Guest lecture on the data processing pipelines that powered the Financial Times’ coverage of the 2020 US election poll tracker and live results page.
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 covered the challenges in extracting data from these formats, what tools are available, and approaches for verifying the results. Slides here.
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 covered how it works, the basic commands and concepts, and some of the tools which can be useful in data investigations, including story examples. Slides here.
Discussion of how code is being used to find stories, and how to go about learning such skills. Panel discussion with Helena Bengtsson, Niamh McIntyre, and moderator Leila Haddou.
An introduction to how code is used in the newsroom, with recent story examples, explaining the fundamental concepts and demystifying the jargon. We also guided attendees through the most common programming languages, and gave a roadmap to deciding which to pursue. Slides here.
This talk explained the ways automation is already being used in newsrooms, why the coming wave of automation is not a threat, and how we can embrace this new technology to improve the quality of investigative reporting at a time of shrinking newsroom resources. Slides here.
Like our reality, our data is often messy. Finding meaningful connections between such datasets often means using fuzzy matching algorithms. This was a high-level look at some of the most commonly used algorithms, their pros and cons, and how they are used in practice. Slides here.
Communication difficulties are common between journalists and technologists. This was a talk with an investigative reporter on our experiences working together at the Guardian.
Panel discussing how news organisations have been challenged and transformed by the web, and how this has changed the way they interact with readers. Video here.