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2018 Fellowship – Deadline Extension for Indonesia

Cedric Lombion - May 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

Note: the application window is now closed!

We have been made aware that a lot of the potential applicants in Indonesia weren’t aware of the Fellowship opportunity. Consequently we’re extending the application deadline for Indonesia only for one week, until Wednesday May 17th, GMT+0.

Apply now

As a reminder, the Fellowship in Indonesia will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering technical and data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities and ideally experience with working with government systems or data.

Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences, experience with user design methodologies, experience with community development

Don’t miss your chance and apply now!

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How do you become data literate? Part 2

helene.hahn - May 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

What does it mean to become ‘data literate’? Where do you start and how can you use data within your work and projects? To explore these questions, we would like to introduce some of our community members and data activists from around the world, who ended up working with data at some point in their lives. We were curious about how they actually got started and – looking back now – what they would recommend to data newbies.

Each month we will publish a new interview, this is no. #2. Got feedback? Have questions? Feel free to get in touch: [email protected]

Oludotun Babayemi

Co-founder of Connected Development, Follow The Money Nigeria, data trainer at School of Data, from Nigeria

Topics: government spending, international aid, rural communities

Tweets: @dotunbabayemi


Introduce yourself.

My name is Oludotun Babayemi and I was a School of Data fellow in 2014. I co-founded an NGO called Connected Development in Nigeria three years ago and I run the project “Follow the Money”.

What topics and projects are you currently working on?

Well, I have a background in information management. And for the past nine years I’ve been involved in monitoring and evaluation of government programs, policies and projects, through multilateral and bilateral agencies. Data is getting more and more relevant in the non-profit sector and in the projects I run, which is called Follow the Money, that started in 2012. To follow the money we needed financial data, budget data and also we needed to look for baseline indicators of our target communities. Follow the Money tracks funds that are meant for capital projects and rural communities in the area of health, education and environment. So for us to make decisions on communities we want to create stories from, we needed these datasets. Data remains the core of our work. It became very important for us to leverage on data. For sustainability reasons as well, we needed to create a community of citizens who know how to use data. We have been offering trainings since 2013 to enhance data literacy skills in Nigeria to journalists and activists interested in the social sector. For every training that we ran we got great feedback and this showed us, that many people want to become data savvy. Data literacy helps us to get more people involved in our transparency project.

When was the first time you came across data and when did you start to use data in your work?

My story with data didn’t just start now. My mum is a teacher and when I was  8 years old, we used to compile result sheets of her student’s tests. Everytime she came home, she would give me spreadsheets on student’s test paper and ask me do to subtractions, additions, multiplications of the student’s results. So I was making remarks on their papers and would help in compiling the weighted average that determines their position. We would do this at the end of each term and I was helping her out on the spreadsheets. I started relating to data since then and that’s like 20 years ago.

How would you explain data literacy?

Data literacy is about empowering citizens on the use of data. That’s what it means to us. There is a lot of data available, but most people do not know, how to relate to it or how data does resonate with them. So it is our duty to connect the dots with them, to let them know, where they can find data and what they can use it for. You can use it to educate yourself, to create compelling stories and also to do effective advocacy. When you have the data and you know what the data is about, we say it is an evidence and with that evidence you can ask the right questions. So we say evidence is power.

What would you recommend to someone interested in data, but who does not know where to start?

If you want to start relating to data, I think it’s nice to find a community around you that works with data. There are also several Open Knowledge organisations in different countries you can join and be part of. One is working on Datenschule and there is also, so this should be one place to look out for. If you are in Africa, you can join the community of citizens holding their government accountable via the ifollowthemoney platform. This would at least encourage you and get you ready to start working with data.


Connected Development’s Work

Follow the Money Nigeria


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Research Results Part 6: Data Literacy Research References and Resources

Dirk Slater - February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

Even though work in the field of data literacy can feel a bit lonely at times, truth is it is not entirely new and undocumented. During the research process that has been described over these blog posts, we have been lucky to come across valuable sources of information on the topic – researchers and practitioners have devoted writing time to data literacy in civil society and in academia.

