Video: Meet Your Instructors

This free 5-module online introductory course gives you the essential concepts, techniques and skills to effectively work with data and produce compelling data stories under tight deadlines.

Comprising of video lectures, tutorials, assignments, readings and discussion forums, this course is open to anyone in the world with an Internet connection who wants to tell stories with data.

The course is open from the 19th of May until the 31st of December. The active part of the course, including discussion points, interaction with the instructors and getting a certification runs until 31 July 2014, after that the course runs in view-only mode.

The 5 modules are:

  1. Module 1 - Data journalism in the newsroom
  2. Module 2 - Finding data to support stories
  3. Module 3 - Finding story ideas with data analysis
  4. Module 4 - Dealing with messy data
  5. Module 5 - Telling stories with visualisation

Every module is divided into 4 sections. Every section contains one video of approximately 15 minutes. We estimate that the average time a student has to spend on a module (or 1 week), is about 4-5 hours.

Our recommendation is to complete one module per week. Not faster, in order to let the learned material sink in, and not slower in order to stay on top of things. You are free however, to complete the course at your own pace. Meaning that if you feel you comprehend a module, and you have enough time, you are free to advance to the next one. Alternatively, if you don't have enough time one week, you are free to postpone it, and catch up later.

Detailed module overview:

Module 1: Data journalism in the newsroom

Interview: Simon Rogers

This module is an introduction to data journalism. It shows what data journalism is, how it works on a busy news desk and what skills you need to know to practise it.

Instructor: Simon Rogers, Data Editor, Twitter and former editor of the Guardian’s award-winning Datablog.

  1. What is data journalism?
  2. Inside a data team
  3. How to get a story
  4. The business case for data journalism

Module 2: Finding data to support stories

Interview: Paul Bradshaw

This module deals with the range of skills that journalists use to obtain data. This includes setting up alerts to regular sources of information, simple search engine techniques that can save hours of time and using laws in your own and other countries.

Instructor: Paul Bradshaw, Head of the Online Journalism MA at Birmingham City University, and Visiting Professor at City University’s School of Journalism in London.

  1. Setting up ‘data newswires’
  2. Strategic searching - tips and tricks
  3. Introduction to scraping
  4. Data laws and sources

Module 3: Finding story ideas with data analysis

Interview: Steve Doig

This module focuses on using spreadsheets and basic statistics to find patterns in data that will reveal story ideas and add evidence to the resulting stories.

Instructor: Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication of Arizona State University, and Pulitzer Prize winner.

  1. Newsroom math and statistics
  2. Sorting and filtering data in Excel
  3. Making new variables with functions
  4. Summarizing data with pivot tables

Module 4: Dealing with messy data

Interview: Nicolas Kayser-Bril

This module addresses messy data - data that needs to be organised before it can be used. It covers the so-called ‘cleaning’ process, at the end of which the dataset can be analysed using techniques from Module 3.

Instructor: Nicolas Kayser-Bril, Co-founder and Head at data journalism startup Journalism++.

  1. Correct bad formatting
  2. Misspellings
  3. Invalid values and duplicates
  4. Advanced cleaning techniques

Module 5: Telling stories with visualisation

Interview: Alberto Cairo

This module deals with how to transform data into stories, infographics and interactive visualizations: the best practices and the principles of graphic design that a journalist needs to know.

Instructor: Alberto Cairo, Professor of the Professional Practice at the University of Miami, and author of The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization.

  1. The main principles of datavisualisation
  2. Choosing the best graphic forms
  3. The art of insight
  4. Hands-on with Adobe Illustrator