About this guide
Welcome to Atlanta!
This conference has evolved significantly over the past few years.
That, combined with exploding interest in all things data in our industry (and most other industries), has driven greater attendance, by journalists with a diverse set of interests and skills. More attendees are coming from across the globe than ever -- journalists representing about 20 countries are here -- and we have a record number of students joining us.
The schedule reflects this growth, both in the range and number of sessions. We've added additional hands-on rooms to allow us to offer more and accommodate more of you. We're bringing in more experts from outside journalism to share their knowledge, and we're showcasing a dizzying number of tools for wrangling data.
As always, we have a number of sessions aimed at beginners, and a number of sessions designed for those of you who are ridiculously advanced. (The session descriptions help you figure out which are which by listing prerequisites, if relevant). Plenty of sessions focus on applying data analysis skills to beats and projects, while others teach you how to develop those skills.
I'd like to make one suggestion. If you're primarily a coder or developer, attend at least one of our sessions that focus on applying data skills to the beat (healthcare, law enforcement, etc.) If you're primarily interested in data crunching, attend at least one session that focuses on visualization or presentation. In other words, take an hour or two to gain a better understanding of what your colleagues in the newsroom do. Odds are it'll make your own work better.
And definitely don't miss Lightning Talks on Friday afternoon, showcasing the creativity and expertise of our members. With a lineup that you voted on, this is always an event not to be missed. And right afterward, we'll both honor this year's Philip Meyer Award winners and take just a few minutes for an important vote of the membership, which is necessary to, among other things, give our student members the right to vote in future elections. And right after that, we'll hold the annual Meyer Award reception.
We've set up NICAR Commons, a space that will offer a chance for smaller, more casual conversations and special sessions developed by attendees. Look for that schedule on the conference website and mobile app. And for all the students, make sure you stop by a special session for you in International 8-9 on Friday right before lunch.
Thanks to each of you for taking the time and making the trip to join us in Atlanta. Get everything you can out of the next four days, and don't forget that the IRE website will offer tip sheets, presentations and more that you may miss.
Mark Horvit, IRE Executive Director