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Submit your NICAR23 Lightning Talk ideas!

Submissions are now open for Lightning Talks to be featured at #NICAR23 in Nashville!

Lightning Talks, which take place on the Friday afternoon of the conference, are five-minute talks about a particular tool, skill or piece of advice learned from working on stories. The goal is to teach some practical tips in a fun and entertaining way.

The talks began in 2010 and quickly grew into one of the most popular sessions at IRE’s annual data journalism conference.

The pitch form is open until Feb. 5. After that, members will be able to vote for their favorite ideas, and the 10 talks with the most votes will earn slots at the conference in Nashville. 

All conference attendees can pitch ideas, and we especially encourage women, journalists of color, those from historically marginalized communities, and folks from smaller organizations to submit talks. (If you’ve given a talk in recent years, we encourage you to take a year off to allow for new voices.)

Pitching and voting will be anonymous. In years past, a pitch would be displayed alongside the person who submitted it. In 2019, we saw that anonymity encouraged a more diverse group of people to submit pitches and bring more focus to the content of the talk in the voting process.

What makes a good Lightning Talks pitch? In the spirit of IRE’s conferences, try to focus on teaching your fellow journalists practical skills. Think of something you wish you had known when you started a project or a particular tool that helped you overcome a challenge.

The talks don’t have to be in-depth or super-advanced — remember you’ll only have five minutes, and yes, you will be timed!

If you have questions about Lightning Talks or the submission process, please email

The 2023 Lightning Talks are sponsored by Knight Foundation.

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