I’ve just got back from the third European Data and Computational Journalism Conference in Malaga, Spain, and thought I’d share a few thoughts about the event.
This is the third time the I’ve helped organise this conference, along with my co-chairs Martin Chorley (Cardiff University) and Bahareh Heravi (University College Dublin), and the first one I’ve done since moving to City, University of London.
More than 100 people took part in the two days, with participants coming from 14 countries. There was a lively mix of academic presentations, industry talks and practical workshops across the event. The days were split at the University of Malaga’s grand Rectory Building on the first day and then the campus just outside of town on the second.
That’s because of a joke by the wonderful Mar Cabra, the closing keynote from the second conference in Cardiff. She was taking a sabbatical after the Panama Papers and suggested we should all join her in Malaga in 2019 - the joke turned into reality due to the hard work of the wonderful University of Malaga team led by Bella Palomo with the support of her colleagues and students. Spanish hospitality was the order of the day, and to say that the attendees were looked after magnificently is an understatement.
But the point of the conference was much more than the beautiful surroundings, excellent food and a chance to catch up with colleagues old and new.
It’s all about making sure journalists, academics, start-ups and early-career researchers and students can network with people from across the continent.
Getting outside of the UK/US traditions
It has been quite revelation getting outside the traditions of the UK and US media organisations - although we had great presentations from people who represent both.
One of the sessions on day two was specifically focussed on data journalism in the Iberian peninsula, which was a real masterclass in how data and computational techniques can be used locally.
And this has always been one of the interesting highlights for me - how people solve problems in their backyard, really getting to grips with issues that affect the community.
As well as our keynotes Daniele Grasso from El Pais and Meredith Broussard from New York University, our roster featured representatives from:
- Al Jazeera
- BBC World Service
- University of Bergen
- University of Malaga
- University of Girona
- University of Santiago de Compostela
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- University of Salamanca
- University Rey Jun Carlos
- The UK’s Office for National Statistics
- LMU Munich
- Google News Intiative - who kindly supported the event
- El Confidencial
- University of Beira Interior / Labcom.IFP
- The Times and Sunday Times (UK)
- Sky News
- BBC Shared Data Unit
- NZZ Switzerland
- Newtral - who aslo kindly sponsored the event
- University of Missouri
In short, a pretty impressive line-up of people sharing ideas and thoughts about journalism, working with data and engaging with our communities - both inside and outside the newsroom.
The conference is peripatetic - so we move around. Year one was Dublin, year two Cardiff. If you are interested in hosting the conference next year then get in touch.
And just in case you are wondering if it was worth coming along next time, or supporting the conference in any way then watch the video made by the Jon Sendano. The event is always interesting and entertaining - and worth coming along to, by submitting a proposal for a talk or just coming to listen.
All that’s left to say is a huge muchas gracias to my co-chairs, the local organising committee (who were absolutely amazing and put in loads of hard work), and the attendees for making this even such a great success.
Oh, and go visit Malaga if you haven’t already - it’s beautiful.