Beyond the “nerd box:” How to explain methodology better

  • Event: 2018 CAR Conference
  • Speakers: Evie Liu of Dow Jones; Jeff South of Virginia Commonwealth University; Stephen Stirling of NJ Advance Media
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Mar. 10 at 3:30pm
  • Location: Grand Ballroom I
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

You’ve done all the data crunching and reporting, now it’s time to sit down and explain how you did it. Feeling overwhelmed by too many information and worried nobody would read it? We’ve all been there. Some of us call it the “nerd box”, but we certainly hope the methodology section could reach beyond nerds. In this panel, a few experienced data journalists will talk about their approach to explaining the methodology and how we can improve to make it better. Topics we’ll touch on include: How to assure the visibility of important caveats and avoid confusion? How to set realistic expectation on readers’ data literacy? How to accommodate readers with different levels of interest? Is there any other way to describe methodology other than lengthy text? How to include the methodology for non-digital mediums like broadcast, radio, print or even social media? Join us for a rewarding discussion.

Speaker Bios

  • Evie Liu (@Evie_xing) is a data reporter at Dow Jones Media Group, producing stories for multiple financial publications through data analysis, visualization and interactive design. Before this, she was a data journalist at New York Daily News, crunching numbers for investigative stories on education disparity, public housing safety, police-enforced evictions (2017 Pulitzer-winning project), etc. She works with Excel, Illustrator and Python on a regular basis.

  • Jeff South was a reporter and editor for 20 years in Texas, Arizona and Virginia before moving into academia. For the past 20 years, he has taught data journalism and other courses at Virginia Commonwealth University. South has won teaching awards from VCU and the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a Fulbright to teach journalism in China and a fellowship to train journalists in Ukraine. @jcsouth |

  • Stephen Stirling is a reporter for NJ Advance Media's Data & Investigations team, with a recent focus on death, the opioid epidemic and other uplifting topics. Also weather. @sstirling

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