The amount of places that journalism has taken me added one more state Friday.
On that day, I spoke for about an hour to about 70 journalists about the power of data journalism and how they can implement some strategies in their own newsrooms.
The group of speakers was very diverse and the crowd seemed to be very interested in what we all had to say.
In preparing my presentation, I had to decide how technical I wanted to go. For the most part, I was talking to seasoned journalists who have never even seen Terminal on their computer. I hoped to stress the importance of data and tools to rein in that data for a story.
I also hoped to emphasize tools that journalists could utilize for free and that could be used with various levels of programming experience. I talked about everything from database managers (like MySQL and PostgreSQL) to mapping tools (including Google Fusion Tables and Leaflet) to DIY data journalism (APIs and Github) and everything in between.
Based on the response I got, I think I did a good job. In talking to the person in charge of workshop surveys, there were two main things that came through when people evaluated me:
- People loved what I had to say. A lot of attendees took a lot of value from my presentation, with one person telling me that it was like a “Christmas list for free (data) toys.”
- My presentation went over some heads. This was probably inevitable, but I always wish I can accommodate everyone. That said, these people seemed interested in what I was saying, even if they didn’t fully understand it.
I’ll take that. I had great conversations with some folks afterwards that wanted more. I was happy to oblige and happy to see that so many people are interested in the marriage of journalism, data and programming. I’m a nerd in that respect, so it’s always nice to chat with other nerds.
I really enjoyed my first speaking engagement on data journalism and I hope that I’ll be afforded the opportunity to preach data to journalists again in the near future.
From OKC to Helsinki
If you happened to follow my tweets, you’ll know I spent about 17 more hours in Oklahoma than I had intended to. I loved Oklahoma, but the airport just wasn’t working for me.
After having my original flight delayed to the point that I’d have missed my connecting flight, Delta put me on a same-night same-time flight. That one wound up getting canceled due to mechanical issues and so I collected my $50 voucher and spent the night in town on Delta.
The next morning, I woke up early and got to the airport for my 5:30 a.m. flight, which was overbooked. Instead of getting on with my guaranteed ticket, I volunteered to get on a later flight, took my $400 flight voucher and went back to the hotel to sleep.
I got home much later than expected, but I did it $450 in free flights the richer, so I made the choice to go to a conference I otherwise never would have been able to attend.
That conference is the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki, Finland. These vouchers will pay for more than half my plane ticket and with a low admission price (100 Euros for four days), it’s hard to pass up.
Touted as the “Open Knowledge & Data event of the year,” I am very much looking forward to it. It’s during the Online News Association Conference in San Francisco, so I’m not sure how many journalists will be there. Regardless, I feel like I’ll learn a lot.
In order to fund the remainder of the trip, I’m going to be looking for grants for educational travel. If anyone knows of anything that might apply, let me know.
As for now, I’m going to catch up with everything I intended to do yesterday before my travel got delayed.