30 Minute Skills: Data Cleaning 102

Registration Now Open

Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 | justin@nefac.org

The New England First Amendment Coalition recently launched a monthly educational series featuring short, practical lessons on journalism and the First Amendment.

The goal of the program — called “30 Minute Skills” — is to provide reporters and other citizens knowledge they can use immediately in newsgathering, data collection, storytelling and other areas of journalism and First Amendment law.

The lessons will be provided in a 30-minute format to accommodate the demanding schedules faced by many working in New England newsrooms.

The program is free and open to the public. Registration for each lesson is required.

Data Cleaning 102

February 26 | 12 p.m.

This is the second of two introductory lessons on cleaning datasets obtained online or through public records requests. Before attending this class, it’s recommended that you first view Data Cleaning 101. By attending this second lesson, you will:

• Advance your data cleaning skills with OpenRefine.
• Learn how to import dirty data from websites and increase memory in OpenRefine.
• Build your facet and clustering skills.
• Learn how to split and merge data.

Requirements Prior to Class

• Download OpenRefine (free) software.
• Download the following datasets: (1) Employees.csv (2) Franken.csv
• Access to: Analyze Boston

About Your Instructor

MAGGIE MULVIHILL | Maggie Mulvihill is a veteran investigative and data journalist, journalism educator, news entrepreneur and impassioned defender of our right to know. Her data journalism students have been honored with 10 regional or national journalism awards since 2011 as well as being named finalists for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists. An attorney, Mulvihill is co-founder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. In 2014, Maggie founded BU’s summer workshops, Data + Narrative: Data-Driven Storytelling. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, the board of the New England First Amendment Coalition, was a 2004–2005 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and was a 2014-2016 member of the Federal Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee. (Photo Credit: Molly Hamill)

Recent 30 Minute Skills

Data Cleaning 101 | The first of two introductory lessons on cleaning datasets obtained online or through public records requests. Instructed by NEFAC’s Maggie Mulvihill, a professor at Boston University. By completing this lesson, you will: (1) understand what data cleaning is and why it’s necessary (2) learn about the free tools available to help clean data and (3) begin building your data cleaning skills.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Paul and Ann Sagan, The Boston Globe, WBUR, Boston University and the Robertson Foundation.