1. Class Information

    Class Information

    Details about what to expect at the 2017 CIJ Investigative Journalism Summer Conference.
    #CIJSummer

     

     

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  2. About the Conference

    Bookings open soon

    #CIJSummer Conference
    28-30 June 2018
    Goldsmiths, University of London
     

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  3. Timetable 2018

    Timetable

    Plan your time at the #CIJSummer 2018. 
    Please scroll down. 

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  4. Teachers and Speakers

    Teachers and Speakers

    Some of the world's best speakers and trainers are coming to the CIJ Summer Conference. #CIJSummer

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  5. Directions

    Directions

    How to get to the CIJ Investigative Journalism Conference venue at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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  6. Previous Summer Schools

    Previous Summer Schools

    See our archive of videos and reviews from our previous Summer Schools.

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Class Information

This page will be updated on a regular basis.

This year you can book for individual days as well as for all three days. On Thursday 20 June and Friday 30 June we will focus on practical skills, while Saturday 30 June will feature keynote talks, networking and discussions. 

Please note that some classes form mini-courses and are best attended as a whole.

The sessions marked [Rec] will be recorded.

Some data journalism workshops take place in computer labs where computers will be provided, but most will require you to bring your own laptops. Please see Technical Requirements page for all the info. Data concierge will be run every day to help you with installing software if you have difficulty doing it at home.
All data journalism workshops are practical, hands-on classes designed to teach participants the software and data analysis techniques used by journalists in the newsroom.

Refreshments are served several times a day (but not all the time) throughout the course, with a speakers and delegates lunch and drinks party held on Saturday.

Keynote/Networking Day Saturday 30 June 

Tickets are available for individual days, including Saturday keynote talks only. See the Book Now page for more information.

09:30 - Welcome from James harkin, Director of the CIJ

09:40 -  Gavin MacFadyen Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Indian award-winning journalist and author Rana Ayyub.  

11:00 - TBC 
12:00 - Speakers and Delegates Lunch. 

13:00 - BreakOut Talks: 
(1) SCIENCE. Inside the Monsanto Papers : what we learned about journalism, science, and the coverage of controversies

Stéphane Horel (freelance journalist and Le Monde) and Stéphane Foucart (Le Monde) - winners of the European Press Prize 2017. 
(2)  LAW: The Data Protection Bill
Gavin Millar QC, Matrix Chambers

14:20 - Making a Killing: Syria's multi-billion-dollar weapons deliveries 

Miranda Patrucic - award winning journalist at the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
 
15:40 - Mosul Eye: Revealing Atrocities of ISIS
Omar Mohammed - history graduate and blogger, who showed the world the reality of life in the ISIS occupied Mosul.
In conversation with CIJ Director James Harkin.
17:00 - TBC

18:00 - Drinks reception

Computer Security Advice Clinic

Visit the security zone in the Atrium with your laptop and learn how to set up tools to browse anonymously, chat and mail with encryption and prevent data-loss from theft/confiscation of laptops and storage media. This will include the TOR-browser, PGP mailcrypto and OTR-chat.

The software tools we will be using are all free of cost and will work on Windows, Mac and Linux laptops. They will not work on iPads or Android tablets. Please bring a laptop that you are able/allowed to install software on and contact us with any specific questions beforehand.

Talks and Mini-Courses

Thursday 22 June - Friday 23 June

(In alphabetical order. Excluding Data Journalism, see below.)

Accessing Information Under FOIA - 1
Jenna Corderoy and Sid Ryan
This session will outline the basics of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and how you can apply it to your research, campaigns and investigations. We’ll go through the type of information that can be accessed from government bodies and how you can draft effective requests to get the most out of the Act. We will also look at how to make requests for information under the lesser-known Environmental Information Regulations. Towards the end of the session, we will demonstrate WhatDoTheyKnowPro, a new FOIA toolkit for journalists developed by MySociety.  

Accessing Information Under FOIA - 2
Jenna Corderoy and Sid Ryan
This session will go through the FOIA appeals process, and teach you how to argue your case when government bodies are doing whatever they can to prevent a disclosure. At the end of the session, we will look at how to send freedom of information requests around the world. To finish, we’ll discuss and work through some of the FOIA challenges that you have encountered.

 

Covert Filming
Allan Harraden and Paul Samrai
This session on covert filming has evolved over the years into a state-of-the-art technical workshop looking at methods to acquire evidence for public interest investigations. It is taught by a leading undercover technician and an experienced television reporter who discuss the process and ethics of going undercover and look at the latest high-quality equipment.
 

