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2019 Lightning Talks lineup announced

Thanks to everyone who pitched and voted on the 2019 Lightning Talks for NICAR19. Here are the talks we’ll be hearing Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m.


1. How to write a data story in five minutes | Youyou Zhou

What does it mean to be a data analyst, a coder, a designer, or all of the above -and- a journalist? The chart maker at the graphic desk writes story. The computer's guy leads investigations. How's our work fit into the traditional way of talking about journalism? There are ambiguity, confusion and reluctancy. But there is a framework. I'm going to talk you through the framework, something you can use to inform your reporting process, as well as answer the question "What do you do as a data journalist?"

2. 5 ways to write racist code (with examples) | Alex Garcia

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York “stop-and-frisk”, Twitter sentiment analysis -- The programs we write, the data we analyze, and the assumptions we make have the potential for unintended consequences to creep into our work. These consequences have the ability to hurt people of color and other marginalized groups. In this lightning talk, learn how these problems begin, see working examples of these, and learn how to recognize and correct it in your next project!

3. How to build a massive database that no one wants you to build | Disha Raychaudhuri

A condensed primer on how we built The Force Report, the most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force, from 506 FOI requests

4. FOIA is my API | Matt Kiefer

Sometimes FOIA is your only option to get the records you need. But writing emails doesn't scale well when you're submitting and tracking requests to hundreds or thousands of agencies. In these situations, you can write computer programs to write emails for you, relying on the Freedom of Information Act to do the heavy lifting. I'll talk about some tools I've built to send requests, track responses and even read the attachments that come back.

5. 911, What’s Your Emergency: How insider knowledge of law enforcement has been an asset | Stacy Montemayor

I used to be a 911 dispatcher where I learned a lot about the language, processes and attitudes of law enforcement in the United States. That knowledge recently became an asset as I explored and cleaned 9 years of a police department’s calls for service. I’ll share some of these insights and how to decode certain types of police data.

6. How To Use Your Data Skills To Gain Financial Independence | Sean McMinn

What would be different if you didn't *need* your paycheck? Would you take three day weekends and coach your daughter's softball team? Would you turn down stories you didn't want to do? Or would you just quit your job altogether?Data journalism isn't just on the higher paying end of reporting jobs, it gives you the mindset to think about how you could become financially independent of your job entirely — and the skills to pull it off.

7. My own worst enemy: Overcoming impostor syndrome* | Kate Martin

Ever feel like you're a fraud and it's only a matter of time before someone finds out? Congratulations! You have impostor syndrome! Learn strategies to silence your inner contrarian.*Note: speaker may not be qualified to give this talk.

8. How to beat a serious case of the post-project blues | Christopher Baxter

The glory of your grand investigation has faded, readers have moved on and editors are asking what you've got next. But all you want to do is hide under your desk with a weighted blanket. The post-project blues are legit and need to be recognized. I'll call them out and share ways reporters can cope and editors can help.

9. Blindspotting: Covering communities you’re not a part of | Emmanuel Martinez

Stories about marginalized communities need to be told in a manner that does them justice and doesn’t further perpetuate harm. But it’s hard to tell these stories in an effective manner when you’re not a part of those communities.I will talk about how we can use fault lines and intersectionality to combat our own blind spots and biases to produce better journalism.

10. Save Student Newsrooms. How you can help the next generation of journalists | Caitlin Ostroff

Last year, more than 100 student newspapers banded together to advocate for themselves and the issues they face, including loss of independent funding and censorship by their institutions. Advocacy by students is a start, but professional journalists must play a role in safeguarding independent student journalism as mentors and advocates for the future generation of reporters.

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