ProPublica Summer Data Institute

ProPublica is proud to announce its first-ever Summer Data Institute, a 10-day intensive workshop on how to use data, design and code for journalism. The workshop will be from June 1st to 15th in our NYC offices. The deadline to apply is March 31st.

Questions? Check our FAQ and email data.institute@propublica.org.

What You'll Learn

Over 10 days, we'll cover the basics of brainstorming, reporting, designing and building interactive graphics and data-driven news applications. By the end of the course you should be able to:

Data Journalism

  • Conduct data research and evaluate the reliability of your data.
  • Clean data and analyze data sets for interesting trends and outliers.
  • Bulletproof data against common pitfalls and inconsistencies.
  • Perform the most commonly used statistical techniques in journalism.

Design

  • Sketch and prototype multiple designs for a single project and evaluate the best approach.
  • Learn how to use color, typography and layout.
  • Understand how to test designs with real-world users and to incorporate feedback.
  • Create clear and clean visualizations to help readers understand complex information.

Programming

  • Understand basic programming concepts.
  • Create your own website from scratch, using HTML/CSS and Javascript.
  • Scrape a website, using either Ruby or Python.
  • Know how to continue learning on your own.

The workshop will be project-centered. You will work on an interactive data journalism project — with real data — from beginning to end. Ready to apply?

Instructors

You'll be taught by ProPublica's award-winning News Applications team. We have worked on everything from colleges that saddle poor students with debt, doctors who take money from drug companies, how much limbs are worth in different states, and even investigative space journalism. The workshop will cover step-by-step how ProPublica brainstorms, reports, designs and builds these types of interactive graphics and data-driven news applications.

Instructors

Who Should Apply?

If you're a journalism student or journalist currently residing in the United States, and passionate about learning how to use data, design and code to help tell stories, this workshop is for you. You don't need to have any previous experience, but we want to see that you've demonstrated curiosity about telling stories with data. Have you tinkered with data, design or code? You'll be able to tell us in the application.

If you've ever felt intimidated by learning to code and doing math, don't count yourself out, because we've all been there. Most of us majored in the humanities, such as Journalism, English or Philosophy. None of us have a Computer Science degree.

All workshop students will need to bring their own laptop, which must be able to install software like R Studio. This means that Chromebooks and iPads won't work. We'll provide other materials, including links to where you can get the software we'll be using for free.

Why We're Doing This

ProPublica believes that great journalism can change the world. We want to make sure that people from many backgrounds and perspectives are empowered to do it. The Summer Data Institute is one of the steps we are taking to bring journalists from a broad array of social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds into data journalism, including African Americans, Latinos, other people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.

It's Free

The Summer Data Institute is completely free to attend. ProPublica will provide lodging and cover roundtrip travel costs to New York City, as well as local travel costs to and from our offices.

Additionally, ProPublica is offering a limited number of need-based stipends to help those who may otherwise not be able to attend. Requests for stipends are part of the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will you be notifying applicants on whether they've been selected?

We will begin reviewing applications after the March 31st deadline has passed, and we'll notify applicants by the end of April, if not sooner.

I'm not a U.S. resident. Am I eligible to apply?

No. The Summer Data Institute is only open to U.S. residents. We are looking into opening up applications to international applicants in the future. After the workshop we plan to publish a package of materials and online resources that we’ll make available for free.

What do you mean by U.S. resident? Can you make any exceptions to this rule?

U.S. residents are U.S. citizens or resident aliens. We are unable to make any exceptions to this rule for this year’s Summer Data Institute.

I'm not a journalism student, I'm not working in journalism and I don’t plan to work as a journalist in the future. Am I eligible to apply?

No. While we understand that all of the skills we'll be teaching can be valuable in many fields, the Summer Data Institute's mission is to help increase the number of journalists with data, design and programming skills. Therefore, only applicants who are studying to be journalists, working in journalism, or have demonstrated an interest in journalism will be considered.

I am a journalism professor, am I eligible to apply?

Yes!

What will the hours be? Will I need to take off work?

The Summer Data Institute will run all day on weekdays between June 1 and June 15. There will also be assignments and project work that will likely occupy a good portion of evenings and weekends. We’re going to pack a lot of information into these two weeks, so applicants must be able to dedicate the entire time to the program. If this poses a financial burden that would make you unable to attend the workshop, ProPublica is providing a limited number of stipends, up to $1,000 each. Requests for stipends are part of the application.

Can I attend the Summer Data Institute online?

No, we are not offering remote participation in the Summer Data Institute.

Will you make the course material available online?

Yes, after the workshop we plan to publish a package of materials and online resources that we’ll make available for free.

More questions?

Email data.institute@propublica.org. We're checking daily and can't wait to hear from you.

Code of Conduct

1. Purpose

ProPublica believes the Summer Data Institute should be truly open for everyone. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity or religion.

This code of conduct outlines our expectations for participant behavior as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.

We expect all of our instructors and students to help us create a safe and positive workshop for everyone.

2. Expected Behavior

Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative.

Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior and speech.

Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert the Summer Data Institute organizers if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.

3. Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behaviors include: intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory or demeaning conduct by anyone participating in the Summer Data Institute.

Harassment includes: offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability; inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces (including presentation slides); deliberate intimidation, stalking or following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

4. Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated whether by instructors, students or ProPublica staff.

Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.

If someone engages in unacceptable behavior, the Summer Data Institute organizers may take any action we deem appropriate, up to and including discontinuation of any stipends and expulsion from the Institute.

5. What to Do If You Witness or Are Subject to Unacceptable Behavior

If you are subject to unacceptable behavior, notice that someone else is being subject to unacceptable behavior, or have any other concerns, please notify a Summer Data Institute organizer as soon as possible.

The Summer Data Institute organizers will be available to help participants contact building security or local law enforcement, to provide escorts, or to otherwise assist those experiencing unacceptable behavior to feel safe for the duration of the Institute.

Special thanks to the Portland Tech Workshops for creating their Code of Conduct and licensing it under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike.