• Dianne M. Finch

    Dianne Finch
  • Journalism

    Dianne Finch
  • Tech & Science

    Dianne Finch
  • Events

    Dianne Finch
  • Career Overview

    Dianne Finch


Dianne landed at Elon University in 2013 toting a suitcase packed with books on finance, business and economics. As a Donald W. Reynolds business journalism fellow - her mission was to introduce new courses on business and economic reporting to the communications curriculum.

Following that first semester, Dianne added more courses to her repertoire, including media writing, web publishing, broadcast news writing and a graduate course on data mining and visualization.

Dianne's passion for data journalism led to a book contract with Taylor & Francis. Big Data in Small Slices is slated for publication in June 2016.

Dianne adds small slices of data exercises to all of her writing classes. She introduced Tableau Software to her Elon courses in 2013. By 2014, she added a new course - data mining and visualization - to the IMedia program. Graduate students build stories around data trends in the class using Tableau, the D3 JavaScript library and Google API tools.

As a journalist, Dianne has covered finance and business for Bloomberg News, demographics for the Associated Press and health and science for the NPR affiliate in Concord, New Hampshire. She also covered technology for Mass High Tech magazine and science for other publications as a freelancer. Her stories have been aired or published by NPR, Marketplace, Bloomberg, Weekend America, WBUR, NHPR, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chicago Tribune and trade magazines.

Before joining Elon, Dianne spent about five years at MIT - initially as a Knight Science Journalism fellow. KSJ then hired Dianne to design and build the first multimedia training program for the fellowship and to oversee design and development of the program's new website.

As KSJ's multimedia manager, Dianne introduced seasoned journalists to audio, video, web development, data mining and visualization, still photography and documentary production. She hired instructors for some workshops and conducted others herself.

Dianne's journalism career started in 2000 when the Associated Press hired her to dig into Census 2000 data using her computer programming skills. During the contract, she created relational databases from raw data - using SQL to filter, analyze and produce small sets of data restructured for reporters. She wrote her first story for the AP - a data-driven story on racial integration. The story, based on an algorithm she wrote to analyze integration in neighborhoods, was published nationally. This confirmed Dianne's hunch that her programming and data background might open doors in journalism. So, she packed her bags and headed for New York City to hone skills in journalistic writing - leaving there with an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University -- adding to her B.A. in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Before the AP project, Dianne spent several years in the software industry - starting out as a computer programmer. To make life more interesting, she studied Japanese and then headed to Japan on a fellowship. Once completed, she set her eyes on Tokyo, and was hired by ASI Market Research - Nielsen - to replace an outdated mainframe computer system. Under Dianne's tenure as IT director, ASI's paper-based market surveys went digital, the mainframe was replaced with a client-server system, and the digital survey-to-data process worked in Japanese and English for the first time.

That position gave Dianne the opportunity to travel throughout Asia where she became fascinated with the variety of cultures and how they played out in the workplace - exacerbating her long-held desire to move into journalism.

To contact Dianne, send email to: Dianne Finch

Story Samples


To contact Dianne, send email to: Dianne Finch


Knight Science Journalism multimedia at MIT

Following the nine-month fellowship, Dianne stayed at KSJ and built a multimedia training program from scratch. She researched still and video camera technology - and enrolled in a videography course at Columbia University. After purchasing semi-professional video cameras, DSLRs, microphones, recorders and all related software - she set up the systems and designed workshops for fellows. Dianne taught some courses herself and hired instructors to conduct others.

Knight Science Journalism studies at MIT

Dianne spent nine months as a fellow at MIT. She worked in a biochemistry lab at Harvard, traveled with MIT geologists to Nevada and California to study rocks, visited doctors and patients in India to observe new treatments for the mentally ill in rural villages, and joined her fellow fellows at a biology research facility in the rain forest of Costa Rica.

