My new data journalism e-book, Britdata

BritdataIf I have a data journalism specialist subject, it is Britain. Writing about its public sector means finding out how to extract information on it through Freedom of Information, parliamentary written answers and open data on spending; knowing how to use official published data on Britain’s localities; and understanding the often-messy structure of local public services including councils, police, fire and NHS organisations.

I have just published a new e-book, Britdata: Finding data on the UK for journalists, researchers and campaigners, covering these areas and others, including tips on dealing with data and specific information on all of the UK’s top-tier local authority areas. A PDF of the introduction is here with more information here.

Continue reading “My new data journalism e-book, Britdata”

Britain’s shrinking councils: Blackpool, Ceredigion… Kensington and Chelsea

According to recently-released data from the ONS, there were 4.82 million more people in the UK on this date in 2016 than on 30 June 2006, an increase of 7.9%. Many cities and big towns are growing much faster, with Manchester, Coventry, Peterborough, Luton, Milton Keynes, Slough and Bournemouth all up by more than 15%.

But 22 top-tier council areas (unitaries or county councils) have actually seen a fall in population over that decade. With one exception, they fall into two groups. Some are badly-off remote rural areas including Cumbria, Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Western Isles) and Ceredigion in Wales. Others are badly-off urban and suburban areas in the north of England and Scotland including Blackpool, Knowsley and Sefton on Merseyside and several authorities around Glasgow – although not the City of Glasgow itself, which grew 8.2%.

Continue reading “Britain’s shrinking councils: Blackpool, Ceredigion… Kensington and Chelsea”

Unhealthy valleys: Wales’ problem with ill-health

Greater Glasgow gets a lot of coverage for its poor health through having the lowest average lifespans in the UK. Although residents of the Welsh Valleys – the post-industrial areas north of Cardiff – don’t have such short lives, they are most likely to be living with poor health. The three UK council areas where more than 10% of adults say they are in bad or very bad health are in south Wales: Neath Port Talbot (10.5%), Blaneau Gwent (10.7%) and Merthyr Tydfil (11.1%). Continue reading “Unhealthy valleys: Wales’ problem with ill-health”

Articles on Electric Mountain power station tour and US visas

Obviously, you don’t need a US visa to visit Dinorwig power station in Snowdonia, just a ticket from the Electric Mountain visitor centre. This buys you the chance to see a stirring film, then take a bus tour around an amazing piece of underground engineering that is capable of filling the gaps in UK power demand when millions of people put the kettle on.

I mentioned tea a lot in this article for the Register, such as the following: Continue reading “Articles on Electric Mountain power station tour and US visas”