Pssst. Have You Got Five Minutes? 10 NICAR lightning talks… (New Conference Idea)

10 NICAR lightning talks to guide you through cats, statistical resampling, fear of math, and more by Shan Wang.

From the post:

This year’s NICAR conference was in sunny Denver, and as promised, the sessions offered a little (or a lot) for everyone, from journalists looking for guidance on a stalled FOIA processes to those in search of advanced Python training to those who need advice on refining their interactives for mobile.

To break up the intensity of the sessions, NICAR also puts on the delightful lightning talks: five-minute presentations from attendees on topics of their choice, voted on by the NICAR community. The ten talks this year ran the gamut, and despite their length, were packed with useful tips and practical tools (cats featured prominently), as well as ideas for broadening how we think about data-driven journalism. Below are the talks from this year.

The page I link to above has links for the authors and the videos embedded.

Here’s a quick list:

  1. I Improved My Math Fluency, And So Can You by Ryann Grochowski Jones
  2. Solve Every Statistics Problem with One Weird Trick by Jonathan Stray
  3. Let lookup save you from the boring, repetitive work you’ve forgotten you’re even doing by Chris Groskopf
  4. Automation in the newsroom by Ariana Giorgi
  5. Regular Regular Expression Exercises for Regular People by Dan Nguyen
  6. Map tiles are dead; Long live (vector) tiles! by Ken Schwencke
  7. How to read 52 books in 52 weeks by Nicole Zhu
  8. What I learned working on Failure Factories by Adam Playford
  9. Let’s Talk About the Future of Interactive News Content by Gregor Aisch
  10. Cats and Stats by Jennifer LaFleur

New conference idea:

What if the presentations at a conference were all lighting talks? With full papers and longer videos posted to YouTube?

So that speakers would skip the history, which you likely already know. Skip the lead up to what they are about to show you. And basically cut to the most interesting bits of their presentation in five minutes!

If you are captivated by the “lighting” version, then you can watch the video, read the paper, etc.

You could cover more lighting talks in a day and thus increase the value of the travel dollar for every attendee.

If that sounds too short for your idea, remember:

If you can’t fit your idea on the back of a business card, you don’t have a clear idea.

If that sounds unfair, remember that Richard Feynman demonstrated why the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch with an O-ring and a glass of ice.

It took Feynman 47 seconds to do that demonstration.

If anything, 5 minutes to explain your idea is overly generous.


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