Introduction to Code for Journalists

Code can be an incredibly powerful way to get to a story quickly. If you want to understand how code is used in a newsroom to accelerate and enhance research – from collating and cleaning data to automatically monitoring public information – this course is for you. 

This weekend workshop is designed to be an introductory primer to learning code. Grounded in recent story examples, our trainers will explain the fundamental concepts and demystify the jargon to help get you started. 

Previous feedback for Introduction to Code for Journalists:

The course was very high quality … I have been raving about it to my colleagues


Course Outline

Through a series of practical exercises, we will provide a basic understanding of how computer programs are structured, guide you through the ways that code is used by reporters to find stories and aid investigations, and teach you how to write and run your own scripts. Exercises include building your first program, creating and scraping basic web pages and automating tedious and repetitive tasks.

We will also provide a guide to the most common programming languages to help you identify which would suit your needs and how to continue your learning after the course.

Day one
In the morning we’ll introduce people to what code is and we’ll learn some key jargon and concepts, and learn how to break down tasks into small parts. In the afternoon, we’ll write our first bit of code, and then run it. We’ll also learn how code is being used in newsrooms, and show some example stories which used code as part of the investigation.
Day two
In the morning we’ll learn about the code that underpins how websites work, and how to share, publish, and collaborate on code using GitHub. In the afternoon, we’ll learn more about how the web works, and how we can get data out of the web through APIs using code. We’ll then put it all together to write some code to scrape information from the web.
At the end we’ll talk about next steps for attendees to continue their learning, including guidance on which programming language to pick.

No previous coding experience is required. You will need to bring your own laptop.

About the trainers

Leila Haddou previously worked as data journalism editor for The Times and the Sunday Times in London, as well as investigations for the Financial Times and The Guardian. She has an avid interest in how technology can be used by journalists to assist with data-led reporting.


Max Harlow is a newsroom developer at the Financial Times in London. He has previously worked on investigations at the Guardian and at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He co-runs Journocoders, a group for journalists who want to develop technical skills for use in their reporting.