Data Day: Journalism school hosts annual workshop

Posted on Nov 15 2016 - 8:01am by Hannah Simmons

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media will host its annual Data Day, designed to introduce students to professional experts in journalism technology, at the Overby Center today.

The event’s speakers include media researcher Jessica Mahone, a business director, Google News lab trainer Mike Reilley and Precision Strategies Senior Associate David Hudson.

Speakers will lecture on the use of content analysis in the digital age, Google My News and digital media use in business. Students will learn to scrape data, use Google Fusion and tools to promote clients’ products to their target consumers. Each speaker will present for around an hour. Five journalism school faculty members will provide instruction, three of which will present on data-based research. 

Scott Fiene, program director and assistant professor in the integrated marketing communications program, developed the program last year. This year, journalism professor Jennifer Sadler helped organize the event.

“We will take a brief 15-20 minutes to talk about our research, which is pulling social media feeds of major news organizations in the three months leading up to the election to look at bias and other factors that contribute to how/what news share on social media,” Sadler said.

Sadler and journalism instructor Ji Hoon Heo will introduce students to Tableau to help them visualize the data sets, which can streamline tables of complex information.

“I hope students will become more excited about data journalism and more aware of the tools to extract, analyze and visualize,” Heo said.

Naeemul Hassan, an Ole Miss computer science professor, will also contribute. Hassan specializes in data and has received numerous awards for his research. He has researched data fact-checking and computational journalism.

“The IMC program is fairly new at Ole Miss, and Data Day is our way of giving students a glimpse of the fields they may be able to go into after graduation,” Sadler said. “It also serves as a platform for connecting students to professionals and gives them on-site training with relevant, timely tools.”

This year, students will get a chance to participate in training sessions at the end of the program, giving students a chance to get hands-on experience with tools the speakers use on a day-to-day basis.

“It will give our students the opportunity to not only hear and learn from speakers but also give them a chance to ask questions in a smaller session,” Sadler said.

Senior broadcast journalism major Avery Gore is attending Data Day for the first time this year.

Gore said she is excited to learn about utilizing data in her writing the importance of how it will impact the professional world.

“I hear that the speakers are speakers coming from Google, the Pew Research Center and The White House, and what better place to learn about data than those institutions?” Gore asked.