Miami conference to explore intersection of data journalism and digital humanities

Image: Google Earth.

Alberto Cairo is Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami School of Communication.

In 2012 Dan Cohen, founding executive director of the Digital Public Library of America, wrote: “I’ve increasingly felt that digital journalism and digital humanities are kindred spirits.”

Inspired by this, the University of Miami is launching the first Digital Humanities and Data Journalism (DH+DJ) Symposium. It will take place at the university’s Newman Alumni Center between Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 and is being sponsored by Knight Foundation, and the University of Miami’s School of Communication, Center for Computational Science, Richter Library and College of Arts and Sciences.

Knight Chair Alberto Cairo, author and conference organizer.

The DH+DJ symposium will bring together two communities that share similar interests, face similar challenges, and use largely the same software tools and programming languages to interrogate data. It will be a relatively small gathering with an attendance limit of 150, and will consist of a series of talks, roundtables and workshops on topics that are important to both areas and to their intersection, such as big data management and analytics, effective communication, data visualization and infographics, mapping, etc.

The talks and workshops will be delivered by prominent names from both disciplines: Dan Cohen himself, as well as ProPublica’s Scott Klein, FiveThirtyEight’s Allison McCann, Mashable’s Haile Owusu, Georgia Tech’s Lauren Klein, Stanford University’s Geoff McGhee, University of Miami’s Paige Morgan, Carnegie Mellon’s Scott Weingart, Northwestern University Knight Lab’s Joe Germuska, and many others. Please refer to the website for a complete listing of talks and workshops.

The speakers will blend the theoretical with the practical. Northeastern University’s Ben Schmidt, for example, will discuss the technology and assumptions behind projects such as “Gendered Language in Teaching Evaluations”; Liliana Bounegru and Jonathan Gray will explain how data journalists and digital humanists can work together; Lynn Cherny will present strategies for text analysis that are useful for journalists and humanists; and Francis Tseng will focus on what lies ahead for both communities, discussing artificial intelligence and Big Data.

In addition to the structured events, attendants will have ample opportunity to network and engage in discussions during coffee breaks, working lunches, receptions and dinners. The main goal of this experimental gathering is to prompt these conversations. We expect them to be a major highlight of the event, and we aim to create this opportunity on an annual basis.

To sign up for the first Annual DH+DJ Symposium, follow this link.

Please note, we have reserved 25 tickets for students, at a discounted rate of $250. Others can apply for a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews travel scholarship, which might cover part of your travel costs.

Contact Alberto Cairo via [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @albertocairo.