To close off the blog posts sharing our main findings, we found it suitable to share a bit of information about the resources that informed the process.

A quick dive into the history of data literacy

Even though data literacy efforts in civil society might seem recent, they fit into a much longer history of numeracy, statistical literacy (and, of course, literacy in general). When looking into the broader literature, we found articles devoting time to narrow and define this field, especially as compared to others. We recommend taking a look at:

For a shorter (but comprehensive) account of broader research in this field, we found Data Pop Alliance’s Beyond Data Literacy: Reinventing Community Engagement and Empowerment in the Age of Data to be illuminating.

The origins of School of Data

If you were around in School of Data in 2012, the information in tis section might be redundant for you… but many of the newer School of Data community members haven’t had the chance to learn how it all started.

We also want to point out to Sam Leon’s blog post talking about his embedded fellowship in Global Witness – one of School of Data’s first experiments with longer term processes.

Academic research meets data literacy work

Data literacy training efforts in civil society are similar to some of those documented by academic researchers, and that’s why we decided to take a look at how they are being discussed in the literature. Sources that we recommend:

Data literacy in civil society

Perhaps not in journal articles, but civil society organizations and individuals around the world have also devoted efforts to the documentation of their work in the field. Some of the highlights:

Thank you for participating and following the data literacy research process we underwent! Our blog post series has now been completed and we encourage you to take a look at it. If you want to send feedback or get in touch, please do so at dataliteracy [at]

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Improve Your Data Literacy: 16 Blogs to Follow in 2016

Cedric Lombion - January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

Learning data literacy is a never-ending process. Going to workshops and hands-on practice are important, but to really become acquainted with the “culture” of data literacy, you’ll have to do a lot of reading. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back: below is a curated list of 16 blogs to follow in 2016 if you want to: improve your data-visualisation skills; see the best examples of data journalism; discover the methodology behind the best data-driven projects; and pick-up some essential tips for working with data.

Using Feedly as your RSS Reader? Check out our shared collection which includes the blogs mentioned below plus other blogs!


Data Viz Done Right

This website, by Andy Kriebel, curates good examples of dataviz around the web, highlighting what was great, and also what could have been done better. Each post is quick and easy to read, and they add up to form a set of good practices to keep in mind when doing a data-visualisation.

Website link:

Frequency: 1 article/week

Flowing Data

Flowing Data is Nathan Yau’s full-time job, and it shows. Regularly updated with great original or curated content about data-visualisation, this blog is a good way to keep track of the major trends and events in the field. Other sections of the website feature tutorials for purchase and guides.

Website link:

Twitter: @flowingdata

Frequency: 9 articles/week

Google Maps Mania

Do you like maps? Everybody likes maps. Managed by map-addict Keir Clarke for more than 10 years, this blog is the go-to resource for following the development of digital cartography. Don’t be fooled by the name, all digital maps are featured, not only Google ones.

Website link:

Twitter: @gmapsmania

Frequency: 24 articles/week

Junk Charts

Prominent data-visualisation expert Kaiser Fung set out to become the web’s first data-visualisation critic. The result is a website which regularly deconstructs dataviz work, even from top publications, often proposing an alternative visualisation. The articles on Junk Charts regularly make ripples through the web, attracting praise, criticism, but most importantly, prompting discussion.

Website link:

Twitter: @junkcharts

Frequency: 2 articles/week

Visual Loop

Visual Loop is the ultimate datavisualisation web repository. Founded as simple blog in 2010 by Tiago Veloso, it grew to become the most active and up-to-date curation space for datavisualisation, in all formats. Featuring interviews with designers along with event announcements, this is the blog to follow to get inspiration.

Website link:

Twitter: @visualoop

Frequency: 3 articles/week

#Data In the News


Rather than simply having data journalists, FiveThirtyEight is data journalism. Founded by Nate Silver, a renowned statistician who reached stardom after predicting the 2008 and 2012 elections while blogging for the New York Times, FiveThirtyEight represents the boldest attempt to do pure data journalism. It works remarkably well, and is an inspiration for all data journalists, seasoned and aspiring ones alike.

