The Data Institute

The Data Institute is BACK! A collaboration between The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica, this 2-week intensive workshop will teach you how to use data, design and code for journalism. It will run from October 1 to 12 in New York City. The deadline to apply is September 7th.

Check out last year's curriculum

Questions? Check our FAQ or email [email protected].

Special thanks to for hosting us this fall!

What You'll Learn

Over 2 weeks, 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?

What Students Had to Say

Find out more about last year's class and the class of 2016.

Participating in the Data Institute was so inspiring and has given me the tools I need to become a better reporter. In two weeks, I learned concepts I've tried to teach myself for two years.”

– Lakeidra Chavis

Not to be cheesy or hyperbolic, but the data institute may be the most important training I’ve gotten so far in my career... And I got all of this at really no cost to myself or my employer. That’s incredible.”

– Marquita Brown

I learned so much during my two weeks here. I feel like I have a better idea of what could be possible, which in turn has led to a number of ideas I plan to bring back to The Courier-Journal.”

– Allison Ross

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 the teachers you’ll have at the Data Institute majored in the humanities, such as Journalism, English, History or Philosophy.

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.

You must be an Ida B. Wells Society member to apply. Membership is free and you can sign up here.

Why We're Doing This

The Ida B. Wells Society and ProPublica both believe 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 Data Institute will 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 Data Institute is completely free to attend. We will provide lodging and cover roundtrip travel costs to New York City. Once here, students will receive prepaid metrocards to cover travel costs to and from our offices. We’ll also provide breakfast and lunch every day of the Institute.

Additionally, we are 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 Sept. 7 deadline has passed, and will notify all applicants by the middle of September if they've been selected.

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

No. The Data Institute is only open to U.S. residents.

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 will not be making any exceptions to this rule.

Will you make the course material available online?

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

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 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?


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

The Data Institute will run all day on weekdays between Oct 1 to 12. 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 Data Institute online?

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

More questions?

Email [email protected]. We're checking daily and can't wait to hear from you.

Meet the Class of 2018

We're thrilled to announce the 12 outstanding journalists who will be joining us for the Data Institute.

Denise Smith Amos (@damosreporter) is an education reporter at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. Previously, she reported, wrote, opined and edited for newspapers in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Detroit and Orlando. Denise is a Northwestern graduate.

Ricardo Cano (@Ricardo_Cano1) is a K-12 education reporter for CALmatters, a Sacramento-based journalism nonprofit focused on covering the California State Capitol. Previously, he covered education for The Arizona Republic and Ricardo joined The Republic in 2015 after graduating from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Ximena Conde (@radioXimena) is Wisconsin Public Radio’s Second Century News Fellow. Based out of Milwaukee, she works as a general assignment reporter covering the southeastern Wisconsin. She got her start in news as Rhode Island Public Radio’s Morning Edition producer. She grew up in Queens and graduated from Rutgers University.

Aurora Ellis (@auroraborellis) joined the Huffington Post's New York office in 2017 after working and editing abroad for nearly five years. Previously, she was a news editor at a startup in Ecuador, where she coached a team of writers from across the world to report on social movements and Latin America. During the Arab Spring uprising, she interned as a reporter and worked as a copy editor for English-language newspapers in Egypt. Aurora graduated from Howard University and she speaks Egyptian Arabic.

Kyeland Jackson (@KyelandJ) is an associate producer for WFPL News in Louisville, Kentucky. Originally from New Albany, Indiana, Kyeland grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree in communication from the University of Louisville, where he wrote for the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal. He's covered a wide range of topics including politics, environment, crime and culture.

J.p. Lawrence (@jplawrence3) is a reporter in Afghanistan for Stars and Stripes. Previously, he worked at the San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union, and interned at The New York Times, the Associated Press bureau in East Africa and ABC News. He deployed in 2009 to Basra, Iraq, with the 34th Infantry Division. He was born in the Philippines and arrived in Minnesota with his mom when he was 3 years old.

Natalie Martinez (@natijomartinez) covers far-right extremism for Media Matters for America. Her work focuses on how disinformation and hate speech spread on social media and are monetized by tech platforms. She previously interned for Pew Research Center, St. Louis Public Radio, KLRU Austin and the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center. Natalie has a bachelor’s degree in American culture studies from Washington University in St. Louis.

Valeya Miles (@valeya) is the site operations and social media manager for and The Times-Picayune, where she oversees the day-to-day digital operations and social content production team. Previously, Valeya managed online community engagement for mobile apps and in her move to journalism, Valeya was interested in learning how data, design and code can enhance storytelling and help a community make informed decisions.

Laura Moscoso (@LauraC_Moscoso) is a journalist at the Center for Investigative Journalism based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has worked at Prensa Comunitaria, El Nuevo Día and WIPR, and she has collaborated on independent editorial projects. She also teaches data journalism and visualization workshops for journalists and students. Laura studied humanities at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, and has a postgraduate degree in journalism, data and visualization from the King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

Asraa Mustufa (@AsraaReports) is a digital editor at The Chicago Reporter, a nonprofit investigative news organization that focuses on race, poverty and income inequality. A Chicago transplant by way of New Jersey, she has a background in reporting and she has studied journalism, political science and South Asian studies at Rutgers University.

Kayleigh Skinner (@KayAnneSkinner) covers politics, education, state government and how they intersect for Mississippi Today, a nonprofit digital news organization. Previously, she reported at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee and The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2014. When she's not reporting, Kayleigh enjoys training for marathons and spoiling her Louisiana mutt Gumbo.

Samantha Smylie (@sammie_smylie) is an aspiring journalist in Chicago. Currently, she is interning for AirGo radio, working on the IlliNoise podcast and writing for South Side Weekly. Previously, she was a reporting fellow at City Bureau. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, she is very passionate about telling stories that show the humanity of people who live on Chicago's South and West sides. She is also passionate about equity in education, housing and politics in Chicago. Samantha graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in history and minor in politics.

Code of Conduct

1. Purpose

The Ida B. Wells Society and ProPublica believe the 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 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 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 staff.

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

If someone engages in unacceptable behavior, the 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 Data Institute organizer as soon as possible.

The 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.