Columbia Journalism School’s Mark Hansen discusses Modern Statistics and the Modern Newsroom on Wednesday, November 17, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Sign up for free!
Hansen’s talk is about ‘the adventure of being close to the stuff the world is made of’, and, today, that ‘stuff’ is abstractions by data processed through algorithms on its way to taking action in the world. Journalists working today are expected to report both on and with computation.
Data and algorithms constitute systems of power, and journalists have taken up the challenge of helping judge their fairness. How are people and situations represented in data? Do algorithmic systems treat everyone equally? Who was involved in the design of these systems? Were voices left out?
The closer a journalist can come to understanding the nature of how and why data and algorithms are applied—in short, the fundamentals of statistical inference, the better they can inform the public about their effectiveness.
Mark Hansen will discuss attempts to connect journalism and statistics. Connections that bring much-needed formal technical training to journalism, deepening the profession’s capacity for finding and telling stories in a world awash in data and the artifacts of statistical work. These same connections introduce investigative and reporting skills to statistics, creating new forms of practice for the field and opening new career paths.
For nearly three decades, Mark Hansen has been working at the intersection of data, art, and technology. Currently the director of the Brown Institute at Columbia Journalism School, Hansen was previously a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles holding appointments in the department of statistics, department of design media arts, and department of electrical engineering.
He has been awarded eight patents and published more than 60 papers about data science, statistics, and computer science.