Website link:

Twitter: @FiveThirtyEight

Frequency: 40 articles/week

NYT – The Upshot

Website link:

Twitter: @UpshotNYT

Frequency: 21 articles/week

After the departure of Nate Silver, the New York Times decided to aim even higher by starting The Upshot, a data journalism corner dedicated to politics, policy and economic analysis. It’s an ambitious and high-quality take on data journalism, with approachable articles on social issues (politics, nutrition…) mixed with innovative interactive data-visualisations.

Washington Post Information Graphics

The Washing Post Information Graphics blog is an unadulterated look at the data journalism articles produced by the « WaPo ». It is not only a great source of inspiration for anyone interested in dataviz, but a great source of quality articles, without all the fluff of the main website.

Website link:

Twitter: @PostGraphics

Frequency: 4 articles/week

Understanding Uncertainty

David Spiegelhalter is the maestro behind this ever-useful website, which regularly takes on news articles (but not exclusively) which make a bad job of reporting on the risk/probability/chance of something happening. It is a great read to cut through sensationalist claims, as well as a source of examples on how to deal with uncertainty in reporting.

Website link:

Frequency: Less than 1 article/week

Global Journalism Investigative Network

The GJIN, as a whole, is an extensive resource for journalists, but their series of curated top 10 data journalism links of the week is a great way of tracking the « #ddj” articles or news that made the rounds on Twitter for any particular week.

Website link:

Twitter: @gijn

Frequency: 1 article/week

#Behind The Scenes

NPR Visuals Team Blog

A nerdier pick than the rest of the selection, the NPR Visual Teams blog is still an amazing place to see the methodology behind outstanding data journalism projects. Additionally, the NPR Team maintains several open source tools for data journalism which are described on the blog.

Website link:

Twitter: @nprviz

Frequency: Less than 1 article/week


No less nerdy than the NPR blog, the Source blog (a Mozilla/Open News project) is more varied in its content, thanks to regular blog posts by top data journalists from a wide variety of newsrooms. Alternating behind-the-scenes articles, guides, tutorials and event round-ups, this blog is a must-have in the RSS reader of every data journalist.

Website link:

Twitter: @source

Frequency: 2 articles/week


Storybench is a collaboration between the Media Innovation track at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and Esquire magazine. A relative newcomer in the sphere of data journalism blogs, it features high quality articles, providing an « under the hood » look at examples of digital journalism, accompanied by interviews with the journalists who make them.

Website link:

Twitter: @storybench

Frequency: 2 articles/week

#Learning to work with Data


Data journalists love spreadsheets. And why wouldn’t they? They’re so flexible! is the place to go if you want to maximise this potential flexibility, or just pick some nice tricks that will make your work faster. Chandon focuses on Excel, but thankfully most of the tricks of use to data journalists will be available in other, similar software.

Website link:

Twitter: @r1c1

Frequency: 2 articles/week


HelpMeViz’s tagline is « helping people with everyday data visualization ». Whilst submitting your dataviz issue to the community can be really helpful, the real value of the website is in the aggregation of all the posts, each representing a small dataviz challenge. If you ever wondered in how many ways you could tackle a data-visualisation problem, HelpMeViz is there for inspiration.

Website link:

Twitter: @HelpMeViz

Frequency: Less than 1 article/week

Journalist’s Resource

The Journalist’s Resource tackles a niche aspect of data literacy: understanding research papers. Mixing regular round-ups of research around specific topics with quality guides about understanding research terms or working with numbers (check out their amazing tip sheets), this blog from the Shorenstein Center of Harvard Kennedy School is a resource all journalists (and especially North American ones) should follow.

Website link:

Frequency: 6 articles/week

Do you believe that some obvious blogs are missing? Tweet them to us at @Schoolofdata or on Facebook. And check out our Feedly shared collection, which includes more than the blogs mentioned above!

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Data visualisation or Data narration? Data in Radio Stories

Nkechi Okwuone - January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

For an outsider looking at Nigeria’s news media lately, it would seem that the only things in the mind of Nigerians are politics or security-related. Breaking news are aplenty while more involved stories, either investigative or reporting on community issues, are scarce.

