Wilson Center’s Science & Technology Innovation Program

EVENT: Data Journalism and Policymaking: A Changing Landscape

In Commons Lab, Governance on July 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm
Data journalism handbook

Data Handbook from The Guardian

What is data journalism? Why does it matter? How has the maturing field of data science changed the direction of journalism and global investigative reporting? Our speakers will discuss the implications for policymakers and institutional accountability, and how the balance of power in information gathering is shifting worldwide, with implications for decision-making and open government.

Wednesday, July 30th, 10:00am – 12:00pm,

5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center



Tweet your questions @STIPcommonslab

Follow the event on twitter #datajournalism

Read the report Art and Science of Data Journalism here.


Kalev H. Leetaru is a is the 2013-2014 Yahoo! Fellow at Georgetown University, a Council Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government, and a Foreign Policy Magazine Top 100 Global Thinker of 2013. For nearly 20 years he has been studying the web and building systems to interact with and understand the way it is reshaping our global society, and his work has been featured in the press of over 100 nations and fundamentally changed how we think about information at scale and how the “big data” revolution is changing our ability to understand our global collective consciousness.

Alexander B Howard is a writer and editor based in Washington, DC. Howard is a columnist at TechRepublic and founder of “E Pluribus Unum,” a blog focused on open government and technology. Previously, he was a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, the Ash Center at Harvard University, the Washington Correspondent for O’Reilly Media, and an associate editor at SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com.


Louise Lief is a journalist and media educator. From 1998 to 2012 she was the deputy director of the International Reporting Project (IRP) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She designed and directed programs and launched initiatives to engage reporters and editors in a wide range of issues, and to explore how technological change impacts international newsgathering. Previously, she was a diplomatic correspondent and senior editor for U.S. News and World Report, and a journalist overseas based in Europe and the Middle East, contributing to a variety of news organizations, including the New York Times, CBS News “60 Minutes,” The Christian Science Monitor, and many others.

The Wilson Center
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC
Directions: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions

This event is free and open to the public. Please allow time on arrival at the building for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required.

Individuals attending Woodrow Wilson Center events may be audiotaped, videotaped, or photographed during the course of a meeting, and by attending grant permission for their likenesses and the content of their comments, if any, to be broadcast, webcast, published, or otherwise reported or recorded.

Verily Challenge: Refining Truth in Big Data

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

We live in the Information Age.. or the Disinformation Age. Finding out the truth in the vast amounts of contradictory information is becoming increasingly difficult for each of us. Can a coordinated collective effort be effective in quickly discerning true answers to key questions?

Please help us to find out through participating in our event this Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13th.  No experience is necessary!


Visit http://veri.ly/ for more information on how to participate.

Accurate information is life-saving in extreme situations such as natural disasters. This fun challenge is a pilot to prove feasibility of timely verification. The same platform will soon be used to gather evidence during natural disasters, which will enable more effective disasters response. Your participation will help design the best platform.


We designed the Verily Challenge to test this. We will post questions, like the examples below, on the platform covering different locations around the world.

Examples are:

  1. Can you prove that a displayed picture was taken from London Bridge this morning?
  2. Are there any skateboarders on the Burnquist Mega Ramp today?

You will earn points and observe the collective progress as the competition goes on. Best participants will be acknowledged with certificates.

Have a question in mind? Send it to us and we may include it in the competition.

Enter your email to be notified of the Verily challenge at http://veri.ly/

If you have any questions or comments before the challenge please email: contact@veri.ly

Privacy and Surveillance in the Digital Age

In Governance, Uncategorized on June 16, 2014 at 8:45 am

In light of the anniversary of the Snowden leaks the Wilson Center held a public event on Surveillance, Security and Trust. It’s becoming clear that our regulatory frameworks are severely outdated in regards to current and evolving technologies. In addition, there is a schism between the way older and younger generations view privacy. At the Commons Lab we asked several of our 20-something employees what they thought about privacy and surveillance in the Digital Age.

Are there differences in this country between the way young people see privacy and the way older people do? 


Generational Divide. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Female, Age 20: Absolutely. There are perception differences across a wide spectrum of issues between young people and older people. Personally, I think that the culture and environment that the younger people have grown up in and adopted creates a lack of privacy. For example, with social media, text messaging, and other recent technologies, our lives are never really private. Additionally, with available technology, we continue to hear about how our government can listen and see everything. Although we might not support it, we have grown accustomed to hearing such things, which conditions us to accept a lack of privacy.

Female, Age 22: There is a definitive difference in the way older Americans and younger Americans view privacy. As younger Americans trade their personal information for digital convenience, older Americans are more reluctant as a demographic to participate on the Internet with the same openness. Younger Americans have become accustomed to clicking ‘Accept’ to fine print attachments, often unaware of the degree of privacy they are relinquishing to quickly participate. A good metaphor of this is the oft discussed “American Dream.” It is certainly arguable that in generations past, it was the private ownerships of a private home surrounded by a white picket fence that symbolized success, marking a private space to conduct private affairs. Now, younger Americans gladly share pictures and stories publicly on the Internet depicting what happens in these spaces, offering up the details of their lives for public validation. I think younger Americans are simply willing to share more with a wider circle, but want to feel that the circle they share it with it still under their jurisdiction. Older Americans, on the other hand, may not be concerned with sharing at all with such an audience.

Female, Age 28: Mainly we don’t care. While I’m not considered a digital native I still came of age during the digital revolution and the idea that someone knows my whereabouts at every moment just doesn’t bother me personally — that is, until I think through the greater implications to society and government oversight.  Many of my friends and I follow the rule, “Don’t post it if you don’t want your grandma to read it.”

Male, Age 20: Yes, I would guess that there probably is. Particularly, I expect that the younger generations are more accepting of how commonly their electronic information is shared around the world. We have grown up with it as such a ubiquitous part of our lives that you can’t help but recognize it and move on. For my own part, I simply assume that anything I do on the internet can, and will, become public information. Once you take that as fact, then it becomes just like any other public forum and you act accordingly. I feel that this is an attitude more commonly held by our age group and one that separates us from the opinions of our parents.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 609 other followers