L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle Form Journalism Collaborative to Track California Coronavirus Data
The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle are collaborating with news outlets across California in a combined data-gathering effort to better report on the spread of COVID-19.
“As journalists, we’re typically in competition with each other,” said Times Data and Graphics Editor Ben Welsh. “For a story as big as the coronavirus pandemic, we’d rather work together on downloading and parsing the data, which will allow us all to focus on finding and telling stories.”
Over the past six months, The Times has gathered the relevant data from California’s 61 local health agencies and produced a regularly-updated coronavirus tracker. The Chronicle has been doing similar data gathering and analysis over the same period. Through the new collaboration, the data collection work will be shared between The Times Data and Graphics team and their counterparts at the Chronicle.
“Since COVID-19 case numbers exploded in March, our newsrooms have been dedicated to bringing our readers the latest, most accurate counts,” said Chronicle Senior Interactive Developer Evan Wagstaff. “This collaboration is a great way to team up on data entry, save staff time, and still compete on analysis and reporting.”
The statewide reporting effort will also include data journalists at The San Diego Union-Tribune, KQED, KPCC, CapRadio and Calmatters, as well as students at Big Local News, a project of the Stanford Journalism and Democracy Initiative. The group will pool the data so that each participant will have the opportunity to draw reporting and analysis for their own outlet.
“We’re looking forward to more collaboration like this in the future,” Wagstaff continued.
For more information about The Times’ coronavirus tracker, which is updated daily and includes a searchable list of counties across California, go to latimes.com/coronavirustracker.