LECI3 – Introduction to Big Data & Data Journalism


Download Les Miserables (Les Miserables.gexf ).

Background reading on how to interpret network visualizations:


16, 17, 18, 23 September

What is Data? What is Big Data? How is data changing the world? What are the hopes and fears raised by Big Data? What is data journalism? What is data visualization?

This course is meant as a general introduction to big data and a growing field of specialization in journalism. Today’s data journalism is widely practiced as a collaboration effort between professionals with complementary skills in reporting, coding and design. In this context, this introduction aims to…

  • describe and explain what the big data revolution is as well as the hopes and concerns that it raises
  • sensitize course participants to the importance of developing their data skills;
  • highlight examples of the wide variety of possible uses of openly available online data;
  • develop critical thinking and skills to find, verify, analyze and use data in journalism and communication products/projects.
  • 4 hours
    • The size of the internet, the Internet of things & the data tsunami
    • The size of the web, the invisible web & the darknet
    • The 4 Vs of Big Data and the skills needed to thrive in the information society
    • What is data? Compared with information and knowledge?
    • How data helps to create knowledge / to reveal invisible worlds
    • Big Data helping to build a ‘global brain’, adding a nervous system to the planet
    • Digitizing our genomes & the quantified self movement
  • 4 hours
    • Big Data
      • Mapping the cost of justice (million-dollar blocks)
      • Use by police forces (Marseilles & USA)
      • Facial recognition & privacy issues
    • Searching for data/info
      • How does a search engine work
      • Google’s secret recipe
      • How to ask the right questions (‘queries’) to a machine
        • Choosing the right keywords
        • Using boolean operators ’’ ’’ OR
        • Narrowing down queries with filetype: site: link: intitle:
      • Choosing & using a proper search strategy:methodology
  • 2 hours
    • How to find data
      • With a search engine
      • With a specialized database
      • With a directory of databases
    • Visualizing data

Background videos (documentaries, stories, tutorials):

Test 1 (homework)

Test 2 (written test to be completed on 26 October 2018)