McGraw Hill Financial Data Journalism Program 2013-14

This program was for Spanish-speaking and English-speaking journalists working within the United States. Click here to read this page in Spanish.

Today’s financial markets and the business sector have become more complex – and harder to understand and interpret to news audiences. It is vital that America’s growing minority and ethnic populations, as well as other underserved communities, become better informed about the economy so they can make sound financial and consumer decisions. A new and growing body of expertise and digital tools – data journalism – can help business and financial journalists better serve these audiences. In the McGraw Hill Financial Data Journalism Program, ICFJ helped journalists master this new set of tools and produce data-driven stories that raise financial literacy in underserved communities.

Last year's 1st-place winner Jordyn Dahl with Michael Privitera, S&P Capital IQ's vice president of public affairs. Dahl won first place for her piece examining how the Navajo nation in southwest Colorado aims to break out of poverty by investing in coal production.

Data journalism describes the methods and technologies that allow journalists to uncover important stories and trends hidden within the staggering amounts of data available today. Journalists, often working with technologists, can now find ways to ferret out and organize the data, and transform this information into compelling stories—complete with multimedia components and visualizations. This can bring data to life as never before imagined—and engage communities in exciting ways.

The program gave journalists reporting for minority and other underserved populations a variety of data journalism tools and techniques, including how to mine economic and financial databases. During training on ICFJ’s digital training platform, journalists took a course on finding, interpreting, visualizing, and reporting on this data.

The online courses took place from October 7, 2013 through December 1, 2013. All applicants were asked to propose a project that they developed throughout the length of the course. A mentoring period to help participants finalize their projects then took place from December 2, 2013 until January 26, 2014.

The English course was led by Chris Roush and the Spanish course was led by Xavier Serbia.

The program was divided into three parts:

• an eight-week online training on data journalism tools and techniques, including how to mine economic and financial databases

• an eight-week online mentoring period, during which participants produced stories to publish in their media outlets. This year, MarketWatch provided mentors for each participant, who helped offer guidance and feedback while the stories were developed.

• a three-day reporting field trip to New York City for the top five performers in the online course. Participants had the opportunity to interview economists, among them experts from McGraw Hill Financial, as well as stock market officials and economic analysts and business leaders in a bustling hub of world finance. The top participants’ stories were honored at the McGraw Hill Financial Data Journalism Awards ceremony, held at McGraw Hill Financial's New York offices. There, ICFJ recognized the journalists who have produced the most significant data journalism stories with the McGraw Hill Financial Data Journalism Awards and cash prizes of US $2,500, $1,500, $750, and 2 honorable mentions of $500.

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