Talk by Surbhi Bhatia on Storytelling with Data

Storytelling with Data


Surbhi Bhatia

The Mint

15:45 hours – 17:15 hours, 30th April 2020 (Thursday)

Venue: Zoom link will be sent to registered participants

26/C, Electronic City, Hosur Road, Bangalore

About the talk: The covid-19 pandemic has encapsulated all that is going around us in a simple phrase – ‘flattening the curve’. In math talk, it is an optimisation problem of distributing covid-19 cases over time, with healthcare system capacity acting as a binding constraint. However, expressed that way, it is of little use to a layperson whose shoulders the onus of flattening the curve lies on.

This is where data journalism steps in. Acting as an alliance between news and numbers, the field is fast emerging to serve many purposes including fact-checking claims, tracking indicators and quick analysis of current affairs and policy announcements. As the lines between journalism, programming, statistics and data analysis blur, the primary task of a data journalist is to tell data-stories, mostly with the help of visuals that appeal to the larger public.

The aim of the lecture on data journalism would be to provide a panoramic view of what goes behind the production of data-stories, especially on newsroom timelines. The session will throw light on the process of curating the story, along with the whys and hows of topic selection and arriving at final results. In addition, the lecture will cover developments in the field using examples and illustrations of stories in the West and in India. We will also be covering the different kinds of stories, based on different kinds of data, from numbers and text to image analysis that is possible today. Along with this, we shall be discussing the various skill-sets and tools that are typically looked for in a data journalist.

Speaker Bio: Surbhi is a data journalist with Mint. Prior to working at Mint, she was a researcher at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) and Ernst & Young (EY). She has also researched on short term projects with the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). Her interests include working at the intersection of law and economics, policy issues in governance, public health and public finance. At Mint, she works on telling stories with numbers and visuals. She holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Delhi and Master’s degree in Public Policy from St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai.

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.