December 1, 2016

Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication joins Google News Lab University Network

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue's Brian Lamb School of Communication is joining the Google News Lab University to better prepare students for 21st century careers related to digital media.

“Purdue’s faculty will utilize the latest data journalism and storytelling innovations for teaching and research as part of the Purdue Data Storytelling Network,” said Sorin Adam Matei, professor in Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication and director of the Purdue Data Storytelling Network, which will coordinate the partnership and organize student and faculty workshops, training sessions and research partnership activities.

The Google News Lab University will develop and share a variety of journalism and digital media tools and curriculum for journalism professors and students around the world. More than 40 journalism schools globally are participating, and more are being recruited. The Purdue Data Storytelling Network will contribute and utilize related materials and curriculum with the larger network. Topics will include journalism trust and verification, immersive storytelling, data journalism, and data visualization and mapping. The Google News Lab University and the Purdue Data Storytelling Network relationship will start this spring.

“With this partnership we also are supporting Purdue’s ongoing efforts in competency-based education. We want our students to be the best not only in terms of intellectual training, but in terms of relevant and tangible skills,” said Marifran Mattson, professor and head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

Purdue has a history of putting data analytics-based techniques to work in new and emerging ways, says Gerry McCartney, Purdue’s vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer.

“At Purdue, we already are using big data to help our students succeed academically,” says McCartney, who also is Purdue’s Oesterle Professor of Information Technology. “The partnership with Google to teach our students how to do data-driven journalism, or just to better evaluate it as media consumers, is another area where we can benefit both students and society.”

This spring there will be a series of Purdue Data Storytelling Network workshops and training sessions, including a spring workshop dedicated to ethical use of big data at Purdue. The workshop will be organized in collaboration with Georgetown University and Stevens Institute of Technology. A second workshop will cover data journalism and will be organized with Google News Lab participation.

“The partnership helps our pedagogical efforts toward the idea of an education that is current, relevant, exciting and that prepares students for the labor marketplace,” Matei said. “It also will help faculty, researchers, and graduate students engage in relevant academic research.”

This program integrates STEM with humanities and social science education via tangible competency development, which also will be utilized by the new competency-based Transdisciplinary Studies program in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

“This new partnership promises to integrate data with storytelling in ways that help develop competencies needed for the 21st century digital economy,” said Jeffrey Evans, interim associate dean of undergraduate programs and learning innovation in the Purdue Polytechnic.

The Transdisciplinary Studies program in the Purdue Polytechnic is the first baccalaureate program of its kind in the nation and was announced last spring. Matei, a Transdisciplinary Studies program faculty fellow, is a founding member of the program. 

Purdue News Service: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Sorin Adam Matei, 317-416-5807, 

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