A look back at the MediaNumeric week in Warsaw
During the last week of February 2023, the third and final group of international students took part in the MediaNumeric training course in Warsaw, Poland. The University of Social Sciences and Humanities was the gracious host for the exciting week focused on data-driven journalism, creative storytelling and fact-checking. We couldn’t let the week go by without sharing the insightful, educational, challenging, but most of all fun experiences of our students Didi Baas (CB Haarlem/Sustainable Media Lab) and Marvin Ikoroha (TOI Diemen) and our colleagues Susannah Montgomery and Natalia Berger.
The project MediaMumeric (leading lector Joke Hermes), which started about two years ago, offered its final in-person weeklong intensive training program where students learn all about (1) exploration of multimedia data, (2) storytelling with multimedia data, and (3) tracking and debunking misinformation. Approximately 50 students from University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS, host) the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA, France), and Inholland, applied to be a part of this program. Ultimately, 16 students from Poland and four from France and the Netherlands were selected for participation.
An experience to never forget
Didi Baas: “I am still feeling honored to have been able to participate in the program! It has been a great opportunity to learn more about the topics that I consider to be interesting and important. This week has been incredibly interesting and inspiring, filled with lectures, workshops and events held by professionals and lecturers from Poland, France and The Netherlands. The main topic and case study of the program was the War in Ukraine. A topic with such importance and relevance left an impression on me, and showed me once again how important fact-checking and critical thinking skills are. During the program I have met and worked with a variety of inspiring and motivated students from France, Poland, Ukraine and the US. All with different study backgrounds, talk about interdisciplinary co-creation!”
Intense but rewarding training program
Indeed, it was very interdisciplinary! Trainers with impressive experience and skills helped students to explore what data can offer to those who know how to use it. Over the course of the week, students learned how to scrape when you need specific information, understand what a spreadsheet is telling you, visualise your story, check facts, and how to confront the ethical dilemmas you will encounter while working with data. However, our goal is not to create data scientists, but provide students a realistic and inspiring idea of what data-driven possibilities are out there for telling great stories.
This edition of the MediaNumeric training program coincided with the one-year mark of the War in Ukraine. As such, the MediaNumeric team decided to allocate half of our training time to a case-study project where students used data to craft nuanced and persuasive stories about the many lasting effects of this war. Together with her colleagues Kuba Piwowar (SWPS), Ewa Korzeniowska (SWPS), and Jacqueline Pietsch (AFP), Susannah Mongomery assisted the students' teams in creating these data stories.
Susannah Montgomery: “This week of storytelling was especially moving for me. I still vividly remember one year ago being in the AFP news offices in Paris for MediaNumeric when we found out this war started. This week, our new cohort of students took their journalistic and storytelling responsibilities very seriously when weaving together data-driven stories about the toll this war has had within Ukraine and beyond. From debunking human trafficking trends to understanding citizen perspectives on the energy crisis caused by the war, students took a thoughtful an multiperspective approach to the data they used and the stories they presented to our jury at the end of the week.”
What’s Next for MediaNumeric?
Over the coming months, the MediaNumeric team will launch the MediaNumeric Academy, an online course to develop crucial data-driven skills in content, journalism and storytelling. Building upon the physical in-person training courses in Paris, The Hague, and Warsaw, Natalia Berger is in the lead of developing the curriculum for this comprehensive online course. The future of content creation is data-driven. The MediaNumeric Academy will equip students, young professionals or anyone interested in the field of data-driven journalism, creative storytelling and fact-checking with the necessary skills to thrive in our digital age.