The 2019 Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference will offer a record number of hands-on computer labs, Master Class workshops to hone your reporting and management skills, and a new track designed to help you understand key data journalism concepts. We’ll also be celebrating a milestone — the 25th CAR Conference — with several special sessions.

The early-bird deadline is approaching fast for the conference, which takes place March 7-10 in Newport Beach, California. Register by Jan. 21 to get the lowest rate.

We’ve released a list of expected sessions plus our pre-registered hands-on and master class workshops. A full schedule is coming soon. In the meantime, we wanted to share more about what we’re working on.

This conference will offer at least 311 hours of sessions, compared with 264 last year in Chicago. We’ll have nine computer labs for hands-on sessions in addition to five rooms for panels and demos and the NICAR Commons room for small-group discussions and meetups.

Some other highlights from this year’s schedule:

Master Classes

These three-hour workshops are designed to give attendees a more in-depth experience than our normal hour-long panels can offer. While our hands-on workshops focus on data skills, the Master Classes offer deep learning on topics related to reporting and managing investigations. We’ll offer Master Classes on:

  • Leading data teams
  • Self-editing and bulletproofing the data story
  • Telling the data story across platforms
  • Mastering the interview
  • Writing the data-driven narrative
  • Design thinking for journalists

Master classes require pre-registration and cost $35. Read more here.

Hands-on workshops

The best way to guarantee you’ll get a seat in a hands-on lab is to sign up for a pre-registered workshop. This year we are offering 13 workshops — more than ever before — for any skill level, from data beginner to designer or programmer. Classes include:

  • Digging into data with Excel
  • Upping your Excel game
  • Mastering Google Sheets: Web scraping, running scripts and other tricks
  • Interviewing your data with SQL
  • Interactive data viz with D3
  • First graphics app: Node.js in the newsroom
  • First Observable notebook: Prototyping with polish
  • PyCAR
  • First Python notebook: Data analysis on deadline
  • Write better Python code
  • MapCamp: QGIS
  • Intro to R
  • Exploring the tidyverse in R

Hands-on workshops require pre-registration and cost $35 for a half-day or $70 for a full-day workshop. Most fill up before the conference. Read more here.

We’ll also offer first-come, first-served sessions on each of these tools. There’s no additional cost to attend these open hands-on sessions. However, due to limited space in the computer labs, there is no way to guarantee a spot in these classes.

‘How it works’ sessions

Hands-on classes are great, but the one-hour sessions go by fast and don’t leave much room for context or explaining concepts. This year, we are introducing a series of sessions geared toward explaining how something works. Many of these will precede corresponding hands-on sessions, so you can go to the lecture on how it works before heading into a computer lab and learning a skill.

How it works sessions include: Git/Github, the internet (for journalists who want to scrape it), APIs, blockchain, artificial intelligence, understanding the basics of programming languages and more.

25th CAR Conference celebration

It’s hard to believe, but NICAR19 will be the 25th CAR Conference hosted by IRE. We’ll have a couple of sessions celebrating the history of data journalism — going back even further than our first gathering in Raleigh, North Carolina.

We’ll honor the pioneers of data journalism and some of the first trainers who helped spread the gospel, and we’ll take a loving look back at technologies of the past. We’ll also look forward to what’s possible in the next 25 years of CAR.

 

And that’s just the new stuff! NICAR19 will also include many of the traditional events this community has built over the years, including the mentorship program, Lightning Talks and the NICAR T-shirt contest.

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