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Tweets give journalists insight into crime

A team of journalists from the Manchester Evening News have analysed 3,000 tweets by their local police force to produce a comprehensive database of one day’s crime.

The regional daily has carried out the major piece of data journalism after Greater Manchester Police posted details of every call it received on Twitter during 24 hours.

And following analysis by a team of 10 reporters, an online database was created which readers can search by areas and type of crime.

During the 24-hours, the tweets were also followed on CoverItLive, with readers making more than 400 comments while it was taking place.

Paul Gallagher, head of online content for the MEN, said the team had also looked at whether incidents reported fell into what chief constable Peter Fahy called ‘social work’ – problems such as neighbour disputes or domestic disturbances which could be dealt with by other agencies.

Paul said: “We found that the data that came from the tweets was quite difficult to analyse because it didn’t have any structure to it.

“The geography was quite patchy and they didn’t have a set classification on the types of incidents.

“We got a team of journalists and used a combination of local knowledge to find out which division it fell into and their editorial judgement as to whether it was police work or social work.”

Analysis was also taking place by journalists on the day about the number of calls which were ‘social work’, which were about one-third rather than the two-thirds Mr Fahy had suggested.

Paul said the MEN’s weekly titles across the area had also been able to run stories on the tweets after the geography of the calls had been analysed.


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  • October 25, 2010 at 8:52 am

    ‘analysis by a team of 10 reporters’ – 10 reporters??!! 10??!!

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  • October 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Yes I watched it, it was like having a REAL working police press office for 24 hours

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