Chris Essig

Walkthroughs, tips and tricks from a data journalist in eastern Iowa

Archive for the ‘Slideshow’ Category

State makes first steps to privatize the lottery

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With the legislature off for two weeks, our bureau thought it was high time to put an in-depth series of stories. My bureau chief decided to look a very hot issue as of late: privatizing the Illinois lottery. Lawmakers have been contemplating the move for a few years, with interest peeking in 2007. But last year, the General Assembly made baby steps towards privatizing the lottery. As a result, we dived into the issue. All three of us in the bureau worked on the series. We had five stories in all:

  1. State looks for big payoff with privatized lottery (Herald & Review)
  2. Lottery a steady cash cow (The Southern Illinoisan)
  3. Government privatization grows in economic downturn (Quad-City Times)
  4. State wants Feds to OK online ticket sales (Pantagraph)
  5. Reputation dogs officials seeking proposals (Herald & Review)

I worked on the “Government privatization grows in economic downturn” story. Basically, I looked at other privatization efforts in the Midwest, and what they meant for customers. I also put together two graphs to help illustrate the economic impact of the Illinois Lottery:



The graphs were easy to make using Google Documents. Google literally has an answer for anything.

The issue of lottery privatization will probably remain a hot story for the next few years because it is a very long and drawn out process. And, obviously, the state could choose not to privatize it. So it will be interesting to see where Illinois, and other governments, goes from here. Regardless, I would expect to hear more about privatization in the coming months and years as more entities face the harsh realities of an economic downturn.

Written by csessig

April 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

25 news organizations and their coverage of the Haiti tragedy

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By now, we’ve all heard about the terrible tragedy that unfolded on Tuesday in the country of Haiti. As of now, death toll estimates are reaching 50,000, which is absolutely horrific. As expected, news organizations across the country have been diligently working to cover this calamity. A variety of angles have been used to cover this monumental story; the Chicago Tribune, for instance, focused on Chicago residents with family members in Haiti, while CBS focused on the U.S. response. Some simply called a cry for help.

Last night, I was browsing the Internet, reading various articles on the earthquakes, and decided to capture some screen shots from the news sites. I captured 25 in all. Here is a quick slideshow I put together so you can compare and contrast the coverage:

[NOTE: Click here to view a larger version of the slideshow]

Vodpod videos no longer available.

How to help:

– Text “HAITI” to “90999 and a donation of $10 will be given to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts.

– Visit the Huffington Post’s page by clicking here.

Written by csessig

January 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm