Data Immersion Boot Camp 2018

Data boot camp is a one-week immersion into how to use data for research, reporting, and expressing stories to readers. Students will learn how to request data from government agencies; how to process and clean the data using software tools; how to interrogate data to find stories hidden in the numbers; and finally visualize the data with charts and graphics to help readers understand the quantitative information that is concomitant with nearly every story.

The boot camp is broken into four weeks, one for each J200. The examples used by instructors will be catered to that J200’s area of coverage.

  • October 8-12 - Oakland North (Platoni/Rate)
  • October 15-19 - Richmond Confidential (Anand/Koci)
  • October 22-26 - Health and Environment (Conis/Grant)
  • October 29 - Nov. 2 - Tech boom (Chavez/Cediel)

NOTE: during your week, you will NOT be attending your J200/J282 classes. However, you WILL still attend Monday evening’s First Year Forum. This boot camp will be taught by several instructors. We’ve included their bios in this document. In addition, students will work on data-intensive projects on their own.

This is a required course, and you must attend every session. Please bring your laptop as there are many in-class exercises.

Grading

Please provide feedback on each session. You will be graded on attendance of all sessions.

Weekly Schedule

Monday

Oct. 8 (Oakland)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 15 (Richmond)
Library
Oct. 22 (Health)
Upper newsroom
Oct. 29 (Boom)
Lower newsroom
Introduction to Data Journalism
Jeremy Rue
This is an overview of the week. We will be discussing some basics about reporting and writing with data. This session will follow the reading: Numbers in the Newsroom.
Social Media Verification
Félim McMahon on Oct. 8, 15, 29 / Christiaan Triebert on Oct. 22
Félim from the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center, and Christiaan from Bellingcat, will talk about how to do forensic analysis on social media content. This allows journalists to verify information obtained YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Feedback [Link].
Power point from the lesson [Link].
Additional Readings: Verification Handbook
Lunch break
Introduction to Spreadsheets Part I
Peter Aldhous
This is an introduction to spreadsheets and how to organize and process data. The instructor will go over three processes: sorting, filtering, and summarizing using spreadsheet features like pivot tables. Students will use data that is specific to each J200 class.
Break
Introduction to Spreadsheets Part II
Peter Aldhous
In part 2, the instructor will continue the lesson on spreadsheet features.
Feedback: [link for both sessions].
Additional Readings: Lesson on Peter's Website
**Dinner in Court Yard for First Year Forum
Students attend the usual First Year Forum class with Mark Danner.

Tuesday

Oct. 9 (Oakland)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 16 (Richmond)
Library
Oct. 23 (Health)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 30 (Boom)
Lower newsroom
Public Records — Police, Criminal and Courts
Tom Peele
This lesson is on police, criminal and court records. Part of this lesson will cover how to triangulate key identifiers to ensure you have the right person; will also talk about journalistic gaffs of misidentification.
Break
Public Records — Business and Campaign Finance
Tom Peele
A lesson on requesting and interpreting local business and campaign finance records.
Lunch break
Public Records — Real Estate and Inspection Records
Tom Peele
Real estate records followed by regulatory records like OSHA and other various inspection records. Provide feedback on any/all of today's sessions.

Wednesday

Oct. 10 (Oakland)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 17 (Richmond)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 24 (Health)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 31 (Boom)
Lower newsroom
Making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
Megan Graham
Students will learn from UC Berkeley Law school lawyer Megan Graham about the techniques for making effective Freedom of Information Act requests to government agencies in order to get information. The lesson will include tips on how to deal with appeals, and litigation that might result.
The power point presentation given in class.
Form to provide feedback.
Break
Researching Data from the Bloomberg Terminal
Jason Folkmanis
This lesson will cover how to use the Bloomberg Terminal in the Lower Newsroom to get information that is useful to journalists.
The power point presentation given in class.
Form to provide feedback.
Lunch break
Cleaning Data with Open Refine
Jeremy Rue
Students will learn how to use Open Refine to clean messy datasets, using a number of tools that become an essential part of every journalist’s toolkit when working with data and information.
Download files here for in-class exercise.
Provide feedback.

