Matt Carroll, formerly with The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, joins the School of Journalism as Professor of the Practice. He will co-teach Telling Your Story with Data with Prof. John Wihbey this spring.
Carroll joins CAMD following a distinguished career at the Boston Globe, where he was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into the priest abuse scandal and was featured in the Academy-award winning movie “Spotlight.” In the movie, he was played by actor Brian d’Arcy James. For the past two years, Carroll has run the “Future of News” initiative at the MIT Media Lab. He is a graduate of the Northeastern School of Journalism.
Carroll will be anchored in the College of Arts, Media and Design and working across the university on the new Data Storytelling Initiative, bringing together media-driven data science, data visualization and cutting edge journalistic tools to shine a spotlight on today’s knottiest problems, building analytical frameworks and crafting narrative, understanding, advocacy and dialogue for societal impact. The initiative will link faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers across the university with media partners, professionals, policy makers and industry. Under the direction of School of Journalism Director Jonathan Kaufman, the Data Storytelling Initiative recognizes that the explosion of media, technology and social networking has changed the way we process information. Understanding a complex world requires integrating data science, analytics, visualization, and design with traditional techniques of effective journalism – research, verification, narrative, fairness, balance, and storytelling.
Carroll will work with faculty, students, and media and industry partners in an interdisciplinary effort to use data to better explain our world. Elizabeth Hudson, Dean of CAMD, stated, “Through teaching and initiating projects with Northeastern developers, designers, gamers, data scientists, engineers, humanists and business experts, Matt’s focus will be to support Northeastern’s and CAMD’s preeminence in data-driven fields, extending across multiple disciplines. He will also run conferences, meetups, and hackathons with key internal and external partners designed to broaden our understanding of journalism and its place in our world.”
“I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be working with the students and faculty at Northeastern,” said Carroll. “The school is a world leader in teaching journalism, and I hope to add to that distinction. Journalists’ interest in using data for storytelling continues to expand rapidly. That’s great, because there is more data available than ever before, as well as entirely new toolboxes of software for dealing with data. Understanding how to use data to communicate is an essential 21st century literacy.”
Jonathan Kaufman commented: “From politics to climate change, crime to poverty, campaign finance to sports, data is transforming the way we tell stories about the forces, systems and relationships that shape global culture. In a world of public debate today that is increasingly fact-challenged, where public debate at time seems immune to the facts, storytelling with data is our chance to reset the public debate. We are going to change the way people see the world, and make them understand the world better.”