Hack Oregon and the Agora Journalism Center collaborated on a 3-day Storytelling with Data Build-a-Thon, on March 26-28, 2015 at the George S. Turnbull Portland Center. Interdisciplinary teams were recruited within the community to produce data-driven stories inspired by themes around some of the biggest issues facing Portland and Oregon. Each team was comprised of journalists, developers, designers, subject matter experts and students.
True data-driven storytelling happens when interplay is allowed between the “story the data wants to tell” and a rich human narrative that can provide context and a filter for the audience. Because the industry standard is so high for technology consumption, rendering this process for public engagement most often requires a round table of creatives, and coders, and subject matter experts— a team dynamic that can not only be challenging and but also prohibitively expensive for most news environments.
We created this project to explore ways that well-organized research and development and trained facilitation can condense the workflow to create short-term interdisciplinary teams to produce a data-driven story for publication within a 3-day build-a-thon.
Each team was composed of 5-7 diverse team members (including a journalist), and was tasked with a deliverable of a story and an interactive visualization at the end of three days which, will be published/hosted with their respective media partners. No pressure at all.
The groups captured their techniques and learning process with a public demo night on Saturday, March 28 which was open to the public.