Lam Thuy Vo Named to New Role to Strengthen Data Journalism Curriculum

  • By Newmark J-School Staff
Lam Thuy Vo

Lam Thuy Vo will take on a new role as as data-journalist-in-residence at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism beginning June 1. An adjunct at the school for seven years, she will work closely with the department head, Professor Sandeep Junnarkar, to further develop the data journalism curriculum. She will also teach in the fall and spring semesters and use her extensive industry network to advance opportunities for students.

“I cannot wait to find ways to make data journalism more accessible to people of all backgrounds,” Vo said. “Data has become one of the most important ways for reporters to investigate the systems that govern our lives, but the barriers of entry to doing this kind of journalism abound. I want to develop jargon-free curriculums and materials that can ease people of all technical skills into this realm so they can succeed and push for change in the industry.”

“I also want to help students think about gathering and analyzing data in new ways,” she added. “How can we creatively find information on communities who are marginalized and whose lived experience is often not recorded in meaningful or ethical ways?”

Since 2017, Vo has been a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News. In that role, she has explored how excessive quality-of-life complaints led to the over-policing of minorities, how badly constructed algorithms helped spread hate-speech and warped our understanding of politics, and how changes in immigration enforcement drove immigrants into the arms of fraudulent lawyers.

Previously, she led teams and reported for The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, and NPR’s Planet Money, telling economic and political stories across the U.S. and throughout Asia. Her work has been nominated or won awards more than 30 times. 

She has shared her research about the social web with institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Columbia, and Data and Society and has written a Python book about her empirical approach to finding stories in data from the Internet. Outside of her job, she has worked as an educator for a decade, developing newsroom-wide training programs for institutions like Al Jazeera America and The Wall Street Journal and workshops for journalists in more than 10 countries.

To build on her commitment to help the industry diversify, she developed and co-administers a slack community for journalists of color and co-created a resource guide for journalists of color looking for career growth, salary data, and demographic breakdowns of newsrooms and training opportunities.

Vo graduated with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with a major in New Media and has a degree in German with Italian Studies from University College London.