NICAR13 Day 1, Thursday 28/2

I’m at the Computer Aided Reporting conference in Louisville Kentucky. Here’s my summary of day one:

Information design and crossing the digital divide – Christopher Canipe, Helene Sears
What inspires me is hearing stories from people who took on the challenge to do something new – like Christopher Canipe who moved from paper to web and had to learn about programming and Javascript. Helene Sears told the story about how graphical work is done at BBC. What I liked the most was the James Bond parallax scrolling infographics.

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future – Andy Cox
Part of this session (like weather predictions and forecasts) went completely over my head, but I got inspired to try out the d3 Javascript library.

Down and dirty with the DocumentCloud API – Ted Han
DocumentCloud is a service that turns documents into searchable and analyzable data. It seems pretty useful with its API and scripting abilities. I wonder if there’s limitations with foreign languages like Swedish?

Dig deeper with social tools – Mandy Jenkins, Doug Haddix
Mandy and Doug went through an amazing array of useful social web tools. Go check them out for yourself:,,,,,,,,,,

Practical machine learning: Tips, tricks and real-world examples for using machine learning in the newsroom – Jeff Larson, Chase Davis
As a data nerd, this was the most exciting session of the day. Jeff and Chase showed different techniques to create decision trees and other machine learning stuff, and pointed out the tool Weka to use for exploring such. Jeff and Chase have been kind enough to put their code on github:

Visualizing networks and connections – Irene Liu, Kevin Connor may perhaps be described as a crowdsourced Facebook about the power elite, where the dots are connected between the ultra rich and those in power, and how they connect to organizations. Another similar website is Irene Liu made the perhaps boldest presentation so far – went live just half an hour before her presentation(!). A very impressive and thorough html5 app on China’s power elite. A thing I learned about China is that although they have only one political party, it is highly fractioned. Very interesting. My guess is that the site will probably be censored in China.

Goodnight and see you tomorrow!

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