Diving into Data: The School of Data Journalism at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia

In the past investigative reporters would suffer from a scarcity of information relating to questions they were trying to answer. While this is still the case, today journalists are also faced with an overwhelming abundance of data. In an age of information overload, to stay relevant to society journalists need to learn to separate signal from noise in order to provide valuable insights. Journalists need to be equipped with knowledge of the tools, techniques and tactics of working with data in order to derive maximum value from for their readers.

What is the School of Data Journalism and who is it for?

The School consists of three panel discussions and five workshops.

The panels attempt to provide answers to crucial questions for aspiring data journalists, editors and decision-makers in newsrooms: What can aspiring data journalists learn from the successes of the past?How can data journalism save your newsroom? How do you start a data journalism operation? How can you become a data journalist and what do you need to do?

In the workshops journalists who are interested to get started with reporting with data and budding data journalists will learn from experienced data journalists and open data experts essential skills related to how to get the data you need, how to analyse it, how to get stories from data and how to present your stories.

Workshop 1: Scraping data & cracking PDFs

Hands up who knows what machine-readable data is? You will soon, and more importantly, how to get it and what you can do with it once you have it!

A workshop targeted at scraping from scratch, including:

What PDFs and webpages look like to your computer – An introduction to machine-readable & non-machine readable data.

The Scraper Cookbook – an overview of the key things you need to know to write a scraper.

Hands on session – learning to screen-scrape. Main focus: hands on session using tools such as ScraperWiki. If sufficient interest & time, we will also touch on some of the tools & skills needed to extract data from PDFs.

Error checking – how to check what you have makes sense, spotting the types of errors sometimes introduced if you don’t get it quite right!

Workshop facilitators: Liliana Bounegru and Lucy Chambers

Organised in association with the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation.

How to register? Workshops are free entry but registration is required. Each workshop will have a limited number of participants. To participate in this workshop please register via this form. The deadline for workshop registration is 20 March 2012. You will be notified by email by 25 March at the latest if we are able to confirm your participation in this workshop. Please note that not all applications to participate in this workshop will be accepted. The workshops are entry-level. Consideration will be given to your experience, skills and motivation to participate in the workshop when making the selection.

What do you need to bring? A lot of enthusiasm and a laptop are required for the workshops. Please note tablet PCs will not be appropriate.

Questions? If you have questions about this workshop please write to the coordinators: Liliana Bounegru or Lucy Chambers.