The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Finding Stories with Data – Hands-On

You may already know something about data journalism, but are unsure how to start an actual story.

In these sessions we will delve into some real data, looking for a real story, starting with an idea, downloading the data, cleaning it, exploring it, and finding the leads to stories in it –using the methods you would need in a data-led enquiry, and in the order you would use them.

Don’t worry if you’ve never used these techniques before – we will have time to stop and discuss them in detail as we go.

You might want to go to Data Journalism – Google Sheets – Hands-on  (Wed 29 June) instead to practise working with datasets from the ground up. You do not need to do both Data Journalism-Google Sheet and Finding Stories in Data. Select one only.

Technical Requirements

Own laptop required.

30 June 2022 – Finding Stories in Data - DAY 2 Course

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.
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.
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.
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.

Luuk Sengers

Luuk Sengers is an experienced teacher and investigative journalist. He lectures at universities and in newsrooms and writes data-driven stories for the leading Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer. He is also the co-developer of Story-Based Inquiry.
  • 30 June 2022 09.00–15.40 Timezone: BST (UK Time)
Timezone: BST (UK Time)
Location: Room 314 - PSH Building - Goldsmiths, University of London