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.
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