The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Finding Stories with Data – Online, Intensive

You’ve heard people talking about data journalism, but don’t know where to start? Then this course is for you.

Class size: max 12 people.
Class duration: 1.5hrs x 4 days
Level of participation: very high. Hands-on, screenshares, regular Q&As and participants contributions.

In four workshops you will learn what data is available and how to find it, how to interrogate it and find facts or patterns in it which will lead, inform and enhance the stories you tell.

Guided by one of our data trainers, with decades of experience pushing the frontiers of data-driven investigations, you’ll come away with the skills to start gathering, interviewing and presenting data for your own reporting projects.

There are lots of courses which teach data journalism skills, but no others have the specific focus on using these tools and techniques for investigations and holding power to account that is the Centre for Investigative Journalism’s speciality.

The course is composed of four sessions of around 1.5 hours each, scheduled over 4 consecutive days, with exercises and recommended reading to augment your learning between sessions. Signed-up participants must attend all four sessions.

Classes for this course are capped to keep them small and ensure practicality and interactivity.

“A really great introduction to using data to tell stories. Lots of very practical tools and techniques and a huge list of resources to support you going forward.”

Feedback 2021

“If you come from a non-tech background, but are interested in data, this is where you should start from.”

Feedback 2020

Technical Requirements

This course will need you to have the following software/apps/tools on your computer:

MS Excel 2016 or newer (If do not have access to Excel, there is a free trial version available).
Zoom app
Camera and audio
This course will be hosted on Zoom. To find out more about how we use Zoom, please check out our Zoom InfoSec page.

28 June 2021 – Interview your data

This first session teaches you the primary functions of spreadsheet software for journalistic analysis. These functions will allow you to quickly and easily 'interview' your data, asking questions about what it knows and interpreting the answers. These techniques form the core of data journalism skills.

29 June 2021 – Finding data

Having sharpened your analysis skills on some sample data, you'll be keen to find datasets relevant to your own projects. This session will give you the best tips and tricks to find data that can inform your research and provide leads for new untold stories.

30 June 2021 – Importing, cleaning and tidying your data

Even when you know where to find data and how to analyse it, there are often barriers in your way. From the difficulties of working with incomplete and inconsistent data to the problem of 'data' being released in PDF format, this session will give you the tools and techniques to unlock datasets and clean them up, getting them into a form which you can analyse and draw meaningful conclusions from in as short a time as possible.

1 July 2021 – Telling your story

This final session will focus on how to take the findings from your data research and pull them together into a coherent story. Data-driven stories often need some kind of visualisation and we will look at how to do these. But visualisation is not the only way to present your findings, so we will discuss when visualisations are necessary and when they’re not.

Jonathan Stoneman

Jonathan Stoneman is a freelance trainer specialising in data journalism. He has been working with data since 2010. Before that he worked at the BBC – as a reporter, producer, editor of output in Macedonian and Croatian, and finally as head of training at BBC World Service.
  • 28 June 2021 10.00–11.30 Time zone: BST (UK Time)
  • 29 June 2021 10.00–11.30 Time zone: BST (UK Time)
  • 30 June 2021 10.00–11.30 Time zone: BST (UK Time)
  • 1 July 2021 10.00–11.30 Time zone: BST (UK Time)
Time zone: BST (UK Time)
Location: Zoom meeting