from the classroom

We of the data journalism crew at Tilburg University believe in combining theory with practice. Students are expected to engage in projects as part of their course work: hidden behind the four main courses of the Data Journalism programme there is a world of exploring and manipulating data. These are the stepping stones to the world of Big Data, the first steps of our exploratory journey through the craft of understanding and manipulating data. Depending on the course, the focus lies in storytelling, visualizing, reporting or uncovering stories. The panorama is diverse! Throughout the academic year 2012/2013, interesting and relevant projects have mushroomed – here you’ll find a selection of the projects we are most proud of.

From the ‘Journalistic Data-mining’ course

Crisis in perspective: Making sense of the big data jungle, using data mining tools with the goal of revealing a journalistic story. crisismall

This project emerged in the framework of the journalistic datamining course taught by Hille van der Kaa and Afra Alishahi. The authors explored the impact of the financial crisis on the global distribution of prosperity. With a context-free, interactive world map, users are able to explore and visualize the data, leaving room for their own interpretation.

From the ‘Precision Journalism’ course

Watching the watchers: The issue of surveillance (cameras) from different perspectives: Technology, law, EU regulations, privacy, and data protection.


This project is the brainchild of an all-ladies team formed by Adriana Homolova, Alice Corona, Chunchen Dai, Susanne Finken, Beata Hato, and Goda Stogyte. It emerged with the course Precision Journalism taught by Stefania Milan and Grzegorz Chrupała. As a form of investigative journalism, precision journalism focuses on exploring certain journalistic topics with support of qualitative and quantitative research methods.



From the ‘Transmedia Journalism’ course

Data journalism meets transmedia publishing: the focus here is on creating a transmedia project out of journalistic data research.

This year we teamed up with 80 students from a Tilburg-based school of vocational training (ROC). Together we investigated the happiness factor of people living in Tilburg. Based on the results of a questionnaire, we created a transmedia story which was published in the Dutch newspaper Brabants Dagblad. Furthermore, we organized an exhibition of photo portraits in the city centre of Tilburg.


From the ‘Data Journalism Practice’

Data Journalism Practice is a strange “course”. In fact, we send our data journalists in training to the field, in order to practice their skills in a real newsroom. In doing so, we bridge the divide between thinking and doing data journalism. These are the best projects from the 2012/2013 academic year.



“Where do our tuition fees go?”
Chasing real data to find out where and how the university spends the tuition fees: Marlies de Brouwer and Susanne Finken combined interview data and information from the first money stream of Tilburg University, and uncovered critical information. The article, published by Tilburg’s student magazine, Univers, is available in Dutch, English and as a Prezi.


The influence of the Google Transparency Report

Adriana Homolova wrote a piece on the Google Transparency Report, which was published in NRC next. Please read the full article in English here.



Interpol’s little secrets: Notices are Red…but not transparent!

Alice Corona scraped Interpol‘s “most wanted” database… and guess what lies in its thousands of rows and columns? Stay tuned for more details and the forthcoming publication!