SQL for Journalists

    What do you do when Excel is too slow or restrictive for your data analysis but advanced coding is still a steep mountain to climb? This is when SQL, the lingua franca of database managers, will power up your data-driven reporting.



    Goldsmiths, University of London
    27 January 2017 - 28 January 2017


    Full price: £275
    Student: £155

    Book your place

    PLEASE NOTE: We will confirm this course once the minimum number of people have booked.

    Course Outline

    In this two-day Structured Query Language (SQL) training for journalists, you’ll learn hands on how to clean large datasets, tease out stories from numbers and text, create and update your own records and join tables for investigative reporting. 

    Course Outline

    Why should journalists learn SQL of all data analysis tools? If you’re ready to make the move to intermediate data analysis, this is the workshop for you. Designed to take you over the technical hump in class and set you on an energetic data-driven reporting path, this relational database manager will oomph your tabular analysis skills. You will treat your tables like any human source and learn to interview them, curate the information and exploit it for story-telling with precision and speed.

    Crina will be showing you how to create databases, import various file types, talk to the data, build your interrogation, cross-examine results and biases, clean digital dirt and combine different tables for deeper accountability reporting.

    Day 1: An Introduction to SQL Server Management Studio

    It’s like Excel, but on steroids! We’ll start with the basics: creating a file cabinet and importing various file types. We’ll then build queries to interview digital sources and move on to join tables, deepen your investigation skills and find accountability-driven angles or colour for storytelling. We’ll wrap up with SQL tips and hacks.

    Day 2: Become a database manager

    On the second day, we’ll create a database file from scratch, edit and update it, as well as perform essential data cleaning techniques for precise reporting. We’ll also talk about filing data requests, negotiating for data and rules of responsible computer-assisted reporting journalism. You may bring your own data for confidential technical advice and assistance.

    Why SQL?

    SQL is a relational database engine that doesn’t just add power and speed to your data analysis, but it also connects data for in-depth reporting. It is also a filing cabinet that can store all the data your organisation can hold. A very user-friendly and logical language, it has a low learning curve and has been translated for PC, MAC and Linux.

    About the Trainer

    Crina Boroş is a freelance reporter and an international data-driven journalism trainer.

    She has used data analysis and statistics to reveal cartels in and abuses of UK’s fishing industry for Greenpeace UK, minimum wage rights’ abuses for BBC Newsnight, networks of HSBC clients hiding money in Switzerland at ICIJ, breaches of vulnerable groups’ rights for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the hypocrisy of war propaganda at Exaro News. She is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and an offspring of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.


    And what you said about Crina at the Summer Conference:

    • Very knowledgeable, but down-to-earth and communicated in a very accessible and humorous way. Gave great real world examples and tips.
    • Inspiringly easy, well taught - demonstrated how powerful these tools can be.
    • Learned a lot and very easy to follow.
    • Never used it before. The explanation was clear and easy.