Data Analysis & Visualization

When data visualization became popular, Dianne was drawn to it. Using her programming background, she began digging into Google visualization tools in 2008. Since then she's learned to visualize using JavaScript/D3, Tableau and other tools. She teaches data visualization to graduate students at Elon University. Dianne has created visualizations for clients as well. Her first published story as a reporter originated from a data analysis she conducted using SQL programming.

Hospital Quality in Massachusetts

See Hospital Visual Here

Bermuda's Population Changes

See Bermuda Population Visual Here

A Few Student Samples

See Visuals by Dianne's Students

Audio Visual Technology

Learned to shoot and edit video by participating in several week-long sessions with Columbia University's Duy Linh Tu.

Studied audio production and storytelling at Columbia University under John Dinges - a former NPR executive and journalist.

Computers and Software

Skills useful to journalism and data visualization include: non-linear editors for video and audio production, Adobe products, JavaScript, D3, JQuery and Tableau for data mining and visualization. HTML5 and CSS3 for web development. SQL and relational database technology for storing data. Before her career transition to journalism she designed and wrote programs for businesses, ran an IT department and then moved into software market research.

To contact Dianne, send email to: Dianne Finch


Commonwealth Fund - Healthcare Economics and the Road to Affordable Care

2015 - One of 16 journalists selected to study healthcare finance at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) facility in the Berkshire Mountains

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication - AEJMC

2015 Data Visualization Panelist - San Francisco

2014 Data Visualization Panelist - Montreal

Boston University - 2015 Storytelling With Data

Taught advanced Tableau to journalists and other professionals.

2012: Conducted data visualization workshop for science journalism graduate students.

Donald W. Reynolds Business Journalism

2015 - Conducted data visualization workshops for business journalists

2014 Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Inc. - SABEW

Conducted workshop on data and visualization.

2013 Bermuda Government - SAGE Commission 2013

Designed and produced visualizations for educating Bermuda's public about economic and demographic changes

Harvard University Extension

2012 and 2011 Guest instructor - presented sessions on multimedia storytelling to journalism students.

2011 World Conference of Science Journalists - Doha, Qatar

Co-produced data analysis and visualization panel for journalists. Also conducted workshop.

2011 National Association of Science Writers - NASW

Conducted workshop on data analysis and visualization at the 2011 National Association of Science Writers conference.

To contact Dianne, send email to: Dianne Finch

Career Overview

Assistant visiting professor at Elon University

Teach media writing, business reporting, broadcast news writing, web publishing and data mining and visualization.

Data Consultant

Data visualization project design, data mining, analysis and development. Data analysis and visualization training.

Multimedia manager at MIT's Knight Science Journalism program

Built the first multimedia training program for seasoned science journalists and oversaw development of KSJ's website. Researched and selected video and audio equipment and related software.

Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT

Data Journalist

Started at the Associated Press as a news data editor in 1999. Covered health, science, technology, finance and some politics for news organizations including NHPR, Bloomberg News, Marketplace Productions, Mass High Tech magazine and others. Interviewed presidential candidates, scientists, doctors, construction workers, prisoners, police, governors, hairdressers and many CEOs. My most memorable interview was with Shimon Peres in 2005.


Created consulting firm to assist software companies with adjusting products for Asian languages and cultures. Also dug into competion in Japan for individual firms and helped locate partners.

Product Manager

Ran cross-functional teams at FTP Software and Segue Software. Set up a technical support units in Korea and Japan. Presented Java-based products at Asian conferences.

IT Director

Hired by Tokyo-based ASI Market Research (Nielsen) - to oversee design and implementation of a networking system to handle market surveys and research in Japanese and English. Discarded the legacy mainframe and replaced it with a client-server model.

Computer programmer-analyst

Designed and wrote computer programs in Washington and Massachusetts. Created relational databases and wrote computer programs to handle business applications.

M.S. in journalism - Columbia University

B.A. in economics - University of Massachusetts at Boston

Certificate in Object-oriented Programming - Clark University

Courses in data visualization and Japanese - Harvard University

To contact Dianne, send email to: Dianne Finch