This is a problem, but what can we do about it? Development Watch, an initiative by Journalist for Social Development Initiative, hopes to solve this problem. They have plans for a different kind of journalism, providing objective analysis of social development issues and promoting inclusive growth across Africa. And to live up to their goal of creating quality journalism, they decided to facilitate a data journalism session on November 30, 2015, at the occasion of the launch of the main part of their web platform.

Data Journalism AbujaMore than 20 journalists were present: 15 from the broadcast, 5 from the print and the others from the new media. Beyond Google Alerts, most of them had little knowledge of the useful tools for digital journalism, and even less about where to find available data in Nigeria. This was expected: we hear this from 80% of the participants to datajournalism trainings. Luckily, the point of those trainings is to familiarize them with the available tools and sources.

“To find data for my reports, I only depend on references from other works, or request a meeting with concerned organizations, as I do not know where to go to, I find this difficult for my work”  said Sam Adeko of Punch Newspapers.

 According to a recent poll by NOI Polls, a polling organisation in Nigeria, most people in the country access daily news via the radio (67%), followed by television, social media and newsprint. With this information in mind, we try to tailor our datajournalism trainings to take into account stories for radio and television, in addition to the use of tools like, essentially useful for print and social media.

But before talking about visualising data, we had to cover some basic techniques. In this training, as is the case in many other ones, 90% of the participants used Google search to look up information, but few of them really knew how to search effectively. For example, you can search for specific content on a website by adding ‘’ to your search phrase, which will prompt Google to only return results from the site you’ve specified. You can even narrow it down further by using ‘’, and you’ll only see results that match that pattern.

Another useful tool that was introduced was Google Trends, which allow to find which search terms are trending on Google. “I really want to know how much people are interested in President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria compared to the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. Especially in recent times, this can give me an insight on how important Nigeria is over Rwanda” explained Roluke Ogundele of the Africa Independent Television. All you need do is to enter a couple of common search phrases and you will get how this has been trending over time. We also talked about Twitter, a micro-blogging service that is becoming more widely used in Nigeria. To discover public conversations about a link, you just paste the URL you’re interested in into the search box, and then possibly hit ‘more tweets’ to see the full set of results.

When the datavisualisation session eventually came, we asked the question of whether to visualize or not, and how. Tools like Google Fusion Tables, Tableau, Dipity and others make it easier than ever to create maps, charts, graphs useful for newsprint, social media, and television. But what happens when you broadcast on the radio? Because people only listen, the need of getting a story out of the data, rather than just a visualisation, is more obvious. Stories can be told in a captivating way on radio, and they can come from data. “So if you are a broadcast journalist in the radio – you have no excuse, dive in by looking at the problem you want to solve first, via the radio (also works for other media), then find and get the data, and tell your story to the world” said Gloria Ogbaki of Ray Power FM

In Nigeria, data journalism is nascent, and opportunities abound. As more new journalists get into the field, thinking of which sector to dive into, there is a need for newsrooms to innovate by, for example, embedding data analysts and Information technology experts with producers of news.

As you can see, most of us never knew what data journalism is, but at the end of this training, we were all excited, and can now go back to incorporate this into our work. We hope this is not a one -time training, we need more of it in our newsrooms” said Okoye Ginka of the News Agency of Nigeria


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Forbes Philippines & BlogWatch win best story award as Data Journalism PH wraps up

Sam Leon - December 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

At the end of November, Open Knowledge, School of Data and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) wrapped-up their six-month data journalism training for media organisations in the Philippines, the first of its kind.

Over 100 journalists and civil servants gathered at the Cocoon Hotel in Quezon City to see the twelve participating media teams present their work and listen to keynotes from The Guardian’s Caelainn Barr, Undersecretary Richard Moya (Open Data Task Force Philippines), Kenneth Abante (Department of Finance) and Rogier Van Den Brink (World Bank) on the interplay between government open data and public integrity journalism.

