Data + Narrative

2019 Instructors

Maggie Mulvihill, Program Director

Maggie Mulvihill, a professor at the Boston University College of Communication, is the founder and director of Data + Narrative, the nation’s first comprehensive university-based data storytelling workshop. An attorney, Maggie teaches data journalism at Boston University, leading students to produce major investigative projects. She co-founded the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and is also a Faculty Fellow at Boston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, the board of the New England First Amendment Coalition, and in 2014, was named to the Federal Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee. She was a Nieman fellow in 2004-2005 at Harvard University.

Rochelle Sharpe, Associate Director

Rochelle Sharpe is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience. Now a freelance writer in Brookline, MA focusing on health and education issues, Rochelle has published stories in such publications as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Earlier in her career, she worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and USA Today, writing groundbreaking articles discussed at Congressional hearings, as well as on Oprah and the David Letterman show. A pioneer in computer-assisted reporting, Rochelle also has worked as a journalism professor, editor, and writing coach, and helped create an investigative reporting workshop for high school students at Boston University.

Charles Berret

Charles Berret is an Assistant Professor in the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. His research sits at the intersection of journalism and computer science, both developing tools and studying the emerging use of data-driven and computational techniques in newsrooms. Past projects in computational journalism include developing a tool to help journalists investigate hidden biases in web search results and advertisements, a project funded with a Magic Grant from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. He is the co-author (with Cheryl Phillips) of Teaching Data and Computational Journalism. Berret holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, an M.S.J. from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and an A.B. from the University of Michigan.

Frank Bi

Frank Bi is a storytelling engineer at Vox Media in New York City where he works on innovative storytelling projects for the web. He also teaches data literacy and visualization at Fordham University and is a Google News Initiative trainer, teaching journalists at newsrooms and conferences across the country on utilizing free journalism tools. Frank is the Asian American Journalists Association’s VP of Journalism Programs.

Jane Current

Jane Current is a digital educator who helps life science experts, software professionals, and government workers build technical and process skills.  She has consulted with Parexel, Fresenius, and Pfizer to improve FDA Quality Systems compliance.  She assisted City Year and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to implement 
new human resource information systems. She designs online learning programs that help groups collaborate and visualize data.   She has sundry degrees (BA, MA, MPhil) from Yale, where she was one of the first undergraduate women.  

Shawn Goulet

Shawn is a Geospatial Developer at the Cape Cod Commission in Barnstable, MA.  Ever since he was young, Shawn has been fascinated with the use and applications of maps from nautical charts on fishing trips to atlases on road trips.  These days, Shawn spends his days constructing web applications which visualize geospatial data. Shawn is an advocate of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). He lives in Bourne, MA with his wife, son and golden retriever.  

Sharon Hessney

Sharon Hessney is the graph curator, writer, and moderator for “What’s Going On In This Graph?” (WGOITGraph?), a partnership of the New York Times Learning Network and the American Statistical Association.  She has taught math and statistics to high school and adult students in Minneapolis and Massachusetts.  Being an avid newspaper reader, she developed this weekly, free online feature to develop student abilities to tease out the stories being told by graphs.  The feature uses New York Times graphs in which students can see themselves.  They discuss with their classmates and online with other students and teacher moderators what they notice and wonder plus create a catchy headline that captures the main idea of the graph.

Scott Hull

Scott is Director of Advanced Analytics at Takeda Pharmaceutical to support US Commercial Strategies including: Market Access, Multi-Channel Marketing, Patient Analytics, Patient Services, Lifecycle Analytics, and Field Force Analytics.  Over his nearly 30 year career in Pharmaceuticals he has done hundreds of presentations that depend on stories and visual elements to communicate the messages within data. His path to data science is inspired by statistics but fueled by real world experience earn throughout his career.  He and his team have partnered with the MSSP at BU over the past few years to provide real world data and experience to support the mission of MSSP.  Data, bolstered with real world acumen, is a powerful combination to create insight for stakeholders.  Insight, focused correctly, inspires action.

Kara Jackman

By day, Kara Jackman works as an Archivist at Boston University School of Theology Library wrangling old papers and preserving history. By night, she feverishly types away to meet deadlines as a freelance communications professional currently contracting with Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA Kids) in Dallas, Texas. In the last two years, she has raised over $70,000 for CCA Kids through her words and increased their media reach by 30 percent.
Her work has appeared in the Duxbury Clipper,, the non-profit newsletter for the Foundation for Faces of Children, and local, online sports magazines. Her interests are many and varied thanks to her four years at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. For good measure and financial practicality, she pursued a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Aaron Kessler


Aaron Kessler is a senior producer for CNN Politics, specializing in using data and document trails to unearth stories at the intersection of politics, the corporate world and the myriad of special interests wielding power in Washington.

