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Help IRE build a successful, unique NICAR21 online

NICAR21 is moving online in March, and IRE needs your help to build a strong and successful virtual data journalism conference.

We are gathering ideas from our community via this form through Dec. 6. We want to know what session topics you’d like to see, what format is most helpful to you and how we can help you network and build connections with other members online. With an online conference, we have lots of flexibility to try different things, explore emerging technologies and connect with each other on new levels.

IRE’s annual data journalism conference was originally scheduled for March 4-7, 2021, in Baltimore, Maryland. We are moving the event online because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Sign up for NICAR21 email updates here.

“NICAR is such a unique conference with its hands-on training, innovative sessions and collaborative spirit,” IRE Deputy Executive Director Denise Malan said. “While we wish we could see everyone in person, we are excited to create something new and different for NICAR this year, and make the event more accessible to journalists, educators and students around the globe.”

Here’s what we’re planning so far and what kind of input we’re seeking:

  • The conference will be the week of March 4, exact dates to be determined. We’d like to hear what days work best for you and how long each day should be.
  • We are planning live panels, demos and networking sessions, and we need pitches for session and speaker ideas. Let us know what you’d like to learn or speak about. We’re especially interested in ideas that are practical and relevant to current events such as coronavirus, police conduct and racial equity. 
  • Hands-on data skills will be taught via on-demand, pre-recorded videos led by IRE trainers, so that anyone can learn at their own pace. There will be beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons so attendees can jump in at their current skill level. We’ll offer sessions in spreadsheets, SQL, programming and data viz. 
  • To complement the on-demand data training, we plan to offer multiple office hours for attendees to get one-on-one help with any data skill or help setting up their computers for data work. If you’d like to volunteer to help during an office hour session, please let us know via the form.
  • We’re also seeking volunteers for “digital coaches” who will get a badge in the conference platform signifying that people can reach out to them for help during the conference. 
  • It wouldn’t be NICAR without the fun, community-building events! We plan to have some fun sessions that have nothing to do with data or journalism so you can relax and socialize with your fellow NICARians. We’d love to hear your ideas for happy hour and fun mixer sessions.
  • All attendees will receive access to the conference site, including hands-on classes and live session recordings, for a year afterward.  

As always, we rely on this amazing, diverse community to help us highlight the very best in data journalism, and we cannot wait to see what you come up with! Feel free to reach out at any time to

109 Lee Hills Hall, Missouri School of Journalism   |   221 S. Eighth St., Columbia, MO 65201   |   573-882-2042   |   |   Privacy Policy
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