Knight Center
Knight Center


Meet the 5 instructors from the Knight Center’s new MOOC, "Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics"

Watch below two videos with a brief description of the course and an introduction to the instructors.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has brought together a team of experts in data journalism to teach its new MOOC, "Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics." The five instructors are renowned leaders in their field and currently work producing data-based projects for publications like The New York TImes, the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica. Click here to register.

The five-week course, from Aug. 12 to Sep. 16, will have a different instructor leading the class each week. The instructors and the topics they will cover are:

Amy Schmitz Weiss

Week 1: Amy Schmitz Weiss, San Diego State University – Intro to Data Journalism. Schmitz Weiss is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. Schmitz Weiss has a PhD in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches journalism courses in basic writing and editing, multimedia, web design, data journalism, and mobile journalism. She is the 2011-2012 Recipient of the AEJMC Bridge Grant with funding from the John S. and James Knight Foundation that led to the creation of a mobile news app, AzteCast. She has also played an essential role in the coordination of the Knight Center's Distance Learning program since 2003.

Lise Olsen

Week 2: Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle – Where to Find Data and the Stories. Olsen is a senior investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle who specializes in human rights, immigration, criminal justice and public corruption. A specialist in data journalism, Olsen graduated from National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting's (NICAR) first advanced computer-assisted reporting workshop nearly 20 years ago. She has trained journalists on data journalism and investigative reporting techniques in more than a dozen countries on behalf of organizations like the Knight Center and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Derek Willis

Week 3: Derek Willis, The New York Times – How to Interview the Data. Willis is an interactive developer with The New York Times, working mainly on political and election-related applications. He maintains The Times’ congressional and campaign finance data and contributes to other projects. He co-founded OpenElections, a Knight Foundation-grantee working to provide a comprehensive set of election results data from all 50 states. Willis has worked as a reporter and database editor at The Washington Post, The Center for Public Integrity, Congressional Quarterly and The Palm Beach Post.

Jeremy Bowers

Week 4: Jeremy Bowers, National Public Radio – How to Bring Data to Life, Part 1. Bowers is a news applications developer for NPR. Previously, he was a senior newsroom developer at the Washington Post and a news technologist at the St. Petersburg Times where he worked on the Pulitzer prize-winning PolitiFact. Bowers has presented at Journalism/Interactive 2013, the National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting conference in 2013 and 2012, the Online News Association conference in 2011 and at the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in 2010.

Sisi Wei

Week 5: Sisi Wei, ProPublica – How to Bring Data to Life, Part 2. Wei is news applications developer at ProPublica, where she builds interactive stories that serve the public interest. Previously, she was a Graphics Editor at the Washington Post. She is also the co-founder of Code with me, a high-impact workshop focused on teaching journalists how to code. Wei graduated from Northwestern University with majors in journalism, philosophy and legal studies.

In the first week, Schmitz Weiss will cover the background, history and overall components of data journalism. Olsen will discuss how to find data, with a focus on filing public record requests, accessing corporate data and where journalists can access information in their countries. Willis will teach the crucial questions you need to “ask” data as a source and how to identify interesting information.

In the last two weeks, Bowers will cover the basics of how to structure data into a web app while Wei will explain how to visualize information and have it communicate something.

Although the course is meant as an introduction class, the instructors will also share extra materials for participants interested in more advanced information.

This is the first time the Knight Center invites a team of instructors to teach a massive course, offering students a unique chance to interact and learn from top practitioners in journalism in the same class. Like all the Knight Center’s previous MOOCs, the course will be open to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. Click here to find out more about the course.

Watch the following videos with a brief introduction to the course and more information on the instructors.


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