Dealing with Large Datasets
Jonathan Stoneman
What do you do when faced with a really big dataset for the first time? Using examples, Jonathan Stoneman will discuss approaches that help reduce a daunting mountain of data to a manageable mass.

Although this is not a hands-on session it will be possible to download the demo data and follow along. 

Follow the Money Masterclass - 1
Miranda Patrucic
How does organised crime organise its business? What tools are used to put together cross-border criminal networks? Criminals and corrupt politicians are creative and not confined to national borders. We need to understand how they operate in order to investigate them. On the practical side of this class, participants will put on their criminal hats and will devise a money laundering scheme.

Follow the Money Masterclass - 2
Miranda Patrucic
Hit them where it hurts: their money. Stop organised crime and corrupt politicians from doing business as usual by outing them via a combination of databases and field work. A practical, follow the money, exercise is included. We'll start with company records and find the money trail.

Follow the Money Masterclass - 3
Miranda Patrucic
Follow the bank to find the money. Banks, including British ones, play an important role in the infrastructure of transnational crime. You will be shown how to get to banking records, how to process them and how to find the story in them. Participants will receive banking records in order to identify crooked transactions.

Getting Started with Data Journalism
Aron Pilhofer
In newsrooms, there's always too much to do and too little time. Trying to get a data journalism programme started can seem next to impossible. This talk will help you make the case for data journalism that might convince even the most reluctant newsrooms to get onboard.
 
Holding a mirror to the National Health Service
Shaun Lintern
Tips, tricks and ethical insights in how to properly investigate the UK NHS by the journalist who helped expose the Mid Staffordshire scandal. How to work with whistleblowers and bereaved families while at the same time respecting the commitment and dedication to NHS staff. Hear the shocking truth about the safety of the NHS and what role journalists can play in making it safer.
 

How to Get the Most Out of Companies House 
Martin Tomkinson and Robert Miller
Any UK-based investigative journalist or aspiring journalist should have a working knowledge of Companies House.
Companies House is the central registry for all UK registered limited or PLC companies and contains a wealth of useful information for those who know how to use the site. The aim of this class is to show how to get the most information from the official website, as well as highlighting what information can’t be found there. The class will give ample time for questions and queries and is an absolute must for anybody who does not feel confident in using this vital tool for investigators.
Class handout: Companies House.

Introduction to Data Journalism: How to get the most of Data Tracks. 
This session will provide a chance to find out what data journalism classes are on offer and which tools are best for which tasks. Our data trainers will advice you on the best data pathway and explain how you can improve your jouraliusm with data analysis. 

Libel and Privacy Laws
Justin Walford
In this session you will learn about libel and privacy and hear how recent cases have affected the law. This class is for anyone who wants to update their legal knowledge and find out how they are affected by recent legal developments.
 

Putting the NHS under the microscope
Shaun Lintern
Learn how the Health Service Journal organises its team of investigative journalists to delve into the national health service. Shaun Lintern will talk through how to find health stories and some examples of his recent investigations.
 
SecureDrop: Get your secure leak platform today 
Loic Dachary
Investigative journalists should maintain a secure communication channel for exchanging information and documents with their sources. You may think that such channels are difficult and expensive to set up and operate, but the contrary is true: it is simple and cheap. If all you understand about security is that HTTPS is a good thing, there is something for you ... and it will be more secure than systems designed for receiving classified documents. Sounds like a paradox? Think about what happens when you are forced to use a password so complex no human being can remember it. It will end up being written on a sticker next to your keyboard, no longer providing any kind of security. After you learn more about security, 2FA, E2E, live systems, etc., familiarize yourself with practical solutions for applying these skills and activating stronger protection. Eventually, you will be able and equipped to protect the next Edward Snowden and save us all from George Orwell's worst nightmare.

SCIENCE: How to find and sell good science reporting to editors

Clare Wilson, Ehsan Masood, Hal Hodson
Editors are tricky beasts. They can be seduced by easy headlines based on dubious interpretation of research, like declaiming cancer cures when the research was in vivo with a tiny sample. They are swayed by siren voices of scepticism when policy and science intersect, like climate change.
Learn how you can equip yourself with strong science stories that you can sell to your editors without having to jazz up or sensationalise research or take the path of least resistance.
 