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Kenneth Abante from the Department of Finance speaking at the wrap-up event of Data Journalism PH 2015

The World Bank funded programme equipped participating newsrooms with the tools and techniques for mining the ever increasing volumes of public data being published by Philippine government departments via their national government data portal, After an initial intensive three-day training in July 2015 the teams received regular remote training sessions on data skills from Open Knowledge and editorial support from PCIJ as they progressed with their proposed data stories. Teams worked on diverse topics from probing who really benefits from the the Philippines’ Bottom Up Budgeting initiative to following where money allocated to the reconstruction effort after Typhoon Yolanda actually went.

Five of the twelve participating teams were able to publish their stories before the event with a number of teams finalising their articles for print publications in the new year. Forbes Philippines and BlogWatch were awarded prizes for best story by PCIJ and Open Knowledge based on the originality of their stories, their approach to data collection and the strength of their narrative. Forbes Philippines collected data from the SEC on independent directors and correlated this with company performance to give a unique view on corporate accountability in the Philippines. BlogWatch persevered with a range of large publicly available datasets on aid and reconstruction. The team also took to social media to crowdsource information that was missing in order to follow the money that was plugged into various projects in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda.

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Winning teams BlogWatch (Jane Uymatiao & Noemi Lardizabal-Dado) and Forbes Philippines (Lala Rimando & Lorenxo Subido) with Sam Leon (Open Knowledge) and Malou Mangahas (PCIJ)

Philippine Star ran an analysis of data published by the Department for Education on how many new schools were being built that would not have access to electricity and water. Business World looked at new trends in investment amongst Filipino citizens and summarised their results in an infographic. Calbayog Post investigated how projects approved under the Bottom Up Budgeting scheme in Samar Province had performed. The Financial Times produced a visual slideshow on the Philippines’ dependence on renewables and the opportunities for hydro power using data published by the Department of Energy. You can read the published stories below with the exception of Forbes Philippines’ which will be published in their January 2016 editions. Other participating teams including Rappler, PCIJ, Interaksyon, ABS-CBN, Bloomberg, Inquirer were not able to publish in time for the deadline, but hope to publish their stories in the coming weeks.

The Philippines has made substantial progress in recent years in government transparency. Launching a national government open data portal in 2014 and setting up an Open Data Task Force within the civil service to catalyse further open data releases across national and local government. The programme demonstrated the promise of open data by enabling participating journalists to shed light on issues of critical national importance to the broader public. It also put into sharp focus areas that needed more work from publishing government departments. Too many critical datasets were incomplete, not maintained actively, contained inconsistencies that made them difficult to analyse and were not available for free.

A selection of the online tutorials, data recipes and training material have been made available for all to use on the project website including guides to using a range of tools such as, CartoDB, and DocumentCloud.

###Data-driven articles produced as part of the programme

Forbes Philippines and BlogWatch were awarded prizes for best story by PCIJ and Open Knowledge based on the originality of their stories, their approach to data collection and the strength of their narrative.

###Testimonials from some of the participant journalists

“The workshop allowed me to be braver in pursuing irregularities and anomalies with the help of data, but also to be careful in making conclusions. It’s a nice intro to data journalism.” – Michael Joseph Bueza, Rappler

“Data Journalism PH 2015 is a workshop every serious journalist should take. More than teaching me practical skills – how to create maps, infographics, and spreadsheets – it made me realize how important it is to use hard facts, as opposed to merely relying on statements, to create a public that is more informed and more critical.” – Patricia Aquino, Interaksyon

“A great program! PCIJ has always set the standard for investigative journalism. Open Knowledge did a great job teaching us data journalism and the different skills it requires. Looking forward to continuing to work with the whole PCIJ team. The reports of the other teams were informative as well. Thumbs up to the whole group.” – Nestor Corrales, Inquirer

“The best journalism program ever that united my writing and analysis skills.” – Rommel Rutor, Calbayog Post

“It was a great chance to know how and why consumers and processors of data (i.e. the journalists) are seeking more from the producers of data (government, private sector). “ – Lala Rimando, Forbes Philippines

“It was a great opportunity to be part of this programme. I’m really interested in improving my technical and editorial skills on data mining and thanks to PCIJ and Open Knowledge, I’ve really learned a lot.” – Kia Obang, BusinessWorld Publishing

