Tagged: FOI

A few more stories: Manchester Evening News

Another short post, just to pull together the output of a couple of weeks spent working with Trinity Mirror Regionals’ recently established data journalism unit.

Manchester Evening News logo

The unit have adopted a smart operating model that makes the most of the reach of the Regionals group of papers, and the fact that, when it comes to dealing with national datasets, story ideas can be worked up efficiently by one central team before being offered to local teams.

Similarly, if something works well as an FOI request in one part of the country then in many cases it will work well elsewhere too.

The focus of my work with the unit was therefore on supporting the whole Regionals family. I did find some data/story ideas which lent themselves to stories for the Manchester Evening News, though, and – originating from that part of the country – couldn’t resist writing those myself. Stories as follows:

There also seems to be widespread acceptance across the group of the benefits which a good visualisation can bring to a web story, so I produced a couple of interactive maps, used by the MEN, and the Newcastle Chronicle.

300,000 London mobile phone thefts in three years

Almost 300,000 mobile phones were stolen in London in the last three years, according to Met Police figures which set out the near-industrial scale of the crime.

The number of thefts leapt from around 82,000 in 2010 to 111,000 in 2012 – the equivalent of more than 300 phones per day.

And only those thefts reported to the police show in the figures, meaning the true number of phones stolen each year is likely to be greater still.

More than 45,000 mobile phones were stolen in Westminster alone in the last three years, with Camden and Lambeth the next worst affected boroughs with around 20,000 thefts each.

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Where do Oxbridge students come from?

Widely accepted as being at, or very near, the top of British higher education, the question of who gets in to Oxford and Cambridge universities has been the subject of interest since the year dot.

State school pupils, students from minority ethnic backgrounds, those from lower socio-economic groups – all are groups that Oxford and Cambridge have been accused of under-representing in the recent past.

But one question that doesn’t seem to have been asked before is: where do Oxbridge students actually come from?

My story with Richard Adams for the Guardian suggests that undergraduates at the universities aren’t drawn evenly from across the country, with a golden triangle centred on Oxford, Cambridge and London contributing disproportionately many students.

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Oxbridge in thrall to applicants from the south-east

Oxbridge in thrall to applicants from the south-east

A ‘golden triangle’ of local authorities centred on London, Oxford and Cambridge send a disproportionate number of students to Oxbridge, as Richard Adams and I report for the Guardian:

Undergraduate places at Cambridge and Oxford universities remain dominated by students from London and the south-east of England, according to data released to the Guardian, highlighting the country’s wide gaps in educational achievement and the stubborn failure of efforts to encourage applications from more diverse backgrounds.

Surrey sent almost as many young people to study at Cambridge and Oxford last year as Wales and the north-east region of England combined. Yet 868 applications were received from Surrey, compared with 1,187 from Wales and the north-east – which between them had more than 100,000 more young people in the comparative age group.

A single London borough – Barnet – alone had 130 offers of Oxbridge places from 408 applications last year. That equates to 46 applications and 15 offers for every 1,000 16 to 17-year-olds in the borough, according to the latest census figures. Meanwhile, Dudley in the West Midlands – with a similar-sized age cohort – had just 61 applicants and 13 offers, or seven applications and 1.58 offers per thousand.

Three London local authorities – Richmond upon Thames, Kensington and Chelsea, and the City of London – sent more than 25 students to Oxbridge per 1,000 16 to 17-year-olds in 2012, compared with an average of just over 2.5 students per 1,000 for England and Wales as a whole.

You can read the full story here, and an accompanying analysis piece can be found here.

The story was based on freedom of information requests I submitted to Oxford and Cambridge universities. I’ll be posting more about the data behind the story shortly.