Beyond numbers: Finding characters and stories in data

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Sarah Cohen of ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism; Megan Luther of InvestigateTV; Shawn McIntosh of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Cheryl Phillips of Stanford University
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Jun. 16 at 11:30am
  • Location: Oceans 4
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Most reporters think that data is most useful to spot trends or count events. But each of those data points could be a story, and finding the anecdotes, characters and stories in data is just as important as finding evidence. We will help you find your story in data and share tips on how to focus on the best characters.

Speaker Bios

  • Sarah Cohen is the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School at ASU. Previously, she worked as the editor of a data reporting team at The New York Times focused on long-term enterprise and investigative stories, and as a database editor for The Washington Post. Her awards include the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize and the IRE medal. She is a past president of IRE, and served on the board for eight years.

  • Megan Luther is an investigative producer with InvestigateTV, Gray Television's national investigative team. Previously, she was IRE's Senior Training Director and a data analyst for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Megan, mother of two, works remotely in South Dakota. @MeganLuther

  • Shawn McIntosh is editorial director at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, overseeing news content, including investigative reporting and data journalism. A career-long member of IRE, she credits the training and camaraderie offered here for any success she has had. She has previously been top editor in Jackson, Miss., and worked in investigative roles at The Dallas Morning News and USA TODAY. @shawnmcintosh and @AJCInvestigate

  • Cheryl Phillips teaches journalism at Stanford, is the founder of Big Local News and co-founder of The Stanford Open Policing Project. She worked at The Seattle Times for 12 years as a reporter and editor. She twice was part of breaking news coverage that received the Pulitzer Prize and twice served on teams that were Pulitzer finalists. She has worked at USA Today and at newspapers in Michigan, Montana and Texas. She is a former IRE board president. @cephillips

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