The groundwork of a healthy, functioning democracy relies on accurate unbiased news and an informed general public. But now, more than ever, people are skeptical of the news they are consuming, and our country has entered an era where “fake news” has become a standard term used by many citizens. In an effort to combat “fake news” and make data sets that are difficult to obtain because many are kept in difficult to obtain and scattered locations by multiple jurisdictions, Big Local News— a part of the Stanford Journalism and Democracy Initiative— is “working with newsrooms to process, analyze, and archive important information for the general public”.
Good policy and informed citizens both require good data and making these resources transparently available in a cleaned and usable format is a public service that benefits everyone. Particularly in an era where accusations of “fake news” are conversation-ending, being able to point to a widely available source helps solidify confidence in reporting and analysis.
Big Local News has gathered, cleaned, and processed the following data sets for free, public analysis:
- ARCOS Opioid Data (2006-2012)
- U.S. Police Traffic Stop Data by City & State 2019
- The Costs of U.S. Wildfires (2014-2017)
- U.S. Rape Clearance Data (2014-2016)
- San Francisco Kindergarten Lottery
- National Census Mapper
“The data sets are designed to be journalist-driven and transformative to help find solutions for local newsrooms’ ability to produce accountability journalism” — the type of journalism that can shift policy and law and create lasting impacts throughout the nation.