SCIENCE: How to read research papers and what to look out for in science press releases 

Kevin McConway
An (hour-length) explanation of scientific methods, randomized clinical trials, and their importance, including assessing aspects like sample sizes, statistics and risk assessments. 
 

SCIENCE: How to report on science for general audiences: going from complex research to appealing stories  

Natasha Loder, Sally Adee, Victoria Gill
How do you take complicated science and turn into a narrative, how do you make stories about seemingly impenetrable research sing? Learn how to reporting on science stories that matter for a general audience with award-winning speakers who do it regularly. 
 

SCIENCE: Where to look for stories of academic misconduct and why they matter

Ivan Oransky 
The world of scientific publishing is fraught with problems, and retractions of published research -- while still representing only a tiny fraction of papers -- have risen dramatically in recent years. Why do scientists go rogue, and what are the stories we can tell about this? How do you find stories about bad science, and how do you tell them? What are the warning signs you should be aware of when reporting on science, and how do you check that research you’re reporting on is valid?
 

Story-Based Inquiry 1: Hypothesise Your Story
Luuk Sengers and Mark Lee Hunter
Investigation has a dirty name with editors, who think it’s about slowly rummaging through piles of garbage till you find (or don’t find) a jewel. Too often, they’re right. This session will show you how to choose a subject and define your investigation as a story from the start, using hypotheses. The method helps you figure out what to look for, how to look for it and how to sell it to your boss and the public.

Story-Based Inquiry 2: Creative Techniques Create the Timeline and Scenarise the Story
Mark Lee Hunter and Luuk Sengers
In this session we map the plot of a story – a sequence of events that must have occurred, which we can subsequently verify and enrich. Simultaneously, we create scenes, with characters whose actions and conflicts define the content and meaning of the story. These events lead to the sources you need.

Story-Based Inquiry 3: From Source Mapping to the MasterFile
Luuk Sengers and Mark Lee Hunter
This session begins with an alternative to the timeline – a map of the actors in your story and the sources they hold. Now that we've shown you where to acquire information assets, we'll show you how to optimise them. We'll create a simple but effective database in which you collect the results of your investigation. This 'MasterFile' makes it easier to structure your story – the hardest part of composition. It's a way to write while you research, instead of first researching and then writing. It's also a way to build resources for a long, successful career.

Story-Based Inquiry 4: Craft the Story
Mark Lee Hunter and Luuk Sengers 
This session shows you how to compose a story that hits hard and fast, and builds to a powerful conclusion. The core of this method is continuous composition and referencing – an approach that saves both you and your colleagues time and anguish. We turn the 'MasterFile' into a narrative structure based on a chronology or a sequence of themes and characters. We apply techniques for controlling rhythm, the element that keeps your audience reading, listening or watching. We finish with quality control – reducing the risk of mistakes that can cause damage to others and your own reputation.

Tableau Data Viz 1
Sophie Sparkes and Florian Ramseger
An introduction to data journalism with Tableau Public that covers:

  • how to create simple charts (bar charts, line charts and maps)
  • how to add simple interactivity to charts
  • how to publish and embed visualisation in your article

Bring your own laptop and please install Tableau Public before the class.
https://public.tableau.com

Tableau Data Viz 2
Sophie Sparkes and Florian Ramseger
More advanced data journalism with Tableau Public that covers:
  • data cleaning and data preparation in Tableau
  • advanced formatting of charts
  • designing charts for mobile
Bring your own laptop and please install Tableau Public before the class.
https://public.tableau.com
Understanding Company Accounts 1-4
Raj Bairoliya
This course taught by a journalist-friendly forensic accountant will show you how to understand company accounts and get beyond the corporate PR spin. The emphasis will be on teaching practical skills rather than a series of lectures. The objective of this course is to ensure that all participants feel comfortable with a set of accounts and know where and how to look for relevant information.
The only prerequisites for this course are numeracy and an interest in financial matters as the theory will be taught in the first class and applied to real-life examples in the following sessions.
You must attend all the classes in this strand to benefit from it fully. 
It will include the following topics: motivation to massage earnings; profit and loss account; balance sheet; funds flow statement; notes. And will finish with putting it all together, an interactive session building up a sample set of accounts or case study questions. 
The participants are actively encouraged to ask questions throughout. 
 

Data Journalism (CAR)

All class descriptions are listed in alphabetical order. 

Note: (B) signifies beginners, (I) intermediate and (A) advanced levels
Courses with numbers (eg Excel 1, Excel 2, Excel 3...) should be taken in sequence.

