Hello! I'm a freelance data journalist based in Denver, Colorado. Before recently finishing my master's at Columbia University, I was a public radio reporter at WDET Detroit, a podcast producer and a graphic designer.

I'm here to help local newsrooms find creative ways to bolster their community reporting with data collection, analysis and visualization.

Michigan Air Violations Tracker

I pitched, designed and developed an interactive platform for nonprofit newsroom Planet Detroit that allows readers to explore the violation history of air polluters in Michigan. It updates every day with the newest violation notices issued by EGLE.

I made the dashboard using javascript—a first for me—and created a program that looks for new violation notices every day, parses them with pdfplumber, and adds them to the data.

In its first week, the site helped us report on a chronic violator in Southwest Detroit. Deep gratitude to Planet Detroit for making this open data accessibility project possible.

Explore the dashboard →

Southwest Detroit steel slag processor receives 12th air quality permit violation for fallout since 2018

Using the Michigan Air Violations Tracker I created, I reported on a chronic violator in an area of Detroit and Dearborn that is overburdened by industry and air pollution.

Read the article →

Quantifying mental health care accessibility for children in NYC

For my master's project, I surveyed 172 (roughly 80%) of the child and adolescent community mental health clinics in NYC and collected wait times for a new child appointment. I visualized the results and spoke to a dozen experts about what led us to this point.

Experts often said that the insurance reimbursment rates for mental health were way too low. To try to quantify the non-insurance market rate, I scraped and and analyzed thousands of NYC-area Psychology Today provider profiles to figure out what people were charging and visualize the pay gap.

Read the report →

Mapping metro Detroit air permit violation disparities

I analyzed air quality permit violation data for DETROITography and visualized the the disproportionate number of major and mega sources of air pollution in Wayne County.

The article includes a couple of maps of these sources and their violations compared to poverty data and the state's environmental justice scores.

View the maps →

Creating a living dataset of Michigan air pollution records

I scraped 19,000+ pdfs from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to create a searchable dataset of air pollution records by type of document (i.e. violation notice, compliance evaluation, stack test report), date, company, county, zip code and address.

🔍 My auto-scraper searches the Michigan database daily for new documents and adds them to existing datasets.

Michigan journalists have used this dataset to keep tabs on local sources of air pollution and hold the state accountable for enforcement of its air regulations.

View the dataset and documentation →
An illustration of a child's profile with blue and purple squiggles near head signifying mental health.

Visualizing the child psychologist shortage

There are nearly 1.3 million children who rely on Medicaid for health coverage in New York City. I wanted to know, how many child psychologists are accessible to them?

I created a scraper to cross reference Medicaid provider codes with the their CMS profiles to figure out who specialized in treating children. Then I visualized the ratio of child psychologists to kids on Medicaid using hand-drawn illustrations, ai2html and scrollama.

Scroll through the visualization →

Analyzing changes in Great Lakes water consumption

For an exercise in my Data Studio course at Columbia, I concatted nine separate .csv files of nine years' worth of Great Lakes water usage data to analyze changes over time. My analysis found that consumption, increased significantly since 2019 due to a change in power generation methods.

View the chart →

Visualizing Denver's increasing park traffic

For Columbia's Data Studio seminar, I analyzed both Google's COVID-19 Mobility data and its search trends data to show that Denver residents were searching for and using their parks more than in 2020.

Check out the charts →
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Colorado drought and fire risk map

For Columbia's 2022 Points Unknown course, I created an interactive map visualizing current drought levels and predicted average wildfire flame intensity per county using USDA Fire Service data.

See the maps →

Quantifying the New York Medicaid pay gap for mental health care

Mental health professionals and advocates say Medicaid reimbursement rates are abysmal and that this plays a role in whether a provider choses to work with insurance. In an attempt to quantify this claim, I scraped thousands of NYC-area provider profiles on to see what folks were charging on average for a session.

View the results →
A screenshot of a Fox News Ingraham Angle broadcast, with Laura Ingraham in the left frame and journalist Chris Rufo in the right.

Media analysis: How Fox News redefined critical race theory

As part of a group reporting project, my team analyzed two years' worth of Fox News broadcasts to track its coverage of critical race theory over time. Together we created a comprehensive timeline of recent events including major TV network and online coverage, protests and legislative actions.

View the story →
A heatmap using shades of orange-red. The y-axis shows words like 'federal','america(n)','racist', children/kids', parents'. The tooltip highlights a square from March 2021 that shows 'children/kids' appeared in 21% of CRT-related news clips.

Interactive heatmap: visualizing Fox News' critical race theory coverage

For a quick intro to d3 class, I repurposed the transcript data we collected about the content of Fox's CRT coverage and created an interactive heatmap of some of most popular words found in those clips over time.

View the story →
a choropleth map of New York City showing number of illegal dumping complaints to 311. The darkest concentrations are in East Harlem, Jamaica, East New York and Ozone Park.

Quick-turn data story: illegal dumping in NYC

After my initial lead fell through, I had to turn the analysis, interviews and writing around for this story in two days to meet my deadline. As a mom balancing parenthood and four other graduate courses, I was pretty proud of this.

View the story →
A grid of GoFundMe campaigns, with images of patients in hospitals and smiling families.

The cost of COVID

As part of the Data Studio course at Columbia, I scraped 5,000+ GoFundMe campaigns and conducted text and statistical analyses to try to capture the cost of a severe COVID diganosis.

For this story, I created a custom responsive chart using plotnine (ggplot), Adobe llustrator and ai2html.

View the story →

Making a dataset: How much do states value therapy?

I wanted to know how much each state was paying providers for therapy, so I compiled a dataset and mapped the results. I then compared each state's rate to its cost of living score to find disparities.

View the story →

Podcast production

I produced Season 3 of the beloved podcast "The Confessional with Nadia Bolz-Weber", a collaboration with PRX and The Moth.

Listen →

Audio documentary

I produced the audio half of an immersive storytelling exhibit about the culture and tradition of recreational shooting and hunting communities in Southeast Michigan.

Listen →

Enterprise investigation

I spent two months researching the performance of Detroit's novel city-wide community benefits ordinance. Reporting revealed it wasn't working like voters had hoped.

Listen →

Audience-powered reporting

As the project lead for WDET's audience engagement series CuriosiD, I had the privilege of helping listeners answer their burning questions about Detroit and the region. Their curiosity inspired some of the most meaningful and delightful stories.

Read or listen to some of my favorite stories→


I’m a public health reporter with five years of experience managing large collaborative projects and creating valuable journalism for and with the audience.

After recently going back to school and completing a master's degree in data journalism from Columbia University, I now have the technical training to quantify and visualize the issues that matter most to the public.

As a mama to a child with special health needs, I'm especially focused on filling information gaps so people can make the best decisions about their health and hold decision-makers accountable.

View my resume →

Want to get in touch?

I'm devoting this next part of my career to helping local newsrooms find creative ways to obtain, analyze and visualize data in their reporting. I would love to learn more about what you're doing and how I could help.

Please reach out to me at hello[at] to set up a time to chat.

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Copyright Shelby Jouppi 2023