“Unlocking Open Data for Storytelling”


Mike Sarasti, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Miami, and Rebekah Monson, Co-Founder of Whereby.Us and The New Tropic, spoke on “Unlocking Open Data for Storytelling” to the second workshop of The Kopenhaver Center Leadership Fellows Program on Nov. 18.

Their presentation was designed to assist attendees to navigate the world of data storytelling. Sarasti and Monson shared free open source databases, google products and other analytic tools to help communicators easily navigate the world of data and analytical statistics to help frame their and storytelling and share with their audience “real time” statistics in a visual and artistic manner and engage audiences into through a different visual perspective.

Sarasti is charged with driving innovation, process improvement, collaboration, and customer service across municipal government. He has been instrumental in the advancement of civic services, 311 technology, and open data. He has more than a decade of government experience evaluating government processes, analyzing performance metrics, understanding user needs and improving the usability of resident services. Over the years, he has built relationships with key partners such as Code for America, the White House’s United States Digital Service (USDS), the Knight Foundation, various local universities, and others throughout Miami’s civic tech community.

Monson co-founded Code for Miami, a Code for America volunteer civic hacking brigade, and Hacks/Hackers Miami, a grassroots meetup for designers, developers and journalists who aim to reinvent media. With these organizations, she plans hack events, mentors, teaches, and builds stronger and more inclusive communities through technology. In 2015, her Code for Miami brigade helped spur Miami-Dade County to launch its first open data portal and to start implementing open data policy. WhereBy.Us is a local media startup that makes journalism and events to engage and connect curious locals in their cities. She runs product and editorial, so works at the intersection of her company’s content strategy, technology, and business goals. Her company’s first brand, The New Tropic, launched in Miami in January 2015.

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