Fulbright in Portugal

Steve Doig in Lisbon August-December 2010

Lisbon skyline

Muito obrigado

I have many people to thank for our wonderful four months here in Lisbon.

Thanks to the Fulbright Portugal Commission in general and in particular to directora Otília Macedo Reis; Paula Lemos, who arranged all my appearances around Lisbon and Portugal; and Carla Silva, who helped me navigate everything from opening a bank account to buying train tickets. I especially appreciate the opportunity they gave me to address the prestigious Fulbright Brainstorms Conference at the Gulbenkian Institute.

Thanks to my students at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa for their interest and enthusiasm, and for their willingness to be taught a strange subject in English by an American who is unable to speak more than a few words of Portuguese. I promise to them that one day I will successfully pronounce “freguesia”.

Thanks to Dean João Sáàgua and the faculty of Nova’s school of communication for inviting me to teach this semester and making me feel welcome. I was honored by their invitation to give the semester opening address to the new journalism students at Nova.

Thanks most especially to Prof. Antonio Granado, who turned his class over to me and who worked closely with me this semester. His enthusiasm for crowd-counting (see this and this was particularly helpful! My only regret is that we never made it to a Benfica game where I could wear my Benfica hat.

Thanks to the professors at other schools around Lisbon and Portugal who invited me to talk to their students and colleagues: Helder Bastos at the University of Porto; Anabela Sousa Lopes at Lisbon Polytechnic; Paula Cordeiro at the Technical University of Lisbon; Rita Figueiras at the Catholic University of Lisbon; Luis Bonixe at the Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre; and Joao Figueira at the University of Coimbra. I appreciated their help and hospitality, and the evident interest of their students.

Thanks to the staff of the United State Embassy of Lisbon. I very much enjoyed the hospitality of Ambassador Allan Katz and Nancy Cohn, his gracious wife. I appreciated the attention and interest I got from press officers Abby Dressell and MaryAnn McKay. And I really enjoyed my visit to the Azores, hosted by Gavin Sundwall, the American consul there. As a journalist and voter, I’m often critical of my government. But as an American citizen, I’m grateful that my tax dollars are being spent very well by members of the diplomatic corps such as these.

Thanks to the staff of Traveling to Lisbon, the apartment agency through which we rented the amazing apartment in which we lived. They handled cheerfully the occasional problems, right down to calling taxis for us when needed.

Thanks in general to the people of Portugal for their hospitality and patience with this language-crippled American. And thanks to the wonderful local residents that we got to know, like Maria down the escandinhas, or Asim and Mohammad and Ali at “Taste of Punjab” farther down the escandinhas.

Thanks to Dean Chris Callahan and my colleagues at the Cronkite School for their support of my selection to the Fulbright program. And thanks to Emeritus Prof. Phil Meyer, the godfather of precision journalism, and Knight Chair Rosental Alves, who first exposed me to Portuguese in Brazil, for their recommendations of my application to be a Fulbright scholar.

Finally, I gratefully thank my wonderful wife, Ellyn, for her willingness to go with me on adventures like this one. Her enthusiasm for everything from making best friends with people of all cultures to her happy eagerness to try whatever strange food is on the menu is what made this trip so special. Thanks to her, we will be back in Lisbon one day soon.

Busy final weeks

No thanks to a variety of recent concerns and distractions, I’ve been bad about updating this blog. Now I’m down to my final hours here, so I’ll use this post to catch up.

Since mid-November, along with my weekly class at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, I’ve had a great time lecturing about precision journalism (and dining) elsewhere around Lisbon and across Portugal:

  • At the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, I talked to an auditorium full of journalism and communication students. A week later, a dozen of those students came to a two-hour lab where I gave them a hand-on lesson in using Excel to analyze crime data from Portugal.
  • Then I gave a talk to a small group of faculty and students at the Lisbon campus of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
  • Next was my first out-of-town lecture, a talk to a room full of graduate journalism students the Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre up in the mountains about three hours northeast of Lisbon. Afterwards, Prof. Luis Bonixe took me to a great meal at a restaurant decorated with lots of old pictures of bullfights. “I hope you like meat,” he said. Luckily, I’m quite the carnivore — the appetizer was corazón de toro and it went on from there!
  • A couple of days later I took the train two hours north of Lisbon to do a talk to journalism students at the Universidade de Coimbra, one of Europe’s oldest universities. Afterwards, Prof. João Figueira and colleagues took me to a huge lunch at the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo de Coimbra, one of a chain of 16 such schools across Portugal. The students prepared and served a fabulous meal.
  • My final big talk was in Porto, another train trip three hours to the north of Lisbon. The venue at the Universidade de Porto was the II Congresso Internacional de Ciberjornalismo focused on business models for online journalism, so I spoke about how data-driven investigative reporting can be attractive content for news sites. And once again, a marvelous meal followed when Prof. Helder Bastos took several of the speakers to a dinner of comida típica portuguesa. The next morning, I walked across the bridge to the south side of the Douro and did the tourist thing — an interesting tour of the Sandeman port wine cellars, followed by a tasting of two ports.

