Lightning Talks are back for the 2018 CAR Conference in Chicago. Pitch your ideas at lightningtalks.ire.org by Feb. 9. 

What are lightning talks?

Five-minute talks on any subject. Anyone who is attending NICAR 2018 can pitch and the attendees vote on the talks they want to see. The 10 talks with the most votes will be presented during NICAR.

How does this all work?

You have until Feb. 9th to come up with a pitch (or two) and submit it here. Then, on the morning of Feb. 12th, the pitching period ends and the voting period begins. You’ll be able to vote for as many talks as you’d like, and the 10 talks with the most votes will be a part of the lightning talks session at NICAR this year. Voting ends on Feb. 23rd and we’ll post the official lightning talks schedule within a day or two. Then, all that’s left is to come to the lightning talks session on Friday, March 9th at 4:45 p.m. and enjoy!

What are some example pitches?

Here are three pitches that were selected in recent years.

  • 10 Things I Hate About You: Can coders and designers ever get along? From lazy CSS to last-minute feature requests, Lily Mihalik (designer) and Anthony Pesce (coder) work through their “issues” in a live therapy session.
  • 5 data visualizations – each in 5 lines or less of R code: Afraid to make the leap from Excel to coding because you think it’s “too hard”? Thanks to some incredibly useful add-on packages, you can generate everything from maps to stats plots to interactive JavaScript graphics in just a few lines of R code. See why you shouldn’t fear the command line!
  • Showing big datasets on small screens: When presenting huge data stories, make sure your mobile users aren’t left out or forced to load massive datasets. Using WaPo’s 2012 mobile election results as an example, I’ll talk about creating lightweight data-driven web apps and tailoring the experience for mobile.

Still need inspiration?

Watch the lightning talks from 201720162015 or 2014, or check out the full list of proposals from last year.

Want help? Still need convincing?

Sisi Wei has encouraged everyone (newbies especially) to pitch a lightning talk, and offered to help coach, prod, brainstorm with, edit, and encourage anyone who needed it. This still applies! If you’re interested in pitching and need help coming up with something, read this.

Can I pitch a talk if I gave one last year?

Yes you can! On the other hand, if you’ve spoken in both 2015 and 2016, please take a well-deserved year off and encourage new speakers to pitch a talk.