The Hadooponomics Podcast, Episode 15 – Impacting Change with Big Data: What the Panama Papers Can Teach Us

hadooponomics15Our 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.


Listen to the Show:

Use the embedded media player to stream the full episode or you can subscribe to our iTunes and Stitcher channels. The full transcript of the interview is also available.

PodcastHadooponomics Podcast Home | Subscribe via iTunes | Stitcher Radio | Transcript

Additional Resources

Find Mar on Twitter @Cabralens

Subscribe to Mar’s investigative newsletter

About Arcadia Data:

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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.

About James Haight

James Haight is a principal analyst at Blue Hill Research focusing on analytics and emerging enterprise technologies. His primary research includes exploring the business case development and solution assessment for data warehousing, data integration, advanced analytics and business intelligence applications. He also hosts Blue Hill's Emerging Tech Roundup Podcast, which features interviews with industry leaders and CEOs on the forefront of a variety of emerging technologies. Prior to Blue Hill Research, James worked in Radford Consulting's Executive and Board of Director Compensation practice, specializing in the high tech and life sciences industries. Currently he serves on the strategic advisory board of the Bentley Microfinance Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to community development through funding and consulting entrepreneurs in the Greater Boston area.
Posted on November 2, 2016 by James Haight

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