"The Gamma: Programming Tools for Data Journalism" by Tomas Petricek





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Published on Sep 28, 2015

Computer programming may not be the new literacy, but it is finding its way into many areas of modern society. In this submission, we look at data journalism, which is a discipline combining programming, data analysis and traditional journalism. In short, data journalism turns articles from a mix of text and images into something that is much closer to a computer program.

Most data journalists today use a wide range of tools that involve a number of manual steps. This makes the analysis error prone and hard to reproduce. In this video, we explore the idea of treating a data driven article as an executable program. We look how ideas from programming language research can be used to provide better tools for writing (or programming) such articles, but also to enable novel interactive experience for the reader.

The project also makes data journalism more accountable and reproducible. We let the reader verify how exactly are the visualizations generated, what are the data sources and how are they combined together.

Tomas Petricek

Tomas is a computer scientist, book author and open-source developer. He wrote a popular book called "Real-World Functional Programming" and is a lead developer of several F# open-source libraries, but he also contributed to the design of the F# language as an intern and consultant at Microsoft Research. He is a partner at fsharpWorks (http://fsharpworks.com) where he provides trainings and consulting services. Tomas recently submitted his PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge focused on types for understanding context usage in programming languages, but his most recent work also includes two essays that attempt to understand programming through the perspective of philosophy of science.


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