The Data Institute is a collaboration between The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, ProPublica, and OpenNews. This intensive workshop teaches journalists how to use data, design and code.
The Institute kicked off Friday, July 9, for the first time in an all-virtual format. Unlike in previous years, this year’s event was shortened to a week and open to applicants from around the world.
The live, intensive instruction began Monday, July 12 and continued through Friday, July 16. The Institute was led by Sisi Wei of OpenNews and Lena Groeger of ProPublica. The Ida B. Wells Society funded this year’s event. The Society worked with ProPublica and OpenNews to plan the programming.
The Institute is completely free for the participating students.
With over 300 applications submitted this year, ultimately 12 were chosen for this year’s class. You can read the bios of each student in this year’s class here.
The Institute was launched with an install party hosted by Erika Owens of OpenNews, featuring Wei, Groeger, the Ida B. Wells Society co-founders, ProPublica’s editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg and a number of staff from the Society and ProPublica.
“Oftentimes, when it comes to the types of topics that we’re teaching, the world has all types of preconceptions that they’ve instilled into society about what is hard,” said Wei to the class Monday morning. “I just want to take a moment to reset those expectations for all of us.”
On Friday, the Data Institute students were able to share more about what the knowledge that they had gained during their week. Many of the students shared not only what they learned about data and coding but also what they learned about themselves.
“This week has been such a privilege,” wrote Genevieve Finn, a 2021 Data Institute student. “I’ve gotten to make so many new friends and connections, unlocked so many new skills and become 10 times more confident in myself and my capabilities. I feel like I’ve been gifted a vision (and also real-life examples! Ellis was a Data Institute student and now he’s a professor – amazing!) of the type of journalist I could grow into and all the possibilities that come with that, and then gifted the tools to do it.”
You can check out some of the tweets about this year’s Data Institute here. Despite the Data Institute’s shorter timeline and virtual platform this year, it was rewarding to see how engaged the students were with the instructors, guest speakers and one another.
“The Data Institute closes the gaps between minorities and puts all journalists, no matter where they come from, on equal ground,” shared Victor Emanuelle, a 2021 Data Institute student. “This is an essential program that truly believes in representation. The tools given will help us tell better stories and represent our communities. Truly in the spirit of Ida B. Wells.”