The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Finding Stories with Data – Excel

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

7-11 July. Daily from 11:30 till 13:30 BST (UTC +1h)
Price: £70
Group size: max 8 people.
Class duration: 2hrs x 4 days
Level of participation: very high. Hands-on, screenshares, regular Q&As and participants contributions.

In four work sessions spread across the week, 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 Jonathan Stoneman, 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 training, but no others have the specific focus on using the tools and techniques for investigations and holding power to account that is from the Centre for Investigative Journalism’s speciality.

“Very clear insights into Excel, re-discovered as a powerful and ready-to-use tool to conduct investigations.”  

Course feedback

“Very knowledgeable tutor.”

Course feedback

This course will be broken down into 4 sessions of two hours each, spread out across 4 days. Signed up participants must attend all four sessions.

Technical Requirements

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

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Zoom app
  • camera & audio

Our Zoom account’s default settings have been modified to maximise information security and ensure all training participants’ data protection and privacy. See details of our Zoom infosec settings HERE.

7 July 2020 – 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.

8 July 2020 – 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.

9 July 2020 – 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.

10 July 2020 – Bringing it all together

This final session will focus on how to take the findings from your data research and pull them together into a coherent story. It will show you the next steps in your data-driven reporting and help you to craft a compelling narrative from what you find out.

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.
  • 7 July 2020 11.30–13.30
  • 8 July 2020 11.30–13.30
  • 9 July 2020 11.30–13.30
  • 10 July 2020 11.30–13.30
Location: Zoom Meeting