Tag Archives: data journalism

Thomas Peele and Daniel J. Willis win Data Journalism DFMie

Thomas Peele

Thomas Peele and Daniel J. Willis of the Bay Area News Group won the 2014 Data Journalism DFMie for their analysis of pay for public workers.

The nomination explains:

Each year, Thomas Peele and Daniel Willis painstakingly collect compensation data from hundreds of public agencies across Northern California to expose little-known perks for government employees that leave taxpayers fuming and seasoned watchdogs scratching their heads.

Their enterprising approach to government reporting starts with the mammoth task of badgering more than 600 agencies for data and managing hundreds of public records requests, then building a database for all to search at www.mercurynews.com/salaries. With fewer reporters covering city halls, Peele and Willis mine data to reveal the scope of ongoing government waste — a true public service.

Judges’ comments:

Reporters Thomas Peele and Daniel Willis of the Bay Area News Group win the DFMie for best data journalism for surfacing Northern California’s excessive perks and salary for government employees. Thomas and Daniel collected and analyzed government employee compensation from more than 600 agencies. The data yielded stories about the BART’s top-paid worker of 2012 never worked a day and part-time job at the harbor commission that paid $1,100 an hour. They also created an easy-to-use database widget to search the compensation records. Without the data work, none of these stories would of been possible.

Stories submitted for judging included one documenting that Bay Area Rapid Transit’s top-paid worker of 2012 never worked a day, one about part-time workers getting up to $1,100 an hour and one on former part-time politicians getting taxpayer-funded medical benefits.

This is one of four DFMies for the Bay Area News Group.

About Thomas Peele


Thomas Peele

Thomas Peele

Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group, where he specializes in data and public records.

He has worked for newspapers since 1983 and won more than 50 journalism honors, including the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage and two Investigative Reporters and Editors awards.

He is also a lecturer at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and author of the 2012 book Killing the Messenger, about the 2007 murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and the cult responsible for his death.

About Daniel J. Willis


Daniel J. Willia

Daniel J. Willia

Willis has been a data journalist for the Bay Area News Group since 2009. In that time he’s crunched numbers on such topics as public compensation, campaign finance, labor negotiations, demographics and education. On at least two occasions he’s been tear gassed. Prior to journalism he has been an information technology director and video game tester, and has a degree in economics with a focus on analysis and econometrics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Other data finalists

Other finalists for data journalism were:

Ben Goessling and MaryJo Webster of the St. Paul Pioneer Press won the 2013 Data Journalism DFMie.

Getting the hang of DocumentCloud

Over the past few months, Thunderdome Data Editor Tom Meagher has been chatting with journalists around the company about DocumentCloud and how it can help you turn that pile of papers under your desk into one hell of a story.

Recently, Tom sat down with the folks on our Michigan data team to chat about DocumentCloud and its killer features. We captured the demonstration in this video.

Did we whet your appetite? Dig into these resources to learn more about working with DocumentCloud.

Have you used DocumentCloud for a story yet? We’d love to see what you’ve done with it. Leave us a comment or mention us on Twitter at @dfmdata.

Your chance to attend #NICAR14: Digital First Represents


Those who attend Investigative Reporters and Editors’ annual Computer-Assisted Reporting conference include the brightest and most generous minds pursuing data journalism for the best news organizations in the world. This winter, you have a chance to represent your Digital First newsroom and join them in Baltimore.

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