This course will provide you with the skills to work with data, numbers and statistics, particularly in online reporting, and walk you through the process – from start to finish – for creating a data-driven story for publication online or in print.

Journalists have always had to understand how to work with data and statistics, but today there is great demand for people who understand how to find original stories in data and present it using graphics.

Readers expect to see the data behind arguments in news stories and opinion pieces and will want to 'see your working' that brought you to your conclusion.

As Felix Salmon, formerly of Reuters, said: "Today, if you want to change someone's mind, you don't appeal to authority: instead, you bring numbers".

This course will show you how to find those numbers, put them in a format which you can use, and assess whether they support the argument or story you are trying to tell.

Basic (GCSE) understanding of maths will be required for this course, but it will not cover anything too complicated.

This course is also available as a part of a news:rewired+ package, which includes a ticket to our next news:rewired digital journalism conference on 23 July in London.

What will the course cover?
  • How to find data on the internet.
  • How to extract data from awkward formats.
  • How to 'clean' data so it can be used in spreadsheet software.
  • Learning some of the most common and useful journalism techniques in Excel.
  • How to select the best visualisation tools and create simple visualisations for your story.
  • An overview of best practice in data journalism.
  • How to avoid some of the common mistakes for people getting started in data journalism.
What will I learn by the end of the course?
  • You will master the basic tools and techniques involved in data-driven journalism and be able to tell interesting and unique stories with numbers.
  • How to find, collect and 'clean' data (from sources including but not limited to Google, the Office for National Statistics, Nomis, the Census, Parliamentary papers, the House of Commons Library, and FOI disclosure logs).
  • How to sort, filter and manipulate data using spreadsheet software (sort, filter, pivot tables, basic functions).
  • How to use data visualisation tools to create simple but powerful graphics (how to create an interesting column, bar, line or scatter plot chart without getting anything wrong) which are shareable on social networks.
  • A quick run-through of intermediate and advanced techniques if you're interested in developing your skills further in this field (e.g. mapping systems, databases and data scraping) as well as information on the best tools to use and who to follow in this field.
What do I need to bring?
  • A laptop with a modern web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
  • A Google Drive account
  • OpenRefine
  • Spreadsheet software (Excel recommended, or OpenOffice)

Getting there

The nearest Tube station to MSN UK is Victoria, on the Victoria, Circle and District lines.

About Conrad Quilty-Harper

Conrady Quilty-Harper Conrad is a data journalist at Ampp3d, the Daily Mirror's data journalism site.

Before joining Ampp3d Conrad worked at The Daily Telegraph, becoming their first dedicated data journalist in 2010. He enabled The Telegraph's investigations team to find hundreds of stories in the Wikileaks cables, the Guantanamo Files and other stories looking at government data.

Later he was promoted to interactive news editor and established a team of designers, developers and journalists who create innovative and unique interactive graphics and articles online.

He teaches online journalism at City University and data journalism at Goldsmiths University, and is a regular speaker at events on the emerging field of data journalism.