You do not need to have your own laptop for these classes as they take place in computer labs, however you can use your own laptop if you prefer to.

The number of places is limited and allocated on first come, first served basis. 

-----------------------------------------------
 
Data Cleaning with Pandas 1 - (I), Hands-on*
Karrie Kehoe and Max Harlow
Data cleaning can feel more like data penance, but Pandas can ease your pain, allowing you to clean and structure your data with minimal hassle. Jupyter Notebook's interactive environment helps you keep track of your changes and allows you to explore your data.
Participants can expect to learn how to clean large complicated datasets quickly and learn how to explore data too large for Excel by using the browser based Jupyter Notebook.  
Participants should have previous experience of coding at a basic level or more.
 
Data Wrangling with Pandas 2 - (I), Hands-on*
Karrie Kehoe and Max Harlow
Your data is squeaky clean and ready to go – time to dig deep and start hunting for those elusive leads. Pandas allows you to quickly and easily perform statistical analysis on your data helping you to mine for stories and look for outliers.
Participants can expect to learn programmatic methods to analyse large datasets and to visualise their results within Jupyter Notebook. 
Participants should have previous experience of coding at a basic level or more.
 
*Why Python? 
Python makes it easy to replicate your analysis at a later stage and reduces the threat of human error that many face in Excel. It's also shareable within teams and allows you to document and explain your work within the notebook so you can come back to it later and easily pick up from where you left off. 
There are no upper limits in terms of data size, you can use Python on a csv with 10 rows or a billion. You get to a point where the limitation is the speed of the RAM on your machine, at which point you need to switch to a server. 
 

Dealing with Large Datasets
Jonathan Stoneman
What do you do when faced with a really big dataset for the first time? Using examples, Jonathan Stoneman will discuss approaches that help reduce a daunting mountain of data to a manageable mass.
Although this is not a hands-on session it will be possible to download the demo data and follow along. 

Crina Boroş and Jonathan Stoneman
Data is everywhere and spreadsheets can help reporters to find story ideas in the data. This course introduces data analysis using Microsoft Excel. Participants will learn basic calculations, rates, ratios and analytic tools that generate story ideas. 
 
Crina Boroş and Jonathan Stoneman
The second spreadsheet course covers built-in analytical tools, such as sorting, filtering and chart creation, tools that help reporters quickly find great stories within databases.
 

Excel 3: Summarising Your Data for the Big Picture (B), Hands-on
Crina Boroş and Jonathan Stoneman
To complete your spreadsheet toolkit, learn how to make pivot tables that will summarise trends in your data.

Excel 4: Getting Data into Excel (I), Hands-on
Helena Bengtsson and Luuk Sengers
How do you turn data on the internet into Excel? This session will look at copying and pasting from a web page and how to think when transforming this data to an Excel table. We will also take a look at some useful formulas for manipulating and cleaning data.
This session is not for beginners, you should be comfortable with sorting and calculating in Excel.

Excel 5: Matching Data in Excel (I), Hands-on
Helena Bengtsson and Luuk Sengers
This last Excel session will walk you through one of the most powerful functions in Excel: VLOOKUP. This allows you to match tables or collect data from one table into another.
This session is not for beginners, you should be comfortable with sorting and calculating in Excel.

Exploring Networks with Neo4j 1 (A), Hands-on
Leila Haddou and Max Harlow
In data journalism, we tend to use relational databases –  data in table form – such as Excel or SQL to do our analysis and find stories. Graph databases are different, but are incredibly useful to find connections or patterns within our data that would be difficult, if not impossible, to spot using a relational database. This session will provide a hands-on introduction to Neo4j, showing examples of its use for investigative stories including the Panama Papers, and demonstrate how to build a graph database of political donations and match them with corporate data to see at a glance the networks involved. 

No prior knowledge of Neo4j is required, but you must be at intermediate to advanced level in other data skills to benefit from this course. 

Exploring Networks with Neo4j 2 (A), Hands-on
Leila Haddou and Max Harlow
In part two, you will learn to analyse your newly built graph database using Cypher, Neo4j's custom query language. It is advisable (though not obligatory) to have completed part one to get the most out of this session.
No prior knowledge of Neo4j is required, but you must be at intermediate to advanced level in other data skills to benefit from this course. 

