Hands-on data journalism training with a group of selected journalists and journalism students from the Balkan region held at the Best Western City Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria and supported by the Bulgarian Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.

The main goal of this intense knowledge sharing two day training, was to encourage participants to incorporate the regional open data in their work and create data-driven stories from the Balkan region.

The Chief Expert at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of Bulgaria - Milena Kovchazova, opened the event and presented the Bulgarian Border Dialogues project and the partners who made this project such a success.

The keynote speaker Alexenia Dimitrova - an investigative journalist for one of the largest daily newspaper in Bulgaria (24 Hours), presented her personal experiences with FOIA and the accessibility of data in the Balkans, and introduced practical ways how data can help discover stories behind the numbers.

Atle Staalsen and Liza Vassilieva from the Norwegian Barents Secretariat presented www.patchworkBarents.org, a sister-project of Patchwork Balkan. Their experience with combining data and journalism through data was a valuable asset for the data-curious participants.

Data journalism trainers - Crina Boroș, CAR trainer and the Jefferson Institute data journalism team Biljana Presnall, editor and Sanja Stamenkovic, data journalist, taught the participants, through active discussions and teamwork, the essential skills and free tools for data sourcing & collecting, data cleaning & filtering, mining for meaningful stories and ultimately the data visualization.

Ultimately it was presented the main project data portal (www.patchworkBalkan.org), which pools open data across the Balkan region and is equipped with ready-made tools for registered users to work with existing and upload new data sets, to create visual data displays, and to match them with reporting from the Balkan communities.
November 13, 2015