Here are six stories and projects I am particularly proud of this year.
- Burglary Unmasked
This project analysed more than one million rows of crime data to pinpoint burglary hotspots around Britain. The user enters their postcode and it shows how many burglaries took place on their street, whether it’s going up or down and the worst area in their neighbourhood.
- Where Should I Move To?
This widget was a light-hearted way for disappointed Remainers to ponder emigrating to another EU country in the aftermath of the referendum last June in the UK. The user judged the importance of the weather, level of English, cost of living and other factors and the widget presented them with their ideal EU member state to call their new home.
- State of mental health
For World Mental Health Day I aggregated several important indicators together to assess the state of mental health around the country. You could type in your postcode and it showed you at a glance how your area compared to the rest of England for measures such as depression rates and antidepressant prescriptions.
- Prison overcrowding
The prison system in England and Wales is creaking under pressure from overcrowding and violence. I have been reporting on the prison system’s endemic levels of violence and overcrowding for years and was not surprised to see riots at several institutions last year. My reports exposed once again the chronic levels of overcrowding at local prisons around the country.
- Celebrity deaths
The year 2016 saw the passing of the likes of David Bowie, Prince and Carrie Fisher. Many people noted that more famous people seemed to be dying than usual last year. I set out to find out whether this was true by analysing Wikipedia traffic to their pages. My conclusion was that 2016 wasn’t much worse than previous years in terms of celebrity deaths after all.
- Jobs taken by robots
An influential academic paper showed the scale of jobs that could be lost to robots in the next few years. I used their index of jobs most vulnerable to automation and mapped it on to the British jobs classification. I then used the Office for National Statistics estimates of the numbers of people in those industries around the country to show just how many people’s jobs are under threat.