My last Fulbright appearance back in Lisbon was two nights ago, my final class with my wonderful Nova de Lisboa graduate students. I gave them an assignment to read various significant data journalism projects and write reports that can be shared with the class. We did a final Excel exercise, opening a New York Times list of what their critics call the “1,000 best movies” and turning it into a spreadsheet that can be sorted and summarized by year and decade. And then I finished by lecturing on “spycraft” methods for reporters to keep their confidential sources’ identities safe from prying eyes. Details on this and other exercises and lectures are here.

After class, the students invited me and Prof. Antonio Granado, my UNL colleague, to (yet another) fun dinner, held at a Chiado restaurant packed with students laughing, singing and clapping about the holiday break in classes. My ears are still ringing, but the pork, clams and potatoes dish was tasty, the conversations were good and the goodbyes were sad.

So now three duffel bags, a laundry sack, a carry-on and my laptop bag are all packed and waiting by the door. I’ll miss very much this fine apartment just below Castelo Sao Jorge overlooking downtown Lisbon, now decorated with Christmas lights. I’m happy to be heading home, but I know that Ellyn and I will be back in Lisbon one day soon. We have to — we left our hearts here.

Another march!

I had yet another chance to do crowd-estimating today. Lisbon hosted the NATO conference here Friday and today, an event that brought out many protesters. Working again with several of my students and my colleague Antonio Granado, we came up with an estimate of the size of the main protest march  that occured this afternoon.

As is the custom for such demonstrations in Lisbon, the protesters gathered at the Marques de Pombal circle, then marched down Avenida da Liberdade to Restauradores.

To estimate this crowd, we had to rely on counting the marchers as they passed by along the avenida. Our protocol was to count how many marchers passed by during 30-second periods, and taking these counts every two minutes. The reason for the protocol is to make sure that the counts were a random selection of the varying numbers of people who passed by; as happens with these marches, sometimes there are large clumps and sometimes gaps or only a few people going past. By using a rigid protocol like this, we avoid unconsciously influencing the numbers by taking counts only when dense or sparse groups were going by.

The front of the march reached my position at 3:55pm and the last of them passed at 4:40pm; thus, the march lasted 45 minutes. My 30-second counts ranged from as high as 300 at the very front of the march to as low as 10 persons during another spot. (No, I didn’t count to 300 for that first one. In fact, I counted about 150 during a 15-second period instead, a necessary fallback when a crowd is very dense. But all the other counts were made during 30-second periods.)

When the march ended, I took the average of the counts (about 68) and then multiplied by two to turn it into average marchers per minute. That answer was 135. I multiplied that by the 45 minutes of the march and got 6,750, which I rounded up to 7,000. I then added an arbitrary 1,000 to account (somewhat liberally) for marchers who may have left before arriving at Restauradores.

My estimate of 8,000 is well below the march organizers’ claim of 30,000 protesters. But there are reasons why the 30,000 claim is not credible.

One reason is this picture taken of the crowd by Antonio from above Restauradores after the last of the marchers reached the plaza.

The area filled by the crowd is about 5,000 square meters. A crowd with this density takes up about 0.7 square meters per person; in this case, that means the crowd area would hold about 7,000 people — not 30,000.

Those who believe the count of 30,000 is accurate cite the fact that the marchers extended the entire length of Avenida da Liberdade; as the front of the march reached Restauradores the last of the march was just leaving Marques do Pombal.

But Avenida da Liberdade is 1,100 meters long, and the street area used by the marchers is 20 meters wide. Therefore the rectangle which contained the march is 22,000 square meters. If every one of the marchers were tight enough to reach out and touch the person in front or next to them, they would use about one square meter per person. Thus it’s possible to have just over 20,000 marchers in Avenida da Liberdade at one time. But this march was not that packed together; as noted above, there were tight clumps and there were empty stretches.

