Structured Journalism and Network Mapping Hackathon

September 12-13, 2015 TMMOB Chamber of Architects, Karaköy, Istanbul


Hackathon Documentation

We build our networks!

Hackathon September 12-13 2015

TMMOB Chamber of Architects, Karaköy, Istanbul


Journalists and civil society organizations publish their research results as plain text in an article or report, and often without the research data itself. News articles, press statements and reports are produced as raw texts and a short while after the publication date, these texts lose their relevance and thus their significance. Likewise, reusing these texts is rarely the case.

Yet, such texts contain highly valuable embedded information, which, in fact, can be fragmented and structured into meaningful pieces of data and become reusable. Then, information can be used with variety of new contexts, and can be transformed into a constantly growing resource of references. One of the ways of working in this form, requires a practice of relational or network mapping.

Network maps offer us a “common language”, that is both visual and mathematical. We can use it to study systems that may differ in their nature, appearance, or scope. For example, the actors and relationships in a news article or a report could be mapped as a network diagram. Then such a diagram can be fed into a software which could make an analysis to reveal central actors, indirect connections, organic clusters and bridges that are otherwise hidden in the data. Thus, as we turn our network maps into a graph database, we can always query actors, browse their relations, make comparisons and discover interesting relations within our work.

Structured journalism and data journalism, despite their likeness, are fundamentally different from one another. Data journalism aims to create stories from data via visualization techniques, whereas structured journalism aims to transform the plain text into structured data in order to make it reusable.

Structured Journalism and Network Mapping Hackathon likewise aims to model semantic networks on topics in the field of journalism and civil society, compile relatively big data from available sources into graph databases, and generate network maps. Code savvy participants will work in the guidance of mentors for modeling, and they will improve their understanding of complex networks and network analysis as well as develop tools that can be utilized by everybody.

The hackathon has four parts:

1. Network Modeling

Expertise of mentors will meet with technical knowledge of the participants during the data modeling process. This part consists of using pen and paper and identifying main actors and critical material relations within the field in a collective brainstorm. Urgent questions and how to answer them will be discussed and designed.

2. Development of tools

On the basis of colelctive modeling done in the previous stage, data compilation tools will be developed. Participants will work on either publication platforms or data mining tools that will programtically generate graph data according to the needs. First prototypes of the tools are planned to be finalized in the first day of the workshop and be polished in the second day of the hackathon. This way we will also find some time to debate what the beta versions should be like, how to improve and further develop these tools.

3. Mapping

The compiled data will be imported to the Graph Commons platform and will be made into interactive network maps, which will be reviewed, read and analyzed, and published on the platform.

4. Presentations

At the end of the second day, all participants’ work will be presented and debated publicly. The data models of the work, it’s visual language, and the compilation tools will be evaluated and discussed.


The workshop will be in Turkish, please go to the Turkish Hackathon page for qualifications, the application form, and other resources.


First Day (Sep 12 Saturday)

09:30 - 10:00 Registration & Coffee

10:00 - 10:45 Kickoff

  • What is structured journalism? (10min)
  • How to make network maps? (15min)
  • How to read and analyze network maps? (10min)
  • Q&A (10min)

11:00 - 12:00 Topics, mentors and forming groups

12:00 - 13:00 Break

13:30 - 18:00 Work

  • Brain storming and network modeling with mentors (1 hr)
  • Tool Development and Mapping (4 hrs)

18:00 - 19:00 First Prototypes Review

Second Day (Sep 13 Sunday)

09:30 - 10:00 Coffee

10:00 - 11:00 Prototypes Review

11:00 - 16:00 Project Refinements

17:00 - 19:00 Public Presentations

Topics, Mentors, Data Sources

Mentors are invited to advise and participate in the modeling of networks on their respective topics. They will point to important types of actors in the field, which of their properties is interesting, and the critical relationships between the actor types.

Data sources could be plain text (news article, report etc.), semi-structured document (HTML table, wiki pages etc.), or full structured data source (APIs, databases etc.). While web scraping could be used for plain and semi-structured content, APIs and databases will be programmatically queried.

Please recommend data sources to

Ecology and Right to the City

Data Sources

Internet Freedom

Data Sources

Open Government and Laws

Data Sources

Regional Public Policies and Investments

Data Sources

Monopoly, Corruption, Transparency

Data Sources

Media Ownership

Data Sources

Labor: working conditions, struggles, and resistance

Data Sources

Woman Rights

Data Sources

LGBTI Rights

Data Sources

Education Reform

Data Sources

Immigrant Rights

Data Sources


Data Sources

Sustainable Agriculture & Food

Data Sources


Data Sources

Publication Platforms


All tools created in the workshop belongs to its creators and expected to be licensed under a free and open source software license. The network maps or graphs created on Graph Commons belongs to its authors and licensed with Creative Commons International 4.0.

Hackathon Contact

Coordination for participants

General Contact