Thursday

Oct. 11 (Oakland)
Lower newsroom
Oct. 18 (Richmond)
Library
Oct. 25 (Health)
Upper newsroom
Nov. 1 (Boom)
Lower newsroom
Design and Data Visualization Part I
Casey Miller (Oct. 11, 18) and Lena Groeger (Oct. 25, Nov. 1)
This session will cover design principles that apply to graphics, charts, and how to make basic data visualizations.
Break
Design and Data Visualization Part II
Casey Miller (Oct. 11, 18) and Lena Groeger (Oct. 25, Nov. 1)
This session will cover hands-on exercises on constructing visualizations from data using tools like DataWrapper. Provide feedback (for both sessions).
Lunch break
Oct. 11 (Oakland) Move to Upper Newsroom
Oct. 18 (Richmond) Move to Upper Newsroom
Introduction to Mapping Data
Amanda Hickman
Students will learn how to use various mapping tools to displaying the geographic qualities of data and information.
Materials for this lesson
Provide feedback.

Friday

Oct. 12 (Oakland)
Upper newsroom
Oct. 19 (Richmond)
Upper newsroom
Oct. 26 (Health)
Upper newsroom
Nov. 2 (Boom)
Upper newsroom
Getting started with 990s, Business Data, and SEC data
Miguel Barbosa
Students will learn how to get data from non-profits, understand 990 forms, and information from publicly traded companies. Provide feedback.
Break
Digital Security
Freddy Martinez
This session will cover how student journalists can improve their security posture, conduct threat modeling on situation they might encounter, and take steps to compartment their information. Provide feedback.
Lunch break
Introduction to Statistics
D-Lab
An introduction to statistical qualities of stories; avoid gaffes that are common in jouranlistic stories that deal with data, and interpret studies and other information that is generated both by academia and governmental entities.

Week at a glance

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Public Records
Criminal/Courts (PEELE)
9:00 - 10:30
FOIA
(GRAHAM)
9:00-10:30
Charts Part I
(MILLER/GROEGER)
9:00-10:30
990s, SEC, Business
(BARBOSA)
9:00 - 10:30
Introduction
10:00 - 10:30
Social Media
Verification
(FELIM)
10:30 - 12:00
Break Break Break Break
Biz/Property
Campaign Finance
(PEELE)
10:45 - 12:15
Bloomberg
Terminal
(FOLKMANIS)
10:45 - 12:15
Charts Part II
(MILLER/GROEGER)
10:40 - 12:00
Digital Security
(MARTINEZ)
10:30 - 12:00
Lunch Break
12:00-1:30
Lunch Break
12:15-1:30
Lunch Break
12:15-1:30
Lunch Break
12:00-1:30
Lunch Break
12:00-1:30
Intro to spreadsheets
(ALDHOUS)
1:30 - 3:00
Real Estate and Inspection Records
(PEELE)
1:30-3:00
Cleaning data
(JRUE)
1:30-3:00
Intro to Mapping
(HICKMAN)
1:30-3:00
Statistics
(D-LAB)
1:30-3:00
Break
Spreadsheets Part II
(ALDHOUS)
3:15-4:30
Danner: First Year Forum
4:30-5:15

Instructor Profiles

  • Peter Aldhous

    Peter Aldhous

    is a reporter on the science desk at BuzzFeed News. He also teaches investigative and policy reporting and data visualization in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and data visualization and data journalism in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Peter started in journalism in 1989 as a reporter for Nature in London, fresh from a PhD in animal behavior. Later he worked as European correspondent for Science, as news editor for New Scientist and chief news and features editor with Nature, before moving to California in 2005 to become New Scientist’s San Francisco bureau chief.
  • Miguel Barbosa

    Miguel Barbosa

    the co-founder of CitizenAudit.org, the nation's only freely available full-text searchable database of full digitized nonprofit financials, with text extracted from PDFs through optical character recognition. He is a junior full stack web developer and a chartered financial analyst with a background in the behavioral sciences. His passion lies in building useful software that helps individuals make better decisions. Before working as a developer he worked as an equity analyst at a hedge fund in Chicago, and was responsible for analyzing and sourcing global investment ideas.
  • Jason Folkmanis

