From February 21st until the 26th, twenty students took part in the first MediaNumeric training course on data-driven journalism, creative storytelling and fact-checking. It was a jam-packed week full of insightful lectures, inspiring network events, case study work, a unique and very special study visit, and of course lots of fun getting to know one another. Take a look back with us on our week in Paris.
Johan Oomen (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) and Kuba Piwowar (SWPS University), on behalf of the MediaNumeric team, kicked-off day 1 by congratulating the students on their selection into the programme and welcoming them to the exciting week ahead. We then dove straight into the first lectures and workshops with a focus on strategies of data search and data literacy. Additionally the students also had their first case study workshop, looking at the plan for the week where they will work in teams to develop a pitch for a data-driven story about the migration crisis in Europe. In the evening we headed to a creative loft in the centre of Paris where the students had time to get to know one another in a more casual setting. Adriana Dergam from the Central European Digital Media Observatory (CEDMO) also joined us, as the guest speaker of the evening, inspiring us all by sharing her thoughts on the meanings of, and trust in, (dis)information and data journalism.
Day 2’s lectures and workshops focused on tools & databases: basic principles and choice of apps, the panorama of multimedia storytelling and the contributions of data, and the main stages of a data project: from data exploration to storytelling. The students were also given advice by Susannah Montgomery (Inholland University of Applied Sciences) on the importance of narrowing down their datasets for the group case study work.
Projects like MediaNumeric are very useful because they bring people together from different countries who share common knowledge. We all speak the same language in a certain way.– Dario Compagno, Associate Professor at Paris Nanterre University & MediaNumeric instructor of the workshop “The Main Stages of a Data Project, from Data Exploration to Storytelling”
On day 3 we covered the different techniques for designing a data storytelling project and the incredibly essential topic, especially in our current political climate, of media ethics. After completing their first quiz, the students and the MediaNumeric team headed back to the creative loft from day 1 for another networking event. This time with talks on the role that archives play in providing proof for journalists with guest speaker Antoine Bayet, the Editorial Director of INA.
Day 4 was a harrowing day as the students and the team found out about Russia’s overnight invasion of the Ukraine. Intimately aligned with events happening in real time, students learned about confronting the misinformation universe and visited the Paris headquarters of Agence France-Presse (AFP). It was an incredibly relevant day to shed light on the misinformation universe and see the fact-checkers and graphics teams at AFP in action on a day such as this. While we were all in shock and deeply saddened by the events unfolding we couldn’t have been more grateful that AFP still took the time to show the MediaNumeric journalists of the future what working in the field is truly about. We ended the day with some down time at a local bar for group drinks and unpacking the experience of being at AFP.
In many countries and cities there’s a push for a more democratic access to data. You need specialists who can take massive datasets and make them into something that people can understand. The MediaNumeric students are our future journalists who can hopefully fill the gap between the increasing amount of data and the specialist skills required.– Marion Dautry, Digital verification journalist at AFP & MediaNumeric instructor of the lecture “Confronting the Misinformation Universe”
On day 5 the lectures revolved around the social impact of journalism and media transitions and debunking dis/misinformation and digital manipulation. The students also took their last quiz and worked fervently into the evening, making the final preparations for their group case study pitches to be given the next day.
On the last day of the programme the four groups pitched their data-driven story about the migration crisis in Europe, each coming with a different angle and different kind of data visualisation approach. Each group was required to present their story pitch in a maximum of seven minutes, and were then asked questions about their approach, their data, their story story angles and visualisations by their student peers and a panel of experts from the MediaNumeric team. After an intense and packed week, it was an exciting and special moment to then inform the students that they had all passed the course and were awarded their hard-earned certificates for 5 ECTS!