Thirty-three students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications recently attended NICAR, an annual data journalism conference hosted by the Investigative Reporters and Editors. This year’s conference was in Nashville from March 1-5.
The students were thrilled for the opportunity to learn from some of the top data journalists in the country. During the conference, the students attended a variety of sessions on topics ranging from using Google Sheets to report local news to using machine learning in statewide investigations. They heard from journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC and CBS News, BBC, Associated Press, and dozens of others. The conference provided an unparalleled opportunity for the students to network with and learn from some of the most accomplished data journalists in the industry.
"I didn’t expect how welcoming the speakers and fellow attendees would be and was surprised by the amount of opportunities to work in a hands-on learning environment," said senior journalism and political science major Lauren Penington. "I got to go through code diaries for the data behind stories, learn the coding techniques used and apply them. I didn’t just take away knowledge of what others were doing in the industry or abstract ideas of what I could do in my own stories, but specific, applicable skills that I know will be useful to me moving forward."
Some of the other conference topics that the students participated in included data visualization, data cleaning, and data-driven storytelling. They also learned about how to find and use public records and how to work with data sets in different formats.
"Being around all those smart people doing really interesting journalism is inspiring," CoJMC Professor of Journalism Matt Waite said. "I've been going to this conference since 1997 and have learned something new every time. It's simultaneously energizing and overwhelming."
The College of Journalism and Mass Communications is committed to providing its students with opportunities to gain real-world experience and develop their skills in the field of journalism. The college offers a range of programs and resources to support students in their pursuit of a career in journalism.
Senior journalism and advertising and public relations major Odelia Amenyah said the most interesting session she went to was about using investigative reporting techniques to report on algorithms in society.
"I think it’s important to ask questions and to evaluate how algorithms and AI can be positive or negative," she said. "I learned that we need to check and listen to people when they have concerns because there are real life consequences when we don’t."
Attendees are listed alphabetically by last name, with their major(s) and hometown.
|Jeannine Akamba||advertising and public relations||Lincoln, NE|
|Odelia Amenyah||advertising and public relations, journalism||Lincoln, NE|
|Clare Arter||journalism||Sterling, NE|
|Sawyer Belair||journalism||Omaha, NE|
|Megan Buffington||journalism||Pequot Lakes, MN|
|LeAnne Bugay||advertising and public relations, journalism||Bellevue, NE|
|Macy Byars||broadcasting, journalism||Omaha, NE|
|Emma Caito||advertising and public relations||Omaha, NE|
|Hannah Christensen||journalism, psychology||Douglas, NE|
|Nora Crimmins||advertising and public relations, sports media and communication||Elburn, IL|
|Naomi Delkamiller||advertising and public relations, journalism||Omaha, NE|
|Walter Fitzsimmons||advertising and public relations||Lincoln, NE|
|Maddie Hansen||advertising and public relations, journalism||Omaha, NE|
|Alex Kopf||journalism, sports media and communication||Omaha, NE|
|Jillian Lamkins||broadcasting, sports media and communication||Apple Valley, MN|
|Sadie Lamplot||advertising and public relations||Thurston, NE|
|Ben Lampman||journalism, psychology||Omaha, NE|
|Ryan Luetkemeyer||broadcasting, journalism||Webster Groves, MO|
|Bella Maceranka||sports media and communication||Mission Viejo, CA|
|Morgan Moll||advertising and public relations||Madison, WI|
|Lauren Penington||journalism, political science||Parker, CO|
|Nandini Rainikindi||advertising and public relations, broadcasting, journalism||Overland Park, KS|
|Owen Reimer||journalism||Bellevue, NE|
|Hannah Roebke||broadcasting, sports media and communication||Seward, NE|
|Sarah Rosenberg||advertising and public relations||Bloomington, MN|
|Kloee Sander||broadcasting||Lincoln, NE|
|Caitlyn Thomas||journalism||Papillion, NE|
|Lance Vie||broadcasting||Nickerson, NE|
|Madison Vinci||sports media and communication||Wrightstown, NJ|
|Paige Waite||advertising and public relations||Lincoln, NE|
|Gus Wenke Kathol||sports media and communication||Lincoln, NE|
|Faith Worden||advertising and public relations, sports media and communication||Omaha, NE|
|Lexie Worden||advertising and public relations, journalism||Omaha, NE|
The costs for airfare, lodging and conference registration were provided by a generous donation from the Martin and Doris Deepe family.
CoJMC faculty sponsors were Matt Waite, Jill Martin and Chris Graves. For more information about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications, please visit https://journalism.unl.edu/.