CAR Conference Blog

You got your hands on a great data set. Now what?

By Glynn A. Hill

Four journalists discussed tips for reporting out a data story at the 2015 CAR Conference in Atlanta. Steve Myers, visiting professor at Texas Christian University and special projects editor at The Lens, facilitated the panel. Speakers included James Ball, a special projects editor at The Guardian; Andy Lehren, a reporter for The New York Times; and Kendall Taggart, a reporter on the investigative team at BuzzFeed News.

So you have that data set. Now what? The next step, they said, is understanding what you have, which demands the following:

  • Read every part of the data set ...
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Journalists share tips, stories about getting started in the industry

Want to know how some of the biggest names in journalism got where they are today? We did. So we asked some of our 2015 CAR Conference Knight Scholars to interview conference attendees and share pieces of their conversations for our blog.  


Rikke Østergård Hansen

Rikke Østergård Hansen, Danish Broadcasting Corporation

Before Rikke Østergård Hansen began working as a live reporter for the Danish Broadcast Company, she was a freelancer in Syria. Reporting overseas was a job she'd dreamed about since she was 15 years old.

Personal experience drew her to attention to the Middle East ...

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Watchdogging law-breaking law enforcement

By Kasia Kovacs

Ask anyone the biggest news story of the past year, and chances are you’ll hear some variation of "Ferguson" or "police shootings."

It’s a hot topic, and not without reason. After the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the police chokehold that killed Eric Garner in New York, and the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was killed while playing with a fake gun in Cleveland, Ohio, the ensuing protests and public outcry were palpable around the world.

As reporters, we have a responsibility to hold those who abuse power accountable. One of ...

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Humans of NICAR: Madison Feller

Madison Feller

By Keytron Hill

Three questions for Madison Feller, a journalism student at the University of Missouri and volunteer at the 2015 CAR Conference.

Q: What do you love about journalism?

A: I'm not a hard news reporter, it's just not for me, but I love feature stories and longer stories. I just love sharing people's lives. 

Q: What's your dream job?

A: I want to be a features editor for a women's magazine. A lot of people underestimate women magazines, but I think they're going in a great direction and I want ...

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My code-free adventure designing an interactive game

Screenshot of Tierra Smith's interactive newsgame. Click to view larger.

By Tierra Smith 

As a first-timer to the CAR Conference and someone previously unfamiliar with data journalism, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by Saturday of NICAR15.

I was dropped into a whole new world where everyone was speaking a totally different language. I felt myself constantly clutching my notepad and scribbling down "new words" like "D3." I was determined to figure out what everything meant.

Then I found "Create your own interactive newsgame without coding." The hands-on class was prefect for someone interested in data journalism, but who doesn ...

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Tips for keeping an eye on public spending

By Kasia Kovacs 


View presentations from Joanna Lin and Cezary Podkul.

Journalists didn’t have to look far to prove that Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock was using taxpayer money to pay for surfing in Waikiki, parasailing in Argentina and renovating his office with Downtown Abbey flair.

All the reporters had to do? Check Schock’s Instagram account

The account was chock-full of selfies, some posing with celebrities like Ariana Grande, and others taken from the far corners of the world. According to the Washington Post, quite a bit of the funding for those trips came from campaign and taxpayer ...

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3 tips for quick-turn broadcast investigations

By Bianca Brown 

One day. Sometimes that's all the time you have to sift through data and turn around an accurate story.

During the "Broadcast: Viz, quick hits and the data you need" panel, Jamie Grey, an assistant professor of radio and television journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism; Andy Pierrotti, an investigative reporter with KVUE News in Austin; and Tisha Thompson, an investigative reporter at WRC-TV NBC4 in Washington, offered some easy ways to turn spreadsheets of data into a 90-second package.


Have a stockpile of data

There are some spreadsheets we should all have ...

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Scenes from the 2015 Lightning Talks

Another year, another packed house for Lightning Talks. Thanks to everyone who helped make this event a success. In the coming weeks we’ll be uploading videos from the talks and posting them here, on our conference blog.

Darla Cameron from the Washington Post, listens to the introductions at NICAR 2015 Lightning Talks, which were the culmination of Friday's sessions. Cameron's talk was titled "The end of maps, in 7 charts."


Sisi Wei, of ProPublica, organizes presentations before the lightning talks start on Friday.


Jeremy Bowers, of the New York Times, watches a lightning talk presenattion as he ...

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How to take the next steps in data journalism

By Glynn A. Hill 

Ryann Grochowski Jones, Eric Sagara, and Helena Bengtsson co-hosted a panel called "Life after Excel and Access" at the 2015 CAR Conference to share tips about taking the next steps in data journalism.

Grochowski Jones, a data reporter at ProPublica, talked about the first steps. Below are some of her suggestions:

  • Learn SQL and how to write queries, which ensures you can handle any database manager with ease. You can use query builder in Access and then switch over to SQL view.
  • File a data request every week. This will help you practice data negotiation skills ...
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Humans of NICAR: Glynn Hill

Glynn Hill

By Keytron Hill

Three questions for Glynn Hill, a senior at Howard University majoring in print journalism with a minor in political science.

Q: Why did you choose Howard University?

A: I needed a change of scenery from high school. I also felt that it was where I could grow the most personally.

Q: What made you change your major focus from broadcast to print?

A: One of my professors told me I needed to be able to write longform and hardcore reporting skills. That’s how it started. I decided to focus on that and go back ...

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