The California Watch is nominated got onto the Data Journalism Awards Shortlist with their serie Decoding PRIME. An interview with CW journalist Christina Jewett: ‘For Decoding Prime we looked at how one California hospital relied on aggressive Medicare billing to turn around the finances of struggling hospitals.’
What inspired you to make ‘Decoding Prime’?
Questions about soaring costs in health care.
Did you work by yourself or in a team?
Our team consisted of myself, Christina Jewett, a reporter, reporter Lance Williams and Pulitzer-winning data analyst Stephen K. Doig.
How did you get a hold on the data you needed?
We sought it from the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
Which tools were used making this production?
Shoe leather reporting, review of court records, other public records and extensive data analysis. More details on that here.
How did it take to make ‘Decoding Prime’?
We worked on the series for about 18 months and will continue to follow major developments.
Were there any bumps in the road?
Each story included a long, methodical process of fact checking and bullet-proofing our findings.
Do you have a useful tip for starting data journalists?
I have the fortune of being a reporter who gets to work with incredibly skilled coders. So I’ve been able to do data journalism without the specialized coding skills. I would recommend taking the time to learn to code in SQL, SAS or another program if you don’t work for an organization that invests in staff with a wide array of skills.