“Open data seems like an issue reserved for a select number of people, but it’s a subject that so many people need to be familiar with. Learning more about it through the programme can give you the right tools to turn open data into powerful analysis.” – Kyle Subido, Forbes Philippines

“If you want to learn how to dig into huge data, you gotta take this training. “ – Jose Gerwin Babob, Calbayog Post

“As a reporter covering different beats, including survey results, the training helped me learn new skills that would make me more effective in writing investigative stories by correctly analyzing and interpreting datasets. I really appreciate the efforts of the PCIJ and the Open Knowledge in coming up with such training for journalists like us. This will be a very good addition to our resumes. :-)” – Helen Flores, Philippine Star

“Had a grand time. Learned about the existence of free online tools which could potentially take off about 25% of my previous workload.” – Dan Paurom, Inquirer

“The Data Journalism Philippines 2015 is a timely program for Filipino journalists who are interested in making sense of the huge amount of data that are readily available online. The things that we have learned during the duration of the program equipped us with the necessary skills needed to produce quality data-driven articles for our respective organizations.” – Jan Victor Mateo, Philippine Star

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School of Data is part of the 19 million project!

Camila Salazar - November 2, 2015 in Fellowship, Uncategorized

How can a diverse team of people, with different backgrounds from around the world, work together to find new ways to tell the story of hundreds of thousands of refugees that are migrating to Europe? How can they build new narratives that can help this people make a safer, better journey? How can they articulate possible solutions using technology?

Those are the questions that the 19 million project, and initiative of  Chicas Poderosas and La Coalizione Italiana Liberta e Diritti (CILD), will try to address the next two weeks in Rome.   The project will bring together journalists, programmers, designers and human right activists from different countries to work in teams from November 2 to the 13.


School of Data  fellow from Costa Rica, Camila Salazar, representing School of Data, is present in Rome to try to help with the discussion, bring new ideas and work on specific data projects related to the refugee crisis.  So we invite you to follow the project and involve in this initiative! You can follow the activities and help with fresh ideas on Twitter (@19mmproject) or Facebook.

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Data journalism in the Philippines: changing the open data landscape in the country

Marco Túlio Pires - July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

Transparency, accountability and open data in the Philippines have just become more palpable to citizens and journalists alike. Open Knowledge/School of Data joined forces with the World Bank and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) to launch a five-month training program for 34 journalists from 12 media organisations in the country. The program was kickstarted this morning in a convention in Manila, with strong support of the Philippine government.

The event gathered 87 people from all over the country and discussed the challenges and the potential collaboration efforts between civil society and the government to make the Philippines more transparent and accountable through open data. The panel was lead by Malou Mangahas, executive director of the PCIJ, who reflected on the timing and relevance of the program to the Philippines, because of the coming elections. “We’re facing big changes in leadership in the country and we need to think about the way we do conversations around public policies”, she said. “Data could be the narrative that binds us all”.

The Philippines has made remarkable efforts in recent years to open its data. In 2010 the government made a commitment to characterise itself by transparency and accountability, leading to its participation in the foundation of the Open Government Partnership in 2011 with seven other countries, including Brazil and the United States. Within the country, the most visible impact of that commitment was seen two years later with the creation of the Open Data Philippines and its Open Data Portal in the 2014. “The goal is to have more than 2000 datasets published by the end of this year”, said Usec Bon Moya, who leads the Open Data Task Force. Moya admits the number is still “a drop in the ocean of Philippine data” and welcomed the contribution of journalists and civil society activists to help the government find the data that is relevant to all stakeholders. “We need your input to make our data more consistent and publish more datasets”, he said.

One of the issues acknowledged by the panel is the hard time professionals and citizens have to understand and work with data. A lot of times stakeholders don’t have a clear grasp of how the government works. Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, from the Commission on Audit, said one way to tackle this problem is to engage citizens to work with the government in a participatory process, like the Civil Participatory Audits. “When citizens work together with auditors, they feel stimulated to get to know more the government and its programs”, she said.

