Networks / Friday, January 27, 2017 from 5pm-7pm
The Transparency Series is unique set of seminars and hands-on workshops that bring new technology and design ideas to the community of Columbia Journalism.
In this series, Networks, we will consider data that describe networks of people and organizations (often called “graphs"). These are structures that don’t fit easily into a spreadsheet — they encode relationships. Who knows who? Who worked for the same company? Who donated to or lobbied for which campaign? Who retweets who? These kinds of data let us connect the dots between people and organizations. Where are conflicts of interest? Can we track money or influence? On social media, can we see important “influencers” or visualize groups of people who share specific kinds of content?
The world is a complicated place, and sometimes it's not the things themselves that's the story, but the connections between the things. two speakers whose projects transform these connections between things into first-rate journalism. The first is Kevin Connor, the director of the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) and co-founder of LittleSis.org (think the opposite of Big Brother), an online wiki database tracking information on powerful people and organizations. Then we will hear from Mar Cabra, head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) Data & Research Unit. She led a global team from ICIJ analyzing the 11.5 million documents in the famed Panama Papers leak.
Kevin Connor is the director of the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), a watchdog research organization focused on corporate and government accountability. PAI conducts "power research," investigative research that brings transparency to how power relationships shape policy in the United States. PAI's research has consistently challenged the role of big money and corporate power in our democracy, garnering major media attention and prompting significant accountability measures and reforms. PAI takes a data-driven, movement-oriented approach to its work, and develops and maintains LittleSis.org (the opposite of Big Brother), an online wiki database tracking information on powerful people and organizations. Kevin co-founded PAI and LittleSis.org in 2008. Prior to that, he worked as a strategic researcher at SEIU and as a freelance corporate accountability researcher. His freelance projects included an early analysis of Wall Street banks’ role in causing the financial crisis.
Mar Cabra is the head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Data & Research Unit, which produces the organization's key data work and also develops tools for better collaborative investigative journalism. She has been an ICIJ staff member since 2011, and is also a member of the network.
Mar fell in love with data while being a Fulbright scholar and fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University in 2009/2010. Since then, she's promoted data journalism in her native Spain, co-creating the first ever masters degree on investigative reporting, data journalism and visualization and the national data journalism conference.
She previously worked in television (BBC, CCN+ and laSexta Noticias) and her work has been featured in the International Herald Tribune, The Huffington Post, PBS, El País, El Mundo or El Confidencial, among others. In 2012 she received the Spanish Larra Award to the country's most promising journalist under 30.