So 30,000 is not credible. For the reasons cited above, I believe that an estimate of about 8,000 is realistic.

(POSTSCRIPT: Some will note that today’s crowd clearly was larger than the trade union march and rally of Nov. 6, and yet I estimated 8,000-10,000 at that event. I have to admit now that I was being overly generous in that earlier estimate. The crowd picture taken then showed maybe 4,000 people, and I doubled that estimate in order to account — way too much, I now believe– for those who wandered away before the march ended. All of which goes to show the importance of being not only realistic in these estimates, but consistent!)

Head-counting in Lisbon

I got a chance to do journalism here in Lisbon today. The Frente Comum de Sindicatos (Joint Trade Union Front) had organized a rally of government workers for Saturday afternoon. The rally was to protest planned cutbacks in salaries and benefits of public employees as part of austerity moves designed to bring Portugal’s budget into better balance. Not surprisingly, public employees complain that they are being asked to make the most sacrifices, and so the rally was designed as a show of solidarity in advance of a countrywide general strike planned for Nov. 24.

In my class at UNL on Thursday, we discussed crowd counting and particularly the obligation of journalists to do independent estimates of the size of political rallies. The problem with such rallies, of course, is that the organizers and the opponents often make wildly inflated or deflated claims about the size of the crowd. Knowing that the rally would be happening today, we decided to see if we could produce such an independent count of the size of the crowd. We did: The answer is below.

To do this estimate, student volunteers stationed themselves along the march route, which was down the 1.1 kilometer length of Avenida de Liberdade. It went from Marques de Pombal plaza where the marchers gathered in advance to Restauradores plaza for the rally at the end. The students gathered information about how many marchers were passing during various short time periods, like 30 seconds, and also how long it took the whole march to pass by. (See results below.)

At Restauradores, my UNL colleague Prof. Antonio Granado talked his way into an excellent vantage point above the plaza, a high window in a building overlooking the whole square. In advance, I had measured the area of the plaza in square meters, information that tells us how many people possibly could fit in the square under various densities.

The march began about 3:30, and the last marchers reached the plaza about 5:15. They marched VERY slowly. When the crowd finally gathered, Antonio took some detailed photos showing the extent and density of the protesters who gathered to hear the speeches from the stage that had been erected in advance.

Between Antonio’s photos and the ground-level observations from myself and the students, I estimated that perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 union members had participated in the march, and that about 5,000 of them had gathered in the Restauradores plaza to hear the speeches.

This estimate is well below the claims that some organizers were making about how many would take part — as many as 100,000 or more. That’s the problem with wildly over-estimating attendance in advance; reality-based counts can make it seem like an event was a failure.

In reality, the area in which the rally took place at Restauradores is about 5,000 square feet in size. A loose crowd in which everyone is arm’s length from those around them, a crowd in which it’s possible to move around without squeezing past others, needs about one square meter per person. As Antonio’s pictures and my ground-level observations show, this was a loose crowd. Therefore, the actual gathered crowd was no more than about 5,000 protesters. The estimate of perhaps 10,000 in the march makes the quite-generous assumption that as many as half of the marchers didn’t stay for the rally.

It will be interesting to see if some of the news media outlets in Lisbon and around Portugal pay attention to our estimate or just accept the inflated claims that will be made.

UPDATE: For those who insist our estimate of no more than 10,000 is way too low, consider this. One of my students, Eudora Ribeira , took very careful counts of the marchers during 30-second periods as they passed by her position on Ave. Liberdade. Her counts of marchers passing in those 30-second periods were 51, 40, 75, 52, 45, 20, 70, 52, 58, 70, 51, 49, 46, 28, 17 and 25. The average of those counts is 94 marchers passing per minute. The front of the march reached her at 16:02 and the last marchers passed her at 17:05, a total of 63 minutes. If you multiply 94 marchers per minute by 63, you get a total of 5,922 marchers, or a rounded figure of approximately 6,000. Another student on Ave. Liberdade, Rita Oliveira, also used the same passing-marchers method, and came up with a march estimate that was somewhat lower. By either method we used — counting marchers or measuring the rally crowd area — you can see the crowd could not have been larger than 10,000.

