Newhouse students, faculty support data journalism project examining 2017 travel ban

How were people affected by the Trump administration’s 2017 travel ban?

That’s what Huffington Post reporter Rowaida Abdelaziz, supported by a fellowship from Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), set out to discover.

“I spent the last year collecting the numbers & uncovering the physical, mental & economic toll the ban has taken on hundreds of people,” Abdelaziz tweeted Jan. 25, when her article—“Trump’s Travel Ban Forever Changed The Lives of Muslims Around The World”—was published.

Out of the almost 900 cases Abdelaziz collected, there were hundreds of cases of parents separated from children or partners from each other, and more than 100 cases of medical hardship. “In nearly one-third of our data, a person impacted faced more than one extreme hardship due to the ban,” she tweeted.

Behind the scenes, Newhouse faculty and students had spent months helping to analyze and visualize the data. Nausheen Husain, assistant professor in the magazine, news and digital journalism and broadcast and digital journalism departments, spent over a year working with Abdelaziz. In December, students Yasmin Nayrouz, Reid Thompson and Annie Labarca joined the project and created charts to bring the data to life. They were supported by funding from the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE).  

“One of the topics I cover in our data journalism course is why certain datasets are missing, and how reporters with data skills can help make more data, particularly data around marginalized communities, open to the public,” says Husain. “I’m honored that three excellent students were able to join Rowaida’s team in making this data public, visualizing it and explaining its context.”

Data chart by Newhouse student Reid Thompson showing family separation and other results of 2017 travel ban
Chart by student Reid Thompson
Data chart by Newhouse student Yasmin Nayrouz showing visa wait times
Chart by student Yasmin Nayrouz
Chart by Newhouse School student Annie Labarca showing visa applicant refusals by country
Chart by student Annie Labarca