“The first step to achieve transparency is to show everybody we have nothing to hide”
Keneth Abante, Department of Finance, Philippines

It goes a long way if the government itself is willing to open its data, regardless of public pressure. Kenneth Abante, from the Department of Finance knows that and showed the audience ways journalists can help the office identify frauds and get smuggles just by analysing the data they publish. “The first step to achieve transparency is to show everybody we have nothing to hide”, he said. “We release every week and month important data that can be mined by journalists and activists.” To have a taste of how to take Mr. Abante’s invitation seriously and actually find stories in data that is already published in the Philippines, Kai Kaiser, senior economist from the World Bank, walked through a mini-data investigation. Using open data about tobacco, Kaiser raised questions about components that are imported to the Philippines and the relationship between the values declared by importing companies and the actual prices in the market. “That’s how you can find holes and corruption in the system”, he said.

Kaiser’s example was picked up by Rogier van den Brink, also from the World Bank, to show how the concept of Open Government can lead to better democracies and better relationships between governments and its citizens. Nevertheless, Mr. Brink reminded the audience that transparency is not enough. “The idea of open data is potentially transformative, but more needs to be done”, he said. “We need to collect and give feedback at all times and we also need to follow up on our initiatives.”

After the conference, the 34 journalists will participate in a 3-day hands on training about data analysis, cleaning, scraping and visualisation. The workshop will be lead by our own Sam Leon, School of Data trainer and data analyst. The training is just the beginning of a 5 month process in which the journalists will have conference calls with Open Knowledge/School of Data to help on their data investigations. Ideally each group of journalists will have produced a data driven investigation by the end of the program using the skills and tools presented during the workshops and mentoring sessions. “We are very excited and looking forward to see which stories are hidden in the Philippine open data landscape”, said Sam.

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Call for applications for Data Journalism Philippines 2015

Sam Leon - May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 08.14.32

The Open Knowledge Foundation in partnership with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism is pleased to announce the launch of Data Journalism Ph 2015. Supported by the World Bank, the program will train journalists and citizen media in producing high-quality, data-driven stories.

In recent years, government and multilateral agencies in the Philippines have published large amounts of data such as the government’s recently launched Open Data platform. These were accompanied by other platforms that track the implementation and expenditure of flagship programs such as Bottom-Up-Budgeting via, Infrastructure via and reconstruction platforms including the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub. The training aims to encourage more journalists to use these and other online resources to produce compelling investigative stories.

Data Journalism Ph 2015 will train journalists on the tools and techniques required to gain and communicate insight from public data, including web scraping, database analysis and interactive visualization. The program will support journalists in using data to back their stories, which will be published by their media organization over a period of five months.

Participating teams will benefit from the following:

  • A 3-day data journalism training workshop by the Open Knowledge Foundation and PCIJ in July 2015 in Manila
  • A series of online tutorials on a variety of topics from digital security to online mapping
  • Technical support in developing interactive visual content to accompany their published stories

##Apply now!

Teams of up to three members working with the same print, TV, or online media agencies in the Philippines are invited to submit an application here.

Participants will be selected on the basis of the data story projects they pitch focused on key datasets including infrastructure, reconstruction, participatory budgeting, procurement and customs. Through Data Journalism Ph 2015 and its trainers, these projects will be developed into data stories to be published by the participants’ media organizations.

Join the launch

Open Knowledge and PCIJ will host a half-day public event for those interested in the program in July in Quezon City. If you would like to receive full details about the event, please sign up here.

To follow the programme as it progresses go to the Data Journalism 2015 Ph project website.

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Brazilian journalists immerse themselves in the world of data

Marco Túlio Pires - May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

A selected groups of Journalists, students of public universities and media professionals in Brazil started a no-return journey into the world of data. Escola de Dados — that’s how we call School of Data in the biggest country in Latin America — has partnered up with Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and Universidade de São Paulo (USP), three major Brazilian public universities, to offer a 30 hours, 5 days, hands-on and super intensive, Introduction to Data Journalism course.