UPDATE: The newspaper Publico posted a long story from the LUSA wire service. Television also is interested. I was interviewed by the SIC (video here at the 8:00-minute mark) and TVI (video here at the 14:30 mark) news stations. And TV station RTP posted a brief version of the LUSA story about our count.

More head-counting!

FURTHER UPDATE: You can see some great aerial images of the rally on this Photosynth.com page. These are the aerial images produced by the AirPhotosLive.com crew that we used for estimating size of the rally crowd. And for those who want to compare rallies, here are images from the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall on August 28.

UPDATE: CBS News released our estimate of the crowd at the Stewart/Colbert rally: 215,000 people. See the CBS story and two aerial pictures. More aerial shots will be released soon.

Several readers have asked if I will be involved in estimating the crowd that turned out Saturday for the Jon Stewart/Steve Colbert “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington, DC. The answer is yes; once again, I’m working with the AirphotosLive.com crew, as I did with the Glenn Beck rally in August. See this post and this one for descriptions of my methodology for the Beck rally.

We’re getting the aerial images and doing the crowd estimates for CBS News so I can’t release my estimate yet. But I’ll discuss it in the next day or so when the images are released to the public. So watch this space!

Lesson 2

I gave my second lesson Thursday evening to my class of 22 Universidade Nova de Lisboa graduate students. They are a brave group, willing to be taught by someone who can barely utter pleasantries in their language, much less lecture.

First we talked about the homework assignment: Use the internet to find out as much about my background and personal life as they could. This exercise will lead to a lesson about the role of public records in a democracy and ultimately about getting and using such records here in Portugal. The students did a good job; along with the easy-to-find professional information, several of them tracked down my home address, former addresses, the names of various relatives, mention of my hobbies (cooking!), and more. They also confirmed some things I am not: A registered sex offender, a contributor of money to politicians, a former NFL linebacker, an artist, a band leader, etc. They also learned not to trust everything they find about someone: Several people-finder databases that are otherwise accurate have me living some years ago in a Florida city where in fact I never lived.

The next topic was, for journalism students and journalists in general, the dreaded M-word: Math. I told them that the bad news is that journalists absolutely must be able to do math. (But the good news is that it’s pretty much grade-school math!) I did a Powerpoint lecture on calculating such newsroom math terrors as percentage change, crime rates and the cost-of-living index. I also handed out my “Newsroom Math Cheat Sheet”, one page with just about all the math a reporter needs to know.

In the second half of the class, I introduced the students to using the Excel spreadsheet program for computer-assisted reporting problems. I gave a quick PowerPoint overview of Excel’s tools for sorting, filtering, transforming and summarizing data.

The students then downloaded a spreadsheet I had prepared of the number of crimes reported in 278 Portuguese cities during 2009. (I got the raw data from the excellent Instituto Nacional de Estatística site.) I showed the class how to sort by the number of crimes, how to filter it to show only selected records, how to write a formula to total the crimes in each city, and so on. (I’m saving until next class a demonstration of how to use pivot tables to summarize data by categories.)

When class ended, three students told me they were having a problem making my addition formula work. I belatedly realized that it was because they were using the Portuguese version of Excel and I was demonstrating using the English version. D’oh! Instead of =SUM, the function here is =SOMA. (=AVERAGE is =MÉDIA, =MEDIAN is =MED, etc.) So the next day I ordered the Portuguese Language Pack for Microsoft Office, and I also found a table of English<->Portuguese translations for Excel functions. Perhaps next week I’ll confuse my students less!

(The fact of learning about this problem AFTER the lesson was over prompted me to send an email note to my students telling them they are being too polite in class. I told them they need to speak up when a problem occurs or if they don’t understand something I am saying or demonstrating. Some teachers like students who sit quietly in class. Not me — I prefer lots of feedback.)

Finally, I also sent out an email with a two-part homework assignment. The first part is a 12-question newsroom math quiz. The second part is a 7-question Excel exercise using the crime data. Both parts are to be answered online. (If you are interested, you can see the questions here as a Word document.) I also created for the students a tipsheet for answering the Excel questions. I look forward to seeing how well they do.

