The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Data Journalism: Investigating Data with R. Hands-On. I

So you’ve got the fundamentals of data journalism down. You’re interrogating spreadsheets like a pro and able to use pivot tables like the data Swiss-army-knives they are.

But sooner or later you know you’ll come up against a dataset so big it’s going to crash Excel if you even try to open it. Or your questions are becoming too complex for Excel’s built-in analytics tools to handle. Maybe you find yourself frequently updating a dataset or running the same calculations for your reporting. Or you just want to automate some of the collection or visualisation of a dataset you keep having to do.

Then R is your friend!

Our data trainers showcase the potential of R and the stories it helped investigating.

This course is for intermediate level of data journalism.

By the end of these three sessions you will have learned the basics of using R and its most popular interface RStudio. You will know how to explore your data and do the common analysis tasks.


The three sessions are organised as follows –
1 – introduction to R, the RStudio interface, the Tidyverse, importing data and taking your first look at the data you’ve imported
2 – exploring your data, reshaping it, analysing it
3 – visualising your data using the most popular R package ggplot2.

These sessions will make use of a cloud version of R and RStudio so there’s no need to bring anything other than a laptop capable of accessing the internet. At the end you will be able to access your R files and packages for a couple of months, allowing you time to decide to install R and RStudio on your own computer if you want to.

Technical Requirements

Please bring a laptop.

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

Please go to ahead of the start of the course and create a new account. Ignore any requests for payment, all the content in the class will work with a free account. By the end of the course, you will be able to decide whether you wish to continue using R and Rstudio, and the trainer will explain how best to do this.

One of the following recommended browsers:

Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome

29 June 2022 – Investigating Data with R

Introduction to R
Exploring your data, reshaping it, analysing it
Visualising your data

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.
  • 29 June 2022 10.10–15.40 Timezone: BST (UK Time)
Timezone: BST (UK Time)
Location: Room 314 - PSH Building - Goldsmiths, University of London