Jennifer LaFleur

Jennifer LaFleur is data editor for The Investigative Reporting Workshop. She also and teaches data journalism at American University. Previously, LaFleur was a senior editor at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, managing data journalists, investigative reporters and fellows. She also contributed to or edited dozens of major projects while at Reveal, one of which was a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

She is the former director of computer-assisted reporting at ProPublica and has held similar roles at The Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is a former training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors and currently serves on the IRE Board of Directors. She has won for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues. She has trained thousands of journalists around the world in data journalism and investigative reporting.

Sharon Machlis

Sharon Machlis is the author of Practical R for Mass Communication and Journalism (CRC Press), host of InfoWorld’s Do More With R video screencast series, and admin for the R for Journalists Google Group. A past winner of the ASBPE National Gold Award for impact/investigative excellence, she is currently Director of Editorial Data and Analytics at IDG Communications (publisher of Computerworld, PC World and Macworld, among others). You can find her on Twitter (usually tweeting about R) at @sharon000.

Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan is a member of The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team. He was a co-author of the series “Boston. Racism. Image. Reality,” which was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting. He was also a co-author of the series “Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.,” which included a six-part podcast with some 8 million downloads. He was part of the metro staff that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. He joined the newspaper in 2006 as a breaking news reporter and in 2010 was named City Hall bureau chief. Prior to joining the Globe, Ryan wrote for the Associated Press in Boston, covered hurricanes and crime for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, reported for The Day in New London, Conn., and began his career at the Highbridge Horizon in the South Bronx. He has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He lives in South Boston with his wife and two children. 

Samantha Sunne

Samantha Sunne is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the recipient of three national grants for investigative reporting and a finalist for the Spotlight Fellowship, which aims to promote journalism along the lines of the Academy Award-winning movie Spotlight. She speaks at conferences, universities and newsrooms around the world, teaching digital tools and tech literacy for journalists. Her work has been published by the Washington Post, NPR and Reuters, and recommended by the Poynter Institute and the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

MaryJo Webster

MaryJo Webster is a data journalist at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, where she teams up with reporters to analyze data for stories across a wide range of topics. She and three of her colleagues were named as finalists for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for their series, “Denied Justice,” which revealed systemic flaws in how sexual assaults are handled in Minnesota. During her nearly 25 years as a journalist, MaryJo has also had stints at USA Today, the Center for Public Integrity, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Investigative Reporters and Editors and small papers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. For the past 10 years, she has also been an adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota’s journalism school. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in a suburb of Minneapolis with her husband and their 10-year-old twin son and daughter.

John Wihbey

John Wihbey is an assistant professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University, where he heads the graduate programs in the School of Journalism. He is the author of The Social Fact: News and Knowledge in a Networked World (MIT Press, 2019). His research and teaching interests include the intersection of news and social media; misinformation and media literacy; the use of data and data visualization in journalism and communications; and issues of policy relating to news and social media platforms. He is faculty co-director of the Co-Laboratory for Data Impact and a faculty affiliate with the Global Resilience Institute and NULab for Texts, Maps and Networks.

Lisa Williams

Lisa Williams is currently working at WGBH News, where she serves as the Audience Engagement Editor. She creates an informed and engaged community around the most important issues we face in our families, neighborhoods, our nation and our world.

She has run startups, been an MIT Media Lab fellow, worked at NPR affiliates, The Boston Globe/, helped out with the excellent Data + Narrative data storytelling workshops, and worked with dozens of organizations looking to create greater community engagement online and offline.

Margot Williams

Margot Williams is Research Editor for Investigations at The Intercept. Her career at the Washington Post, New York Times, NPR and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is one of the most respected in the investigative reporting world. During 14 years at the Washington Post, Margot was a member of two Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, for a 1998 investigation of D.C. police shootings of civilians and then again in 2001 for national coverage of terrorism. In the aftermath of 9/11 at the Washington Post and later at the New York Times, she investigated the network of jets and shell companies involved in the transport of terrorism suspects among secret prisons around the globe. In 2011, she analyzed the Guantánamo documents leaked by Bradley Manning for NPR and the New York Times. In 2017, “Trial and Terror,” a database and article series by Margot and Trevor Aaronson about terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, won the University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism and the National Headliner Award for Web or Interactive Project.

Joe Yerardi

Joe Yerardi is a data reporter at the Center for Public Integrity. In this role, he combines traditional reporting techniques with data analysis, visualization and programming to tell investigative stories. This is Joe’s second stint at the Center for Public Integrity, having interned on the Center’s data team in 2012. Before rejoining the Center, Joe covered a wide range of beats as the data reporter at inewsource in San Diego, California, and as the data editor at the San Antonio Express-News. Joe earned his undergraduate degrees in history and journalism at New York University and his master’s in journalism at the University of Missouri. Follow Joe on Twitter at @JoeYerardi.

Have a question or need more information?

Connect with Workshop Executive Director and Founder Maggie Mulvihill at Boston University:  |    617-353-4978

Register Today!