The 100% free and on site training sessions happened in the November and December 2014 and in April 2015. They were possible thanks to the Partnership for Open Data, a program to stimulate open data initiatives in developing countries, funded by The World Bank and coordinated by Open Knowledge and Open Data Institute.

In total, 90 students, independent journalists and professionals from major media outlets from 12 different cities in Brazil were brought together by a tough selection process. More than 500 candidates from all over the country applied to Escola de Dados’ data journalism course.


What is this thing called data journalism?

In the first day students discussed what  data journalism is all about. From building multidisciplinary teams to borrowing skills from other areas (and discussing the business case for data journalism, of course), the lesson showcased many stories and media outlets in the world that are pushing the boundaries of journalism, investigative reporting, data analysis, data visualization and storytelling in new platforms and formats. Students reported on their core skills and their expectations for the course and formed teams to work on data stories during the week.

Here are the resources used in the first day:

Slides – Introduction to Data Journalism

Online & Offline: Where do I find (open) data? Should I clean it? How?

The second day was all about means to get data, online or offline and, once in our hands, how to clean it if needed. Students learned how to tap the powerful features of search engines to find hidden documents, narrow down searches and explore the deep web. They also talked about Brazil’s Freedom of Information Law, which allows anyone to request government data in an open format. In the last part students learned how to use Open Refine, an open source tool with wonderful tools to clean messy data.

Here are the resources used in second day:

Slides – Advanced search

Finding stories in data: asking the right questions in a different type of interview

In the third day students were invited to deepdive in the world of data analysis using a spreadsheet tool, like Open Office’s Calc or Google Sheets. The six-hour session showed the groups how stories can be dug out of datasets and what questions can be asked. Students were introduced to great functions that help journalists understand statistics and data analysis in a friendly way, like the famous “vlookup” which allows two tables with a common column to be joined for further analysis. Steve Doig, renowned data journalist and trainer from the United States, gently provided his “Datamania” table to be part of Escola de Dado’s course.

Here are the resources used in the third day:

Slides – Finding stories in data

Not magic: Scraping data from the web & data visualization

Scraping the web and ways to visualize data were the subjects of the fourth day. In the first part, students learned how to use an array of tools to scrape data from web pages, without the need to write a single line of code. They learned how a web page works inside-out using the webinspector tool present in all modern browsers and saw how tools like Google Sheets, IFTTT and Chrome’s Web Scraper extension can help journalist to extract information from web pages in an automated fashion. The second part of the class was dedicated to introduce concepts of data visualization and design. Students walked through many good and not so great examples of data visualization. They also got to know amazing free tools to visualize data, such as, Timeline.js, Odissey.js, Tableau Public and Datawrapper.

Here are the resources used in the fourth day:

Slides – Datavis

Slides – How web pages are structured

Slides – Webscraping

The power of Geojournalism and how maps can make you a better journalist

The last day introduced students to Geojournalism, which is basically the use of maps and geolocalised data to find relevant stories. Groups learned how to use jeo, a WordPress theme for interactive maps and journalism and cartoDB, a great tool to visualize data on maps on the web without a hassle. In the last part groups presented their data journalism projects, which included a profile of elected representatives in Rio de Janeiro, an analysis of the water shortage that affects São Paulo and a violence map of micro regions in Salvador.

We were fortunate to meet extremely talented photography and journalism students who volunteered themselves to cover the courses with blog posts and pictures throughout the two weeks in both Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. Our reporters collected testimonials from the students and wrote about the overall atmosphere of the sessions, keeping the Portuguese-speaking School of Data community up to date with our activities. We also used social media, such as twitter and Facebook to spread the word about the courses as we went. You can check out our coverage (Brazilian-Portuguese only!) in the links and photo gallery below.

Escola de Dados Blog Posts

Photo Gallery Salvador

Photo Gallery Rio de Janeiro

These courses are part of Escola de Dados broad strategy to foster data literacy in Brazil, with a focus on the journalism community. The experience showed us that there is a demand for data journalism in educational institutions in the country. Escola de Dados will keep pursuing partnerships that strengthen the connection between the academia, students and professionals so that they can build together the platform they need to prepare the next generation of journalists and of journalism itself in Brazil.

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