Data Journalist, Le Monde
Country of Origin: 
Le Monde
Date of Fellowship: 
Michaelmas term 2014
Research Paper Title: 
Global Database Investigations: The role of the computer-assisted reporter

Alexandre Léchenet has been a computer assisted reporter at Le Monde in Paris since 2011 and is currently a journalist fellow at Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism for Michaelmas term 2014. 

Alexandre is part of « Les Décodeurs », a Le Monde web based team of journalists focusing on fact-checking, stock journalism and data journalism. In the team, he mainly uses data to portray the news.

As a computer assisted investigator, he uses computers and the Internet to help investigation. Working on a variety of topics from web scraping doctor’s fare to uncovering police bonuses. He is also working on cross-border investigations like OffshoreLeaks.

After studying computer science in Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Université Paris 8, Alexandre joined a web-agency, La Netscouade, for two years. He did social media management and social media monitoring and worked on several projects, this included aggregating tweets from journalists and politics or producing Twitter map's.

Then, Alexandre joined OWNI in 2011. OWNI is a pure-player focused on web culture and data-journalism and was partner with Wikileaks. He was their data-journalist and project manager.

Alexandre has been teaching, mainly in Bordeaux journalism school IJBA since 2012 and is the co-host of Hacks/Hackers meetups in Paris. He also participates in « Nichons-nous dans l’Internet », a magazine about Internet culture and art.

Research Paper Title: 
Global Database Investigations: The role of the computer-assisted reporter

Databases are around us more and more. Each aspect of our life goes through server’s racks in datacentres: geolocalisation, money transfer, preferences. In a global world, databases gather information on people and companies from all around the globe. 

Investigate into large databases needs methods and tools. It also requires coordination between journalists from multiples countries. Using recent examples, the research project I’m writing will focus on cross border data investigation. It will analyse where data comes from, or how it was collected. It will benchmark existing or ideal tools to analyse and investigate databases, in a transnational context. And because all news needs to be read, it will also concentrate on the way to render the database and the finding of investigation to the reader.

Download ‘Global Database Investigations: The role of the computer-assisted reporter’ (PDF)

Internet Picks: 

1. The Upshot

The side-project of The New York Times is a great place for inspirationnal work and great news.

2. Migrants files

Migrants files is a good example of how data aggregation can make emerge a problem. A european team of journalists gathered informations about migrants dying on their way to Europe. 

3. Scoop by code by Scott Klein (Nieman Lab)

In a small but very precise article, Scott Klein shows how computer and code can help realize scoops, and will be the first to do so in the following year.