Humber’s Faculty of Media & Creative Arts is welcoming students to join some of Canada’s most prolific investigative reporters, developers and coders to discuss the influence data can have different journalistic settings.

The third annual Data Driven conference on November 15 will explore how data can transform and impact politics, social justice, and the day-to-day lives of Canadians.

Data Driven 2019

David Weisz, director of Humber’s storyLAB, initiated the Canadian-focused event with Andrew Ainsworth, associate dean for Film, Acting and Media Production in the Faculty of Media and Creative Arts.

After attending many data journalism conferences focused on American journalism, Weisz noticed there are many differences between Canadian and American journalism based on how they operate and collect data.

“We got to a point where there was a lot of movement in Canadian journalism and it was time to have our own conference and celebration focused on specific needs and issues in the industry,” says Weisz.

The event will be taking place at Google Canada’s headquarters in Toronto where students will engage in panel discussions and hands-on training. This includes meeting with professionals from Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, CBC and learning institutions such as Northeastern University to share their most recent data journalism, discuss Canada’s data policy, election coverage from a data-driven perspective and more.

“This is a great place to build relationships, find people in the same industry or discover where you want to be. Journalists in senior positions are also gracious and supportive because they know what it takes to get these roles and are willing to help students achieve the same goals,” says Weisz.

Humber offers three Journalism programs (advanced diploma, postgraduate certificate and bachelor’s degree) where students are given training in hands-on skills that are at the forefront of what’s happening in the industry today. This includes, reporting the news, creating broadcast stories, writing feature articles, capturing high-quality images and creating compelling digital presentations.

In an ever-changing industry, Humber continues to update the curriculum to reflect the new reality of journalism in the digital age.

“One of the big focus areas for Humber’s media and journalism programs, is many of our faculty are interested in misinformation, disinformation and ‘fake news,’ helping media consumers see through that and understand what they are reading may not be fact-based or rooted in data,” says Sarah-Jane Greenway, associate dean for Journalists & Writers in the Faculty of Media and Creative Arts.

Humber plans to continue to host the conference annually, giving students and industry professionals the opportunity to talk about big data in journalism. Students will learn about new software and skills to apply data journalism and how to provide stronger content and build a trustworthy industry.

“The conference is just as important to the industry leaders as much as it is for students. It’s important to show how data can be used and how to tell stories moving forward,” says Greenway.

The event is expecting more than 100 guests and will be providing live coverage. Highlighting the importance of data journalism, the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts storyLAB and The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting are also accepting applications for the inaugural storyLAB Data Journalism Grant to support independent journalism.

Humber and Pulitzer are accepting proposals until November 30 for stories related to Indigenous lands and property rights. The grant will provide up to $10,000 for a freelance journalist or team of journalists to explore a related story from a data-driven perspective.

storyLAB Data Journalism Grant