UCD Data Journalism Studio

Country/area: Ireland

Organisation: University College Dublin

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

UCD Data Journalism Studio is a student publication written and maintained by the students of UCD Data Journalism CPD programme. 

UCD Data Journalism CPD programme is a part-time continuing postgraduate degree, composed of only three modules/courses. The students of this programme often are from Journalism and Communication backgrounds and have little to no data background. 

At UCD Data Journalism we believe in high quality, yet accessible and DIY, data-driven investigative journalism, with the view and aim to empower every single journalist in every single newsroom to be able to use data in their day to day investigative work and reporting. At UCD Data Journalism Studio we are big fans of openness, transparency, collaboration, and simple yet effective communication.

I am submitting this portfolio in the capacity of the Director of the Programme and the Editor of the publication. All the stories are produced by my students in UCD Data Journalism Programme. Their names appear on the stories.


Description of portfolio:

The UCD Data Journalism Studio is a student publication, and provides a professional showcase for the work of UCD data journalism students, while also directly engaging with the Irish news industry and its audiences. Using a dedicated site (newslab.ie/ddjucd), students maintaining a sustained schedule of publishing data-driven stories & investigations, within weeks after they start the programme. At the Studio, we follow best practices and models used by collaborative data-driven teams, such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).

The stories published at the Studio are often focused on social matters. In many cases, they are focused on Irish national data, however, given the diversity of students in the programme, we frequently have students who focus on international matters or on comparative stories. The final set of stories in 2020 were written just around when COVID entered our lives. That was when I saw an immediate change of publication direction from the students, where they produced a set of interesting, timely and engaging on the topic stories as COVID was starting to take over our lives.

At the Studio, we form frequent partnerships with Irish news organisations who then co-publish the stories that are produced for the class. A number of our produced stories have been co-published by the Irish news media, including RTÉ (the Irish national TV and Radio), The Irish Times and The Irish Independent.

This has successfully taken the work of our students outside of the boundaries of the classroom, provided a stamp of quality for our produced stories, and helped our graduates to build and maintain professional portfolios, which increases their level of placement in related employment. At the same time, I believe that the UCD Data Journalism Studio is a modest, yet effective showcase and proof of how ‘data’ could become an integral part of any journalism curriculum and any journalists’ practices, taking students with no data background to a stage that they can produce fully functioning, effective and high-quality data stories, with and within limited resources that the academic institutions and newsrooms have to offer.

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