Max Harlow

I’m a newsroom developer at the Financial Times. Previously I’ve worked at the Guardian, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and Ordnance Survey’s Geovation Hub.

I also co-run Journocoders, a community of journalists and other people working in the media interested in developing technical skills for use in their reporting.

Projects

  1. CSV Match

    Finds matches in two spreadsheets, optionally using various fuzzy-matching algorithms. Used by organisations including the Guardian, the Times, and news agency Irin who used it to identify a company the United Nations had a contract with who was also on its own sanctions list.

  2. Reconcile

    Enriches data, adding new columns based on lookups to online services. For example, taking a spreadsheet of company numbers and turning it into a list of directors of those companies.

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Talks

  1. Lessons learned extracting data from documents

    Dataharvest Digital 2020Online

    Some of the most interesting datasets started life ‘unstructured’ – as documents, emails, web pages, images, videos, and other formats that look nothing like a spreadsheet. This session covers the challenges in extracting data from these formats, what tools are available, and approaches for verifying the results.

  2. Stories from the command line

    Global Investigative Journalism Conference 2019Hamburg, Germany

    For those taking their first steps with data and code, the command line is essential. There are also many useful command line based applications – understanding it opens the door to these power tools. This session covers how it works, the basic commands and concepts, and some of the tools which can be useful in data investigations, including story examples.

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Teaching

  1. Finding needles in haystacks with fuzzy matching

    Nicar 2020New Orleans, USA

    Fuzzy matching has become an increasingly important part of data-led investigations as a way to identify connections between public figures, key people and companies that are relevant to a story. This class shows attendees how it typically fits into the investigative process, and includes a practical introduction to using the CSV Match tool I developed.

  2. Introduction to code for journalists

    CIJ CoursesLondon, UK

    Want to take your first steps with code but not sure how to begin? Or want to learn how code is being used in the newsroom and if it can help you and your team? This weekend workshop is an introductory primer to learning to code, showing recent story examples, explaining the fundamental concepts in programming, and demystifying the jargon.

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