BigLocal News2018-2019

State patrols stop and search drivers in every state, but until recently it has been nearly impossible to understand what they’ve been doing — and whether these searches discriminate against certain drivers. The data was scattered across jurisdictions, “public” but not online, and in a dizzying variety of formats. In 2014, Cheryl Phillips began the Stanford Open Policing Project to provide open, ongoing and consistent access to police stop data in 31 states, and created a new statistical test for discrimination. This is just one example of how sharing local data an improve local journalism. Phillips — together with Columbia Journalist Jonathan Stray, Stanford Electrical Engineering PhD student Irena Fischer-Hwang, and Columbia Journalism/Computer Science MS student Erin Riglin — was awarded a Magic Grant to build on this success, creating a pipeline that will enable more local accountability journalism and boost the likelihood of big policy impact. The team will collect, clean, archive and distribute data that can be used to tell important journalistic stories. The data will be archived in the Stanford Digital Repository, and the teams work will also help extend Columbia’s Workbench computational platform, making the analysis of local data broadly available to even novice data journalists.