Award Date

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Second Committee Member

Stephen Bates

Third Committee Member

Gregory Borchard

Fourth Committee Member

William Sousa

Number of Pages



The issue of people killed by police has become a focus of current political and social discourse related to criminal justice reform in the United States. Two data journalism projects attempting to track previously missing data have been central to a changing discussion. The Guardian’s The Counted and The Washington Post’s Investigation: Police Shootings have each attempted to create a running log of fatalities resulting from law enforcement activities. Such endeavors have added to a collective consciousness about the scope and commonality of deadly police encounters, and has provided empirical reference points for various legislative pushes related to police accountability. These two projects – one from an acknowledged leader in data journalism, the other by a legacy newspaper with a tradition of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism – presented a unique opportunity to compare and contrast two exemplars of data journalism in an active contemporary media context. This thesis conducted a comparative case study consisting of content analysis built on a framework of Coddington’s (2015) typology. Findings showed two different approaches to data journalism, one of which won the Pulitzer Prize. In the end, this thesis offers a proposition of adding a new dimension to Coddington -- vision of self, which would assess different data journalism decisions as a binary choice between seeing journalism as a public service or national news.


content analysis; crowdsourcing; data journalism; Pulitzer Prizes; reader engagement; transparency


Broadcast and Video Studies | Journalism Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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