Our newest episode of Hadooponomics takes a break from the technical and micro side of Big Data to focus instead on how Big Data can inspire change on a global scale. We have Mar Cabra on the show, one of the investigative journalists responsible for breaking the Panama Papers. Exposing the Panama Papers was one of the largest journalism leaks in history, revealing tax corruption amongst leaders, politicians, and celebrities through the leak over 11.5 million files and 2.6 TB of data. The Panama Papers shocked the world and put faces to a topic that was known but rarely addressed before.
Mar Cabra talks about how the Panama Papers provide one of the best examples of the ways in which technology and data are transforming the world. If journalism is about making sense of the world around us, she says, we need to understand the electronic world, and that starts with Big Data. Mar and the other journalists who had a role in leaking the Panama Papers inspired a global journalistic revolution, with worldwide collaboration and communication made possible through open sourcing the data.
We continue the conversation by exploring how data can be used to tell a story, to influence people, and to affect change. Mar walks us through some of the cloud-based technologies she and her team used to open source the database of Panama Papers documents, and some of the open source communication tools she set up to allow for worldwide communication between journalists. She discusses the importance of decentralizing data, creating a platform to collaborate and share findings, and being able to explain why the data matters. These concepts in journalism have striking parallels to the world of Big Data, where self-service discovery and creating empowered “citizen data scientists” who can collaborate easily on a shared platform are vital to deriving value from Big Data at an organization-wide level.
We end our conversation by looking forward at what’s next in journalism, Big Data, and the lingering effects of the Panama Papers. Technology should help us find things we didn’t know we needed to look for, Mar says, and journalists should use advanced software and machine learning tools to find stories that can change the world – and then share them.
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About Arcadia Data:
Arcadia Data unifies visual analysis, business intelligence and data discovery; it runs natively on your Hadoop clusters without data extracts. Its easy-to-use browser-based visualizations deliver secure access for hundreds of concurrent users across hundreds of billions of rows in near-real time.