Our miradouro

A miradouro is a viewpoint, a fine place to see the city of Lisbon laid out below. Thanks to its many hills, Lisbon has many excellent miradouros. But one of the best, in my opinion, is a private place — our apartment just below the Castelo Sao Jorge. We can sit on our balcony, sipping a strong bica (espresso) or a crisp vinho branca, and look out at scenes like these:

Full moon setting at sunrise

Sunset over Lisbon

Another sunset

Cristo Rey statue seems to float on fog

A rare (so far) rainy day in Lisbon

Working hard…

My life here as a Fulbright professor was pretty easy for the first month — some time spent preparing for upcoming talks and classes, but plenty of opportunity to enjoy the sights, food, wines and people of Lisbon. But the real work has now begun, and this past week was very busy for me.

It started on Tuesday with the first of two days of briefings and orientation for the seven American students who are here this year to do graduate research or work as English teaching assistants at various universities across Portugal. The students are a wonderful group, bright and engaging. The program was led by Otilia Macedo Reis, executive director of the Fulbright Portugal Commission, program coordinator Paula Lemos and program assistant Carla Silva.

Carla, Otilia, me, and Paula

They introduced the students to the adventures of living and working in Portugal, right down to the intricacies of getting bank accounts and visa extensions.

A highlight that night was dinner at the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo de Lisboa. Housed in a newly renovated building, the school is a marvel of classroom labs for every culinary and hospitality skill from cooking to bartending. It is one of 16 such government-funded schools around Portugal, a country that knows an important part of its economy is based on tourism. The dinner, cooked and served by students, was fabulous, with a crab appetizer, a fish course, excellent wine and a choice of great desserts. We even got a demonstration of opening a bottle of vintage 1995 port using a red-hot clamp around the neck, followed by a splash of ice water to crack the neck off without crumbling the cork. And the port was delicious!

The next day was a briefing for the Fulbrighters at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon. To my surprise, I knew the assistant press officer, Maryann McKay, who led the session. She had been tasked with escorting me around Brazil about three years ago when I was on a visit there sponsored by the State Department. Maryann and the other embassy officers who talked with us were professional and genial, a smart and capable group. I was proud of this outpost of my country.

A real treat for me was a private chat with Ambassador Allan Katz. Our careers overlapped in Tallahassee, Florida, in the early 1980s, when he worked for the state insurance commissioner and I covered state government for the Miami Herald. We swapped “where are they now” stories about some of the reporters and politicians we both knew.

After a goodbye lunch with the Fulbright kids who were getting ready to scatter across Portugal, it was showtime for me. I walked over to the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, where I was the guest speaker at the welcoming session for new students in the communications school. The UNL communications faculty is rightfully proud that their students have higher college preparation test scores than those of almost any other field of study. Before a gathering of about 80 students, I spoke for 30 minutes about journalism as an important and exciting career that is facing many challenges, and how they should prepare for those challenges. I was pleased by their attention, and spent another half hour afterward talking with those who had questions.

My next big Fulbright moment came Thursday evening — my first class with the UNL journalism graduate students. The 24-seat computer lab was packed.

My class of graduate students

After an introduction by UNL Prof. Nelson Traquino, I spent the class session giving the students a broad overview of precision journalism and what I planned to teach them this semester. (Those who are interested can download my PowerPoint slides.) There was some anxiety among the students about the fact that I necessarily would be teaching in English; they were concerned that they might be graded on how well they wrote in English. I assured them that no part of their grades from me would depend on them writing proper English. After all, the most complicated thought I can express in Portuguese is “Onde fica o casa de banho?

As we finished up, I gave them some assignments:

  • Send me an email answering some basic questions about themselves and their journalism interests.
  • Use internet sources to dig up as much background information about me as they can find. I told them to dig in online public records for my address, my full name, my birthdate, my home value, etc. Do I have any lawsuits against me? Any political contributions? Am I on the sex offender lists? (Hint: NO!)
  • As we prepare to talk about getting public records in Portugal, download and read the “Legal Leaks Toolkit” for European journalists. And for a good history of journalism education in Portugal, read this academic article by Professors Manuel Pinto and Helena Sousa of the Universidade do Minho.

I look forward to learning more about them, and the next class. It should be fun!

City of music

Lisbon continues to surprise and delight us. Yesterday was a lazy Saturday, with Ellyn and I sitting around the apartment reading and (in her case) watching a replay of her Boston Red Sox beating the hated New York Yankees. (For my futebol-obsessed readers, this is American baseball’s equivalent of the most heated World Cup rivalries.) At mid-afternoon, though, we started hearing bass drums booming from Praça da Figueira, the large plaza 250 meters (and about 400 stairsteps!) down the hill from our apartment. It sounded like a marching band’s drum line and we wondered what was going on, but just kept on with what we were doing.

