Story-Based

Inquiry

Our courses are highly interactive and highly honed.

Data Journalism with spreadsheets

In (online) modules we teach you how to find news in data and to use data to lay a firm foundation under your stories or reports. You will learn to trace and 'interview' data according to a method that has been used for decades by the National Institute for Data Journalism (NICAR) in the US and the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London to train data journalists. 

Data are not figures (rarely!), but accessible sources that can be interrogated and quoted. You learn to communicate with a dataset, which is hardly more tedious than interviewing a person. Besides: data never lie and never retreat their words. And the world is full of data - if you know where to look. Still, not many journalists can handle data, so you'll soon have a head start and a higher market value. 

For researchers from outside journalism this course provides an opportunity to experience how journalist look at data and how they discover stories in them.  

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

Finding stories with 'functions'
Whether you simply want to know 'how much' or want to create a top-10 of the biggest or the richest: functions in spreadsheets do it in seconds. They find typical examples for your stories in data (with averages, medians and modes), as well as outliers. And they calculate the percentage change (trend) or the ratio's (percentage of total) for you.

Finding stories with 'pivot tables'
Pivot tables are magical! Group, compare and present the data any way you want. Start with a list of questions and let the pivot table give the answers. It is almost like interviewing a person - but without the hassle.

Finding stories with 'r-squared'
Discover relations between data with some simple statistics. Are the school results of children affected by the income of the parents? When can you safely state that there is a correlation?

Where the data live
Where do you find suitable data? On the Internet, obviously. But that is not the whole story. What to ask for from agencies and organizations? And how can you build your own database?

LEVEL

This course is for people with no experience with data analysis and people with a little experience who want to refresh or expand their knowledge.

COURSE MATERIAL

You will  get a list of online tutorials and an extensive workbook with examples from the course. In this course you will use your own laptop. The required software (Google Sheets) is free.