The Centre for Investigative Journalism
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Data for the Educator

These days data and journalism seem to be mentioned in the same breath all the time. You may have decided, or had it decided for you, that your institution’s courses for journalists should include data. But where to begin? What to include? What to leave out?

This course is intended to help you to cut through confusion to focus on the essential practical elements which students will need in their future careers. This includes (but with a lot of flexibility according to your needs):

 

  • What data journalism is & what people are doing with it
  • The difference between data & statistics
  • “Interviewing” data & using it as a source
  • Cleaning data
  • Sources of data, including simple scraping
  • What is a reasonable expectation of basic data journalists & how does one assess knowledge and skills
  • The NCTJ data journalism module – what it is and what skills students need in order to pass it
  • What employers are looking for
  • Next steps – staying in touch & embedding what we’ve done in the timetable

 

The course is composed of four sessions of around 2 hours each, scheduled over four 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.

 

 

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). We encourage the use of MS Excel (that is, the desktop “app”: the online version of Office 365 lacks some of the features you will need). If necessary, you can use Google Sheets, which has slightly different menus and instructions – these are documented in the online materials, but the trainer doesn’t always have the opportunity to demonstrate both systems in the session: he will certainly try, but you may find you need to do some extra work outside the session to catch up.
  • Zoom app. During these sessions the trainers often need participants to be able to share their screen in order to solve problems or demonstrate techniques: if you are on a work computer, or other device which has screen sharing on Zoom disabled, please consider getting the restriction lifted for the duration of this course. If you can’t share the screen because the function is blocked or disabled, it makes it much harder to solve problems and learn from them. But, rest assured, nobody will be forced to share their screen against their will.
  • 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.

Course Structure

Exercises and additional viewing of tutorial videos will be provided to supplement the training between sessions.

Important

Our training is not recorded: if you miss a session, it is lost – you cannot watch a recording of it, nor will you be allowed to attend that session at a later date.

11 September 2023 – Introduction to Data

14:00–16:00
What data journalism is and what people are doing with it. The difference between data and statistics. “Interviewing” data and using it as a source – presentation and practical exercises.

12 September 2023 – Working with Data

14:00–16:00
Cleaning data. How to identify good sample data for teaching exercises.

13 September 2023 – Finding Data

14:00–16:00
Sources of data, including simple scraping – presentation and exercise.

18 September 2023 – Teaching Data

14:00–16:00
What is a reasonable expectation of student data journalists and how does one assess knowledge and skills. The NCTJ data journalism module – what it is and what skills students need in order to pass it. What employers are looking for. Next steps - staying in touch, embedding what we’ve done in the timetable.

Jonathan Stoneman

Jonathan Stoneman is a freelance trainer. He previously worked for the BBC World Service for many years, as a reporter, producer, later as editor and finally as Head of World Service Training at Bush House.
  • 11 September 2023 14.00–16.00 Timezone: BST (UK Time)
  • 12 September 2023 14.00–16.00 Timezone: BST (UK Time)
  • 13 September 2023 14.00–16.00 Timezone: BST (UK Time)
  • 18 September 2023 14.00–16.00 Timezone: BST (UK Time)
Timezone: BST (UK Time)
Location: Zoom meeting