Code Red collaboration earns accolades
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Code Red, the Hamilton Spectator's investigative series on the relationship between
location, health and poverty in Hamilton, has received a great deal of recognition since
its publication in 2010.
The series, written by Steve Buist in collaboration with McMaster's Neil Johnston and
Patrick DeLuca, found that where one lives greatly affects one's health. Their research
uncovered a number of startling statistics, including a 21-year difference in life
expectancy separating some city neighbourhoods.
Last month, the series was given a National Newspaper Award for best special project. It
has also been awarded the Sidney Hillman Foundation's inaugural Canadian Hillman
Prize, a Canadian Association of Journalists award for outstanding investigative
journalism and a Michener Citation of Merit.
"We really wanted to create a place for public discussion," said Johnston. "The very fact
that people are aware of the issues in their communities is important, but our ultimate
goal with the series is meaningful policy change."
According to DeLuca, who developed a series of neighbourhood maps for Code Red, the
impact of the project was not lost on McMaster students.
"We routinely have students take courses in GIS (the merging of cartography, statistical
analysis and database technology) because they saw what we were able to do with Code
Red," he said.
"Of all the projects I've worked on, I'm most proud of this one."
More than 20 courses at McMaster and other universities have incorporated Code Red
into course material, and DeLuca has been approached about the possibility of mapping
similar data for other jurisdictions.
The Code Red series is available to read here.
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