“A day of very hard work and learning how to create a story by searching in data sets,” Geesje van Haren explains. In short, this is the data bootcamp employees of the regional broadcasting company can join on the second day of the NL Media Event.

The day is managed by teachers of Open Eyes, a training college for research journalism, founded by Van Haren. By the end of the day you will have obtained an insight on the data-bank with which you can bring European news to the region. “And then you can start creating stories.”

Fifteen years ago Geesje Van Haren founded, an online platform for open journalism. In the meantime the company blossomed into a media company with three divisions. “Training, producing and facilitating”, according to Van Haren. Open Eyes is the training college for research journalism, Small Stream Media is the online magazine and then there is VersPers Events, the branch which Van Haren uses to organise events. “At the data bootcamp in Zeist in effect two branches come together. The organisation is supervised by VP Events and the teachers of Open Eyes take care of the training.”

European themes

During the event it is all about finding stories for regional broadcasters from data about European subjects. “We draw from present-day European themes in the region. For instance the climate. What influence does the climate have and on what parts of Europe? And we’ll be looking at monetary flows. By the end of the day we will be able to see to which regions a lot of European money flows and to which regions only a little. Or where a lot of money is being spent and where a little.”

A hard day’s work

It is not essential to have knowledge of data to be able to follow the bootcamp. That’s what you will be picking up on the day, as there’s quite an art in reading these Excel sheets. Van Haren: “But you must enjoy numbers and be capable of recognising stories, have a feel for them. But we have made it all easy accessible. You won’t need to look for the data on your own, we shall familiarize you with all the numbers. However, you will have to bring your own laptop and be prepared to do a hard day’s work. If you aren’t, there’s no sense in coming,” Van Haren laughs.
The bootcamp will be led by Luuk Sengers. This research journalist and media trainer is the founder of Story-Based Inquiry with which he developed a structure for research journalists to create their stories. “A very good trainer,” says Van Haren. “I am sure we shall see some beautiful story ideas developing, which will help research journalists to progress further.”