Women Entrepreneurs in Digital News – Teresa Bouza

Data is the Key Source in the Computational Platform for Investigative Journalism

Don’t be afraid of data. That’s what Teresa Bouza wants journalists to know. And with Bouza’s new media enterprise, journalists will get the help they need to do more data-driven reporting.

Bouza’s project, the Computational Platform for Investigative Journalism, will provide news using data-driven reporting and serve as a hub for data mining tools, training and assistance for investigative journalists.

“There are many more story ideas that are left undiscovered in the data every day,” Bouza wrote in her grant application. She offered campaign finance issues as an example.

Bouza cites several reasons why data is being ignored and not being turned into interesting news stories or infographics: the increasing amount of data, the lack of interest in data-driven reporting among news executives, and the dearth of data-analysis skills among journalists.

The Computational Platform for Investigative Journalism will address these issues, Bouza said. “I believe our platform will help significantly advance the state of data-driven reporting because we’re in a unique position to show computational journalism is simple and can be easily done.”

Basic knowledge of Excel, Bouza said, is sufficient for much data-driven reporting. She expects to provide simple and cost-effective methods of analyzing data, and user-friendly resources and tools to help journalists make sense of this data.

“We aim to provide a one-stop shopping solution,” Bouza said, adding that the Computational Platform for Investigative Journalism will generate data-based news stories, provide easy-to-understand software tutorials, and offer training in data-based journalism, including providing consulting services at cost to news organizations on data-mining projects.

Bouza hopes to pay particular attention to ethnic media, women’s publications and women journalists in her project. Focusing on women training other women and empowering news organizations with fewer resources, Bouza aims to reach those who are often underrepresented in the upper echelons of the news industry.

“While women are well represented in journalism, they are virtually non-existent in the small community of journalists engaged in data-driven reporting,” she said. “Our platform will aim to change this situation.”

In addition to offering training via the Computational Platform for Investigative Journalism’s website, Bouza plans to conduct on-site workshops at media outlets, and in various cities at hackathons, events during which computer programmers and engineers contribute their skills and time to help data journalism projects.

Eventually, Bouza hopes to develop partnerships with news organizations to regularly help them with their data-mining needs. By assisting news organizations as well as reporters quickly sift through large amounts of quantitative information for stories, Bouza’s project would allow the news organizations to keep costs down while getting solid results.

Bouza looks forward to creating and running her own project and would like to one day expand its reach internationally.

“I feel honored and privileged to receive this highly competitive award,” she said. “I’m also very excited about the unique opportunity the IWMF grant offers. It enables me to make a contribution to my profession and help my colleagues take advantage of computational tools.”

Teresa Bouza, a 2012 Knight Fellow at Stanford University, has worked since 2005 as a foreign correspondent in Washington D.C., for Spanish-language news agency Efe.

Previously, Bouza worked as a reporter in Madrid for the Spanish financial daily Cinco Dias before being recruited in 1999 by The Wall Street Journal to work in the newspaper’s Spanish-language edition in New York.

Bouza was awarded a Cabot Fellowship at Columbia University in 2003 and the Julio Anguita Padilla Award by the Foreign Press Association in 2004.

She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, with a concentration in broadcast and new media, and an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University Complutense de Madrid in Spain.

Follow Teresa Bouza on Twitter (@TereBouza).

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