Newspaper reporter is the worst job of 2013 according to the latest survey by Careercast.com and journalism reporter in general is considered one of the 10 worst jobs for the future according to Kiplinger. But Cezary Podkul, a data reporter with Reuters in New York, is optimistic about the future. “The reason I am optimistic is because of what I see happening right where I am in New York,” explains Podkul, who participates in a weekly data meetup group. He is excited that “every week there is something new to share” and “new skills to pick up.”
Nil Patel, an editorial production assistant with The New Yorker was one of the winners of our recent Bicoastal Datafest. He won the Best in Insight Prize at the event at Columbia University. His project Does Congress Really Suck? tries to evaluate Congress’s efficacy in an easy to understand way that is also visually grasping. He sees a “huge potential” in data journalism but also thinks that is “time consuming” and “hard.” That’s why we need, he says, tools to make visualizations easier.
The Bicoastal Datafest has proved a valuable experience for me. It was also rewarding to see the excitement among the participants and watch their wonderful presentations. I wish to thank all the participants for their generosity with their time and energy and I encourage them to submit their projects to the Data Journalism Awards. Needless to say, my deep appreciation extends to our judges, keynote speakers and workshop trainers who kindly contributed their time and expertise.
A chance to analyze investment data from members of Congress drew a team of financial experts and computer scientists on both coasts at the Bi-Coastal Datafest. ”We want to see if their investments do better than regular people’s investments,” said Marc Joffe, a financial analyst in the Bay Area focusing on sovereign and municipal debt. He was crunching away Saturday afternoon with Carlos Riquelme Ruiz, a CS and math PhD student at Stanford and Matt Gedigian, a software engineer.
Arlene Stevens is not a data scientist or a journalist. But data matters to this Palo Alto self-identified “community member, educator and entrepreneur.” Stevens was among 75 or so people who turned out to work on the Stanford University Bicoastal Datafest session Saturday. ”I’m interested in new technology and data mining. My specific interest is in visualization.”Stevens spent Saturday working with a team planning how to match people with politicians, in the style of an online dating service using data and questionnaires. “If someone is interested in
The Datafest was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to learn. It has also produced some very interesting insights and illuminated possible ways forward. Ten teams of journalists, scientists and engineers worked incredibly hard and with a lot of enthusiasm, some of them – through the night. They used a wide array of tools, methods and techniques. Their efforts have generated some very intriguing results. Some projects show good potential for further development.
We had six amazing judges this past weekend at the Datafest. They had to make very difficult choices. Here is a collection of some of their comments about the teams that participated in the event: