readers know that we here at Irreal do not generally hold journalists in high regard. Putting the best light on things, they are all too often ignorant and lazy. Still, Irreal is nothing if not dedicated to the scientific method so we’re always interested in contrary evidence. Wilfred Hughes offers this example of such evidence:

For an article entitled Wages rise on California farms. Americans still don’t want the job, the Los Angeles Times performed an analysis of California crop production wages as an IPython notebook. The analysis was done by Ben Welsh of the LA Times Data Desk, which appears to be an internal LA Times group dedicated to such matters. The byline on the article itself was Natalie Kitroeff and Geoffrey Mohan.

I really like this because:

  1. Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence, the Times did an actual analysis of the data.
  2. The analysis was done in a reproducible research manner. The data source is identified and all the calculations are shown in the notebook.

The article links to the analysis so that any interested readers can see for themselves how the analysis was done. Kudos to the LA Times and their reporters for an excellent example of reproducible research in Journalism and for making the data and the analysis of it public.

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