Alexandre Gonçalves is a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is interested in data journalism and the use of computational methods to understand media ecosystems. He has an MSc in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. As a Google Journalism Fellow, he worked at the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project. He is currently an associate researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media. In Brazil, he worked as a Science reporter for mainstream media publications and as a software developer.
Modern reporting is increasingly reliant on using data as source of evidence. Fortunately, many government agencies release their data openly on the web, but unfortunately much of this data is presented in a frustrating and byzantine manner. Data about US government spending, for instance, is open but available as a clumsy CSV file with hundreds of columns and millions of lines. Gonçalves and his project partner Allison McCartney want to address this problem by creating open.contractors, a Web dashboard that will allow journalists to analyze, visualize, and interact with contractor data from the Department of Defense. The final product will create a pipeline to take journalists from query to embeddable visualization in only a few clicks.