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Paroma Soni

I am a Data and Graphics Reporter at POLITICO, where I primarily cover trade and agriculture for our premium audiences. Prior to this, I was an Associate Visual Journalist with FiveThirtyEight, where I worked on data-driven stories about politics, abortion, and public policy. I was also a Delacorte Fellow at Columbia Journalism Review, where I reported on press freedom and issues facing the global media landscape. As an alumnus of Columbia Journalism School, I have also worked as an instructor and teaching assistant for the
School’s Lede program.

In many ways, IRE was instrumental in my transition to a successful data journalism career in the United States. Originally from Mumbai, I worked as a Video Producer for BuzzFeed India and freelanced on several video reporting projects in South Asia. Once I joined IRE, conferences like NICAR and a series of online investigative toolkit trainings were an immense help in expanding my skill set, introducing me to new tools and creative ways of analysis that fundamentally improved my reporting process.

More importantly, the collaborative approach at the heart of IRE helped me cultivate strong professional relationships that continue to inspire and inform my work today. I had the opportunity to contribute to The Markup’s story on internet speed disparities, “Still Loading”, which won the IRE Philip Meyer Award and several others earlier this year. I met remarkable journalists who are now my colleagues, editors, and mentors. In the spirit of giving back, I volunteered as a mentor and pitched a number of sessions for NICAR.

This past NICAR, I spoke on four panels, including one on weathering the volatility of the journalism industry – a huge challenge impacting news media nationally and one faced by many within the IRE community. As journalism degrees get progressively more unaffordable, visa restrictions get tighter and the number of jobs continues to decline, breaking into this field is getting tougher by the day for younger reporters, particularly those from communities of color, non-citizens, and other vulnerable groups.

As an international journalist who has been laid off once myself, I’ve had to navigate the complexities of establishing myself in the American journalism industry, and am acutely aware of its unique challenges. The relationships and resources I availed from IRE were a great help to me, and, if elected, I would focus on strengthening IRE’s commitment to establishing guardrails for all journalists to not only withstand these challenges but also to set them up to thrive. I’d like to work on further developing the innovative and accessible
skill-building programs IRE offers, along with more inclusive career support and deeper networking opportunities.

In a world increasingly marked by economic interdependence and conflict, I strongly believe that diversity and equity initiatives that truly address the needs of younger reporters and international journalists are necessary to enrich news media, both for reporters and audiences in the U.S. and beyond.


Bianca Pallaro, The New York Times – I am pleased to nominate Paroma Soni for election to the IRE Board. Paroma is a passionate and dedicated journalist who has taken on ambitious projects with fearless determination. More importantly, she is a kind and helpful colleague who has the unique ability to zoom out and advocate for the needs of every person in the room. She is organized and resourceful, full of thoughts and ideas, and a lively, engaging presence you could chat with for hours. I have no doubt she would contribute immensely to IRE’s work.

Sheridan Wall, The Real Deal – I am happy to nominate Paroma Soni as a candidate for the IRE Board. As a friend and colleague, Paroma is a thoughtful reporter and a great collaborator, mentor and teammate. She has a wealth of experience, both professionally and personally, and her work reflects that diversity. Recently, she pitched, organized and conducted several sessions at NICAR that were well-received by the large number of students in attendance. She is committed to covering stories that make complex issues accessible for everyone through beautiful graphics and compelling data visualizations. She would be an incredible addition to the IRE board.

Candidate Q & A

Current position

  • Data and Graphics Reporter at POLITICO

Prior experience

  • Associate Visual Journalist at FiveThirtyEight
  • Delacorte Magazine Fellow at Columbia Journalism Review
  • Video Producer at BuzzFeed India

IRE experience

  • IRE member since I was a data journalism student
  • NICAR conference attendee and panelist (on four sessions this year)
  • Been a mentee and a mentor for journalists at NICAR


  • Data visualizations and graphic design using various online tools, the Adobe Creative Suite, JavaScript and other open-source libraries
  • Data-driven investigations and analysis in Python, SQL, and JavaScript
  • Video production and editing
  • Long-form explainers and narrative writing

Related links

Issues you would like to address as a board member

  • Affordability and access to data journalism training
  • Support for international students and journalists
  • Career support for young reporters
  • Diversity in leadership and reporting areas
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