Giannina Segnini is the James Madison Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the Director of the Master of Science Data Concentration Program. Prior to her academic career, Giannina worked as the editor of the investigative unit at La Nacion in Costa Rica. She has been involved in dozens of noteworthy investigative projects over the years, from building the offshore leaks database to assisting with shipping and trade data in the Panama Papers. Her work has garnered a long list of accolades...

Manny Garcia is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who is now the editor of the Naples Daily News. He previously served as the Executive Editor of El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister paper of the Miami Herald. In his many years of reporting, he has uncovered absentee ballot fraud in Miami, collaborated with the Toronto Star to expose Canadian pedophiles in Cuba, and covered stories spanning Latin America and the Caribbean. We caught up with Manny over the phone on a busy news day (Mike Pence was announced as Trump’s VP...

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein currently lectures on journalism at Columbia College and was previously the database and investigative editor at Hoy, the Chicago Tribune’s Spanish-language newspaper. He spent part of 2012 in Santiago, Chile where he taught as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Diego Portales. His numerous projects include investigating nursing home inequality with the Center for Public Integrity, examining the enduring rifts in Chilean society 40 years after the Pinochet coup, as well as actively blogging for the Huffington Post. In your own words what is data journalism? For me...

This summer, we've started a new research project. The goal? To find out more about data journalism, and what, if anything, might make journalism-related data projects easier. Our core question: are there any common data bottlenecks that data journalists encounter that Flex.io can help eliminate or reduce? Why data journalism? Flex.io is all about making data projects more efficient. Most of our previous experience has been working hand-in-hand with business and IT folks trying to get data projects done. Across the board, we've found that the hang-ups and inefficiencies with this work are far...

If you haven’t already heard of Chi Hack Night, you probably should. Originally known as Open Gov Hack Night, this weekly gathering of open data aficionados, data scientists and civic technology mavens is a fixture in the Chicago data ecosystem. The community shares a common mission “to build, share and learn about tools to create, support, and serve the public good.” When it started in 2012, the first meeting was an intimate affair attended by four people. Fast forward four years and renamed Chi Hack Night, the weekly event hosted by Derek...

One of the most important promises of open data from government agencies is the potential for greater transparency. As Jeni Tennison, technical director of the Open Data Institute, puts it: Publishing open data is one way of being more transparent about what you're doing. More transparency can help with being more accountable for your decisions [and] help engender trust. Trust and transparency are central to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). Among U.S. Federal agencies, it certainly has attracted a large share of controversy since starting out as the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator...

Governments have made a lot of data available in the last few years. In the U.S. alone, Data.gov hosts over 140,000 data sets, and many other cities and states have launched open data initiatives as well. However, a critical problem often arises when people actually try to find the specific data relevant to their needs. Governments often don't tell people where to get the data. It doesn't matter how useful data sets are if you can’t find them. Everything from the simplest to the most sophisticated data project can be crippled by an...

Data is big these days. And in more than just one sense of the word. Massive amounts of data are being collected through the expansion of technology, like mobile phones, social media, and the Internet of Things (IoT)--all as the field of data science surges in popularity. Being a data scientist was even crowned “the sexiest job of the 21st century”, adding it to the list of recently popularized professions that were once considered nerd territory and grounds for having your lunch stolen in grade school. And while big data is now...

I had a chance to attend an excellent meetup of the Chicago City Data User Group last week, which focused on Chicago's contribution to the Code for America Summit: The Code for America Summit is THE annual convening for civic technology. This year’s summit (which took place in San Francisco in September) saw 800 government, tech, and civic engagement leaders from dozens of cities to talk about ways to make their cities work better. Civic-minded technologists, designers, community organizers, and entrepreneurs heard best practices, discussed emerging ideas, and showcased the latest tools...