The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Deep Dive into Data Journalism – Online (AM)

Take a deep dive into data journalism by combining “Finding Stories With Data  – Online, Intensive” (4 sessions: 22-23, 25-26 January 2024) with “Data-Driven Investigations – Online, Intensive” (5 sessions: 29-31 January, 1-2 February 2024).

“I would like to thank the team for putting together the two-week program. It was an eye opener and I’m certainly going to be using pivot tables a lot more.”

Feedback 2021

Finding Stories with Data

Class duration: 1.5hrs x 4 days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday)
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.

There is of course a limit to how much practical knowledge can be exchanged in each 90 minute session, so supporting material is supplied online. Although there is no formal assignment or “homework” during the course, participants who can devote 30-60 mins of practice between sessions tend to get more out of the course.

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 days, with exercises and recommended reading to augment your learning between sessions.

Data-Driven Investigations

Class duration: 2hrs x 5 consecutive days (Monday to Friday)
Level of participation: very high. Hands-on, screenshares, regular Q&As and participants contributions.

The data is rarely the story in itself. This course will help you find the human face to add impact and relevance.

The central aim of the course is for attendees to work on live projects throughout the sessions and leave with their own stories at an advanced stage of research, so we strongly recommend that you approach the course with an idea already in mind for a data-driven story.

This course will be divided into 5 workshops designed to take you through the steps to build a lead into a full investigative story. Drawing from real life examples and scenarios, we will guide attendees from hypothesis to story, including sections on working with spreadsheets, scraping and importing data, investigating people and companies and the latest tools and techniques.

We offer a 10% discount for those who choose to book both courses as a package. To benefit from this offer, book your place for this two-course package by completing the booking form at the bottom of this page.

Signed-up participants must attend all nine sessions.

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, 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.


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.

22 January 2024 – Finding Stories with Data: Module 1 - 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.

23 January 2024 – Finding Stories with Data: Module 2 - 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.

25 January 2024 – Finding Stories with Data: Module 3 - 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.

26 January 2024 – Finding Stories with Data: Module 4 - Telling your story

This 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.

29 January 2024 – Data-Driven Investigations: Module 1 - Data and Investigations • Ideas and the story memo

This session looks at data-driven story ideas and where they come from. We revisit pivot tables and deconstruct a real data-driven story to work out how it was done, and introduce you to the story memo – the action plan which will help you to keep your own investigation on track.

30 January 2024 – Data-Driven Investigations: Module 2 - Interviewing data

This session looks in more detail at the idea of “interviewing” your data, to craft better questions and get better answers.

31 January 2024 – Data-Driven Investigations: Module 3 - Data sources

Here we focus on sources of data: building on Module 2 of Finding Stories with Data, you will be set some challenges to find specific story elements.

1 February 2024 – Data-Driven Investigations: Module 4 - Bulletproofing the data investigation

This session explains the steps to follow for ensuring you have what you think you have as you continue to work on your story memo. We also take a look at some of the pitfalls of working with numbers and statistics.

2 February 2024 – Data-Driven Investigations: Module 5 - Putting it all together and next steps

In the final session, we help you to complete your story memo so that you leave the course with a real story on the go. We also discuss what other training and resources you might need as you start your journey into Data Journalism

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.

Leila Haddou

Leila Haddou is former data journalism editor for The Times and Sunday Times. Before that, she worked on investigations at the Financial Times and the Guardian. She has an avid interest in how technology can aid investigative reporting and co-organises the monthly Journocoders meet up event.
  • 22 January 2024 10.00–11.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 23 January 2024 10.00–11.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 25 January 2024 10.00–11.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 26 January 2024 10.00–11.30 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 29 January 2024 10.00–12.00 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 30 January 2024 10.00–12.00 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 31 January 2024 10.00–12.00 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 1 February 2024 10.00–12.00 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
  • 2 February 2024 10.00–12.00 Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
Timezone: GMT (UK Time)
Location: Zoom meeting
22–26 January 2024

Finding Stories with Data – Online, Intensive (AM)

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

29 January – 2 February 2024

Data-Driven Investigations – Online, Intensive (AM)

This course will give participants an opportunity to take their core data skills to the next level and combine them with advanced internet research for rich, in-depth investigations.