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Car guides: A government reporter's conference plan

By Kate Martin

I am really looking forward to this year’s NICAR conference. I started my data training in 2011 with IRE at a week-long CAR boot camp. These days I regularly use Excel and Access in my reporting for the Skagit Valley Herald, a daily with five newsroom reporters.
After last year’s hands-on sessions on Tableau Public, I immediately put my education to use to map a state carcass removal database for a story about roadkill in Washington state

I intend to improve my mapping skills by attending classes on how to use ArcGIS. I see an incredible value in learning to make custom maps for my newsroom. I am also looking forward to Alex Richards’ talk, “Getting started with open-source database manager MySQL.”

Car Guides
There's a lot to choose from at CAR. So we asked a variety of journalists -- students, beat reporters, veteran data crunchers and programmers -- to tell us what they're excited about this year. Tomorrow, hear from Derek Willis, news developer for The New York Times.

The session on “Finding the bad guys: Tricks for joining lists of people” also looks intriguing (especially because I’m working on a project that would involve this skill and I can’t wait to dig into that data).

Coding and computer programming are so far not in my list of skills, but there are plenty of sessions at this year’s conference for me to attend that will help me become a better investigative reporter.

Kate Martin is a government reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald. You cna follow her on Twitter at @katereports

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