Finding connections in campaign finance data with graph databases

  • Event: 2017 CAR Conference
  • Speakers: Meredith Broussard of New York University; William Lyon of Neo4j
  • Date/Time: Sunday, Mar. 5 at 9:00am
  • Location: City Terrace 5
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Graph databases are optimized for working with complex and connected data. Campaign finance data is a great example of a complex dataset where the connections in the data are often as important as the discrete data points, making it a great use case for a graph database.

In this hands-on workshop we will cover how to model, import, and query campaign finance data using the Neo4j graph database. We will focus on learning the property graph data model and how to use Cypher, the query language for graphs, to write queries that can help find stories in the data. 

This session is geared toward those with some basic familiarity with databases and data analysis, but will start at an introductory level for those new to graph databases.

Speaker Bios

  • Meredith Broussard is an assistant professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. Follow her on Twitter @merbroussard or contact her via

  • William Lyon is a software developer at Neo4j, the open source graph database. He works on building integrations for Neo4j with other technologies, helping users build graph applications, and also leads the Neo4j Data Journalism Accelerator Program. He holds a masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Montana. You can find him online at or @lyonwj

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