The International Journalism Festival in Perugia (part 2)
The third edition of our School of Data Journalism is happening soon. In our previous post, you met Guido Romeo of Wired Italy and data journalist Elisabetta Tola, two journalists whose work has been impacted by the School of Data Jouranlism. Read on to learn how.
The impact of School of Data Journalism
Having attended the Festival every year since 2006, Tola explained that the School of Data Journalism had added a key ‘hands on’ element to it. While there were a few workshops before 2012, Tola feels that the introduction of School of Data Journalism’s interactive workshops has made it much easier for participants to take up data journalism.
Tola continued that getting exposure to some of the free tools available to clean and process data had been very useful in her work. She said that while she had a basic prior knowledge of programs like Excel, at the workshops she learnt how to organise and present data to tell stories.
The tools and skills acquired at the School of Data Journalism’s workshops have given both Tola and Romeo the confidence to expand their range of projects. In 2012, they both collaborated on a project called ‘Safe Schools’, the first large scale data driven investigation into seismic safety of Italian public schools, with Italy having one of highest seismic risk in the world.
Romeo points out that the School of Data Journalism’s sessions had made them realise that to take up data journalism it was not necessary to have perfect infrastructure or vast resources, and that it was possible to launch these projects despite the limitations they had working in an ill-equipped newsroom.
Since the launch of the Data Journalism Handbook, Romeo, in collaboration with others, has helped coordinated its translation into Italian. A first draft has been produced, and Romeo is working on the final version with the aim of launching it in the upcoming 2014 International Journalism Festival in Perugia at the end of April. He feels its a valuable resource to introduce students to data journalism.
In 2013, at the Festival, Tola also launched a new data journalism website called datajournalism.it. She felt that data journalists in Italy, most of whom are freelancers, needed a platform to display and promote their work.
“It’s a sort of a lab, a place for journalists to experiment and publish such works. I have many students who have been encouraged and worked on pieces that we published. From that some of their work got published in major news outlets who are hungry for new and innovative things. It’s really working well,” Tola said.
Romeo and Tola are both looking forward to participating in this year’s sessions at the Festival, and would like to see more of these hands on workshops that can broaden their skill sets and range of tools to deal with data.