Data You Can Use
Press Release

Data Day Offers Insights on Using Data to Tell Stories and Effect Change

Keynote Speaker Aaron, Williams, Washington Post, says “go deeper” with Data, and new MKE Indicators offer benchmarks for progress in Milwaukee

By - Oct 30th, 2019 11:16 am
Washington Post, Investigative Data Reporter, Aaron Williams offers the keynote address at Data Day, “On Data and Visual Storytelling.” Photo courtesy of Data You Can Use.

Washington Post, Investigative Data Reporter, Aaron Williams offers the keynote address at Data Day, “On Data and Visual Storytelling.” Photo courtesy of Data You Can Use.

Milwaukee, October 30, 2019—On October 22nd, the Data Science Institute at Northwestern Mutual hosted the fifth annual “Data Day: No Stories without Data, No Data Without Stories,” organized by local nonprofit Data You Can Use. Data Day is a city-wide gathering of neighborhood leaders, data scientists, government leaders, and funders designed to share innovative and effective practices in using data to understand and take action on pressing community issues.

“Data Day is an opportunity for leaders, from neighborhoods to universities, to better understand what data is available, the implications of data on community revitalization, and how to increase connections between research and practice,” said Katie Pritchard, Executive Director and Founder of Data You Can Use.

Data Day included the launch of the new MKE Indicators. Selected based on best practices across the country, and vetted by neighborhood, city, philanthropic and corporate leaders, MKE Indicators represent data articulated as being of great importance and interest to the greater Milwaukee community. Created in partnership with the Community Development Alliance, the MKE Indicators are intended to help residents, planners, policy makers and neighborhood organizations to plan, document and explore key pieces of information about their neighborhoods. Launched by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Zilber Family Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation and LISC Milwaukee, the Community Development Alliance aims to build cross-sector collaboration to improve the quality of life in Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Aaron Williams, Investigative Data Reporter for the Washington Post, offered the keynote address, “On data and visual storytelling.”  Williams provided three examples from his work to highlight main points. He discussed how his research on the distribution of African Americans in the US over the last two-hundred years can be used to help people tell their own stories. He also looked at homicide arrest rates in major cities and how he was able to improve the acquired data sets and share the improved data with others. His last example related to data on the opioid crisis and how getting the initial data was the hardest part. By merging two data sets he was able to tell a more powerful story.

Williams then facilitated a panel of local journalists including Edger Mendez, Senior Reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, Ashley Luthern, Reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Tarik Moody, Digital Strategist for Radio Milwaukee.

At the end of the day three finalists presented their “Data Dream” to a panel of judges, and two were selected to have their dreams fulfilled. The first award went to the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence to work with Data You Can Use to research gun shop sales in order to crack down on illegal sales through “straw purchases.”  The second award went to Lindsay Height’s Walnut Way to research housing trends to create a neighborhood housing strategy. Their data dream will be fulfilled by Northwestern Mutual’s Data Science Institute.

Five-minute educational “Ignite” presentations throughout the day were presented by Code for Milwaukee, Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee Succeeds, The Data Science Institute, and the City of Milwaukee.

Data You Can Use

Data You Can Use is a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization. We help people access data and make it useful in improving community conditions. We help connect people who need data to people who have data and assist in accessing, analyzing, translating, interpreting and presenting data. We can help you ask the right questions to get the right data, put it into a local context, present it visually and put it to work in addressing issues important to you. We subscribe to the principles of the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and work to democratize data by building local capacity, sharing best practices and helping users sort through the data to surface, explain and address issues of concern. We know this takes technical expertise, knowledge of local context, the ability to convene and collaborate with multiple stakeholders and trust.

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