OKFestival, the world’s largest open knowledge and data event, will take place September 17-22. We’re pleased to announce that streams on three whole days of this year’s festival (two festival days and a satellite event) will be dedicated to the topic of data journalism and visualization to encourage more journalists from around the globe to engage more deeply with the topic.

So what’s in store for visualizers and data journalists at the event?

Satellite Events and Hackdays

Monday, September 17 – Data Visualization Day

A seminar on making information visible, with lots of great speakers with backgrounds in science, art, design and journalism, data visualization and information design — including Jer Thorp and Mortiz Stefaner, and a good selection of their Finnish counterparts such as Ville Tietäväinen, Kimmo Vehkalahti, Paula Ahonen-Rainio, and Tuomas Siitonen.

You can find registration and more information on the speakers here.

Monday, September 17 – Hacks/Hackers Helsinki

Starting at 6 p.m., Hacks/Hackers Helsinki is ready to welcome you to an evening of lightning talks, ranging from how to visualize large swabs of government data, to where to look for free mapping software for your articles. It’s free to enter — all you need to do is sign up on the meetup page.

Friday, September 21 – Hack with Helsingin Sanomat

Helsingin Sanomat is one of the biggest Finnish newspapers and one of the trailblazers in having an open data policy in the newsroom.

On Friday, HS invites coders, designers, journalists and open data activists to the HS Open Hackathon to build visualizations or applications that use open data. Using international data from the World Bank and other sources, groups of three (at least one coder, journalist and a designer) will create a working application or visualization from scratch.

The goal for each group is to make a news application that tells a visual story on a global topic such as health, children’s welfare or inequality around the world. News applications can also crowdsource data or be a game.The target for the day is to produce a 560×400 pixel application that can be embedded into any web page.

In previous Hackathons, some of the best applications have been bought and published by Helsingin Sanomat — fingers crossed, there will be some good applications coming out of this one too!

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The HS Open Data Journalism Hackathon.

Main event

Session #1, Datajournalism in the Newsroom
Tuesday, September 18, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Simon Rogers from the Guardian Datablog shares his experience of bringing data journalism to the newsroom.

Session #2, Power and the Powerless in the Media
Tuesday, September 18, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

This session will be split into two. First Farida Vis will present the award-winning “Reading the Riots“ project in which Guardian, together with researchers, mapped how rumors spread in social media during the London riots in 2011.

Next, K-Monitor Watchdog for Public Funds, a Hungarian lobbyist-tracking NGO, show how they try to put pressure on newsrooms to accurately report. Their aim is to develop tools that enable analyzing and publicizing advertisement trends, spending and commissions, ownership circles, company registry information, media, advertising and political network relations. Their talk will tackle the topic of how to track powerful interest groups in the media.

Session #3, Practical Tools for Visualization
Tuesday, September 18, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

First up in this session: “Visualizing GIS-based Analysis.” This presentation shows with concrete examples how spatial data analysis can be used to solve real-life problems and how the results of the analyses can be shared with everyone on a web map.

Then, to prove that documents can also be data, the Minnesota Historical Society talks about their work preserving and making accessible original items of cultural heritage. The presentation will feature their work developing digital interactive and dynamic interface techniques for the cultural heritage material.

Session #4 – Discovering Data and Putting it into Action
Tuesday, September 18, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

This session will address some key skills required by data journalists, including how to use APIs for journalists (using maritime data in Shippr as an example).

Next, Victor Miclovich, T4D consultant for Unicef, will talk about the approaches used by individuals, non-profits, for-profits and governments in the use and implementation of data-oriented information systems.

Finally, comes a study of the hackathon model, and how it works in practice. Auli Harju of the Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media, and Communication, will analyze Helsinki’s own Helsingin Sanomat’s recent HS Open Hackathon’s development and impact.

Session #5, Hans Rosling
Thursday, September 20, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

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Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling, an award-winning academic, statistician and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, will round out the day by talking about the visualizations he’s become famous for.

Gapminder is a modern “museum” on the Internet which promotes sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. It’s developed the Trendalyzer software that converts international statistics into moving, interactive graphics. Rosling is also known for his TED talk “Stats that Reshape your World-view,” which has been viewed more than 4 million times, and he has been featured on TIME Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.

How you can participate

To register for a place at the sessions, please follow the following links.

  • Data visualization satellite event — registration here.
  • Hacks/Hackers – entry free. Please simply register in advance.
  • For main OKFestival events, you will need an OKFestival pass. You can register for a ticket via the festival website.
  • Helsingin Sanomat Open Data Hackathon is free for anyone to register. Register via this form.

Whether you’re a budding or experienced data journalist, we look forward to seeing you there.

Lucy Chambers is a community coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. She works on the OKF’s OpenSpending project and coordinates the data-driven-journalism activities of the foundation, including
running training sessions and helping to streamline the production of a collaboratively written handbook for data journalists.