Google Sheets 1 (Excel). (B) Hands-on
Pamela Duncan
Data journalism introduction: overview of the seven building blocks behind data stories
The basics: use Google Sheets to carry out basic calculations and percentage increases
 
Google Sheets 2 (Excel). (B) Hands-on
Pamela Duncan
Finding your top line: sorting and filtering in Google sheets/Excel
Handy/fun tools: (split, concatenate, currency conversion, translate)
Note: beginners should attend Google Sheets 1 (Excel) if they wish to attend this class
 
Google Sheets 3 (Excel). (B) Hands-on
Pamela Duncan
Quick-smart data summary/analysis using pivot tables
Merging datasets (VLookUps)
Basic scraping using Google's Import tools
Note: all attendees wishing to take this class should have also attended Google Sheets 2 (Excel) 

R - 1: Introduction to R (B), Hands-on**
Caelainn Barr and Karrie Kehoe
In the first class, R-1, you'll be shown the basics and get familiar with R and RStudio, import data and learn some functions for getting to grips with your dataset including sorting and filtering. This class assumes no prior experience with R.

R - 2:  Data Wrangling and Statistics in R (A), Hands-on**
Caelainn Barr and Karrie Kehoe
In R-2 you'll get down to some data wrangling and learn how join datasets and carry out calculations in R that will allow you to identify trends in the data for storytelling. You'll also learn statistical functions in R and how to use ggplot2 for basic visual analysis.

R - 3:  Scraping and APIs in R (A), Hands-on**
Caelainn Barr and Karrie Kehoe
In the third and final class, R-3, you'll use R to scrape, clean and structure data from webpages and APIs. You'll also learn how to use R to convert, join and split difficult data files.

**If you are a complete beginner, these sessions will work best if you come to classes 1 to 3 as we will be building on knowledge and datasets from class to class. However, if you have experience in R you are free to join classes 2 and/or 3.
 
SQL for Journalists -1, Hands-on***
Crina Boroş
What to do when Excel is not enough to crunch your data and hardcore coding is not your style? SQL is like Excel, but on steroids! This is the first of three workshops and will introduce you to the lingua franca of programming and a popular relational database. You'll see what SQL does: create a database, import a spreadsheet, and learn about the main 'select statements'.
Note: Familiarity with Excel is recommended for those wishing to attend.
 
​SQL for Journalists - 2, Hands-on***
Crina Boroş
You'll learn about the power of the Golden Query through the introduction of functions, filters and analysing data using code for reporting. You'll also start joining tables.
Note: Familiarity with SQL 'select statements' is necessary, and with Excel recommended for those wishing to attend. 
 
SQL for Journalists 3, Hands-on***
Crina Boroş
Building on SQL 1 and 2, you'll make tables talk to each other, clean dirty data and update tables.
Note: Familiarity with SQL 'select statements' is necessary, and with Excel recommended for those wishing to attend.
 
*** Software requirements: SQL 
The classes will take place in a computer lab, but if you prefer to use your own laptop you will need: 
Microsoft SQL Server Manager; Excel 2010 or newer; Notepad (classic, retro, free one for .txt)​

 
Stats - 1: Introduction to Statistics, (B), Hands-on
Jodi Upton and Crina Boroş
Picking the right tool depends on what your data looks like. In this session, you will be introduced to categorical and continuous data, descriptive statistics, normal distribution, polls, margins of error and other basics, followed by work on the first and simplest test: correlation. You'll be working with data covering sport, student test scores and spending.
Note: Familiarity with Excel navigation and formulas is necessary, as is a beginner's understanding of statistics.
 
Stats - 2: Powerful Associations, (I/A), Hands-on
Jodi Upton and Crina Boroş
When many variables may explain something – such as performance in sport or a test – a different tool is needed: linear or multiple regression. In this session, you will be shown how to set up and run a regression and how to interpret the results.
Note: Familiarity with Excel navigation and formulas is necessary, as is an intermediate understanding of statistics.
 

Tableau Data Viz 1
Sophie Sparkes and Florian Ramseger
An introduction to data journalism with Tableau Public that covers:

  • how to create simple charts (bar charts, line charts and maps)
  • how to add simple interactivity to charts
  • how to publish and embed visualisation in your article

Bring your own laptop and please install Tableau Public before the class.
https://public.tableau.com

Tableau Data Viz 2
Sophie Sparkes and Florian Ramseger
More advanced data journalism with Tableau Public that covers:
  • data cleaning and data preparation in Tableau
  • advanced formatting of charts
  • designing charts for mobile
Bring your own laptop and please install Tableau Public before the class.
https://public.tableau.com