After about an hour, though, the sound changed. Despite the distance, we could clearly hear the accordions, guitars and singing coming from the bowl of the central city below. I couldn’t understand the words, but the rhythm of the music and the high-pitched singer sounded to me very much like zydeco, the country music of Louisiana’s Cajuns. Roused from our laziness by curiousity, Ellyn and I trudged down the hill to see and hear what was going on.

We discovered it was a festival of Portuguese folkloric music and dance. On a raised stage at the north end of the plaza was a troupe of about 30 musicians and dancers, men, women and children dressed in the traditional clothes of Portuguese peasants of earlier centuries.

Folklore troupe

Spilling across the plaza was an audience of hundreds of local residents, many in traditional dress themselves, watching and clapping along with crowds of mesmerized tourists. The way the dancers circled and stepped reminded me of square dancers at an American hoe-down; the similarities of folk music and dancing everywhere are striking.

The music and singing we heard was much more upbeat and happy-sounding than the plaintive fado, the Portuguese national musical genre that is featured in all the tourist guides to Lisbon. But fado is a bit, well, morose for my taste. Consider these lyrics (in English) from the Turismo de Portugal site:

O Fado“, by Aníbal Nazaré

You asked me the other day if I know what is Fado
I said I did not know. You were surprised.
Without knowing what I was saying, I lied to you
And said I did not know, but now will tell you:
Cursed souls
Lost nights
Bizarre shadows
Love, jealousy
Ash and flames
Pain and sin
All this exists
All this is sad
All this is Fado.

I fear that a night on the town at one of the fado houses will make me head to the 25th of April Bridge to jump into the Tagus River!

Well, maybe not. Too much else is joyful in the music we hear across Lisbon. A couple of weeks ago we were wandering around the grounds of the Castelo São Jorge that overlooks the city. In a small patio area under the shade of a grove of oak trees we found several dozen people listening raptly to the voices of a soprano and baritone

Beautiful music in a beautiful setting

singing show tunes in Portuguese and English, accompanied by a pianist. It was an unexpected hour of lively music.

Another fun example. A few days ago we heard coming from down in the plaza below what sounded like a high school pep rally, with coordinated shouting and cheers from dozens — hundreds? — of voices. It went on for much of the day and we had no idea what it was all about. Another revolution underway?

The next day we were walking around down in the city when we heard more of the shouting coming from the Rossio plaza. We hurried over to see two groups of young men and women, many of them wearing the traditional formal black school uniforms. The two groups stood across from each other on both sides of the busy street. One group would loudly chant a derisive cheer and point in unison at the others, who would laugh and jeer back at them.

Students chanting cheers

And then the other group would respond in kind. Back and forth it went. It turns out that this was part of praxe, the Portuguese custom of initiation rituals for bringing freshmen into their new academic life. It reminded me of the days of required wearing of a freshman beanie at Dartmouth, or the hazing of fraternity pledges (though with less alcohol consumption.)

As I write this, the folk music and dancing festival continues for a second day in the plaza below. The church bells are ringing. And Ellyn is playing songs from “Les Miserables” on the stereo. If only Les Miz would come to Lisbon while we are here! A city of music, indeed.

Fulbright work

Ellyn and I have greatly enjoyed the free time of our first month here in Portugal, exploring the different neighborhoods of Lisbon, sampling the food and wines, visiting the standard tourist sites, and learning to use the Metro, the buses and the regional trains. But my professional life here is about to get busy.

The first of my weekly four-hour sessions for master’s students at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa is next week. I have been working steadily on preparing for this class by gathering Portuguese and European data, and attending a briefing by the census experts at the Instituto Nacional de Estatística.

And on Sept. 29 I will give a talk on “The New Challenges of Journalism” as part of the welcoming orientation for first-year communications students at UNL’s School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

In addition, the excellent staff of the Fulbright Portugal Commission is arranging opportunities for me to talk with students at other universities in mainland Portugal and the Azores, and to do workshops in computer-assisted reporting with professional journalists in Lisbon and elsewhere. Some of these events will be open to the public, and I welcome anyone who is interested to attend and ask questions.

I’ve added to this blog a schedule of my Fulbright activities, which I will update as new items are added and details about time and location are decided.