    Jason Folkmanis

    is a former Bloomberg News reporter and bureau chief. He grew up in Berkeley and received a bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He then embarked on a career that included stints at the Greenville (South Carolina) News and the Bay Area News Group before he headed overseas in 1995. During nearly two decades abroad, Jason worked for Bloomberg News in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and in Johannesburg, where he served as bureau chief. He now lives in Berkeley, and has taught two classes in Business Reporting for Cal’s Summer Journalism minor program.
  • Megan Graham

    Megan Graham

    is a clinical teaching fellow at the UC Berkeley School of Law. Before joining the Clinic, Megan served as a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Katherine Menendez in the District of Minnesota and as a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Human Rights Center. Megan was previously the Privacy, Security, and Technology Fellow and Assistant Managing Editor at Just Security, where her research focused on pressing issues in privacy, technology, and civil liberties and human rights law, including law enforcement hacking, encryption, and government surveillance. Megan graduated from NYU School of Law, received a BSFS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has an MA in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from Queen’s University Belfast.
  • Lena Groeger

    Lena Groeger

    is an investigative journalist and developer at ProPublica, where she makes interactive graphics and writes about design’s real-world consequences. She is on the board of the Society for News Design and has taught classes on design and data visualization at NYU, The New School and CUNY. Before joining ProPublica in 2011, Groeger covered health and science at Scientific American and Wired magazine.
  • Amanda Hickman

    Amanda Hickman

    is director of product at Factful, a lecturer at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and author of the thread emoji. She is formerly the director of Buzzfeed Open Lab, where she a fellowship program for artists and programmers inside of BuzzFeed News. She has been a visiting lecturer at City University New York teaching data-driven interactive courses.
  • Maura Lievano

    Maura Lievano

    is a PhD student in Public Policy and Biostatistics at UC Berkeley focusing on quantitative criminology. Her qualifying paper Shedding Light on the Black Box: Machine Learning Applications to Criminal Justice Policy explores how statistical learning methods can be used to improve the life of individuals involved with the criminal justice system.
  • Freddy Martinez

    Freddy Martinez

    is an activist, security engineer, and was previously a physicist. A former Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow, he worked on democratizing access to public records requests with a focus on police accountability and transparency. He is the Director of the Lucy Parsons Labs, a police accountability non-profit. A long-time Chicagoan, his focus for the future includes issues around cell phone privacy, working with marginalized communities and the intersection of digital rights and activism.
  • Felim McMahon

    Félim McMahon

    is the Technology and Human Rights Program Director at the Human Rights Center and Director of its Human Rights Investigations Lab. McMahon was part of a small team that established Storyful, the world’s first social media news agency. Pioneering new methods for using and authenticating citizen-generated content and other information shared online. In just four years, he helped build Storyful from a $100,000 organization to a $20 million company, sourcing news for outlets such as Reuters to ABC, BBC, Al Jazeera English, and France24. After Storyful’s purchase in 2014, McMahon joined the International Criminal Court as an investigator.
  • Casey Miller

    Casey Miller

    Casey is a data visualization specialist on the The Narratives Desk at Mapbox based in San Francisco. Before Mapbox, Casey was an engineer at Vox Media in New York where she worked with various editorial teams to tell one-of-a-kind stories across a variety of platforms. Previous to Vox, she worked with teams at the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Tom Peele

    Thomas Peele

    is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter on the Bay Area News Group's regional team. He has worked at newspapers, including Newsday, for 34 years in California and elsewhere. Peele focuses on government accountability, public records and data, often speaking about transparency laws publicly. In addition to a 2017 Pulitzer, his more than 60 journalism awards include Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Tom Renner Award for organized-crime reporting and the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. Peele's also the author of the book "Killing the Messenger," on the murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey.
  • Jeremy Rue

    Jeremy Rue

    is the Assistant Dean for Academics, and continuing lecturer of New Media at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He is an Emmy-nominated multimedia producer, and co-author of Principles of Multimedia Journalism, a book published under Routledge Taylor and Francis about how media forms are packaged on the web into cohesive narratives.
  • Christiaan Triebert

    Christiaan Triebert

    an investigative journalist focused on conflict, security, and development. He is a member of Bellingcat and Airwars, and provides worldwide training in news verification and open source investigation. His works have appeared in a number of outlets, including The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Daily Beast, and Foreign Policy. In 2017, his work was awarded with the European Press Prize Innovation Award.