This course is in partnership with and takes place at the Open Data Institute, which launched earlier this year having been founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

This intensive, hands-on, one-day course will introduce the growing world of data and data journalism from scratch. It aims to help you source relevant data and show you how data can be used effectively to write compelling stories – from basic fact checking to investigations.

You'll learn the difference between open and closed data, and where to find relevant data. You will learn how to download data and verify it, then how to begin to use your data to tell a story using freely available tools.

The course will cover:
  • What is data?
  • How is data protected by the law? What do you need to be aware of as a journalist? (Intellectual Property, Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection Act)
  • Telling a story with data
  • Finding trusted data sources (using portals such as and, plus where to find local government, corporate, charity and NGO data)
  • How trustworthy is your data? Tips on verifying your source and how to choose a trusted source when there are multiple for a particular dataset
  • How to stay up-to-date with data releases
  • Finding the story in your data
  • Analysing your data and the tools available
  • Cleaning data
  • Spreadsheet essentials
  • Crowdsourcing your story and using the crowd to help analyse your data
  • Presenting your story and the types of data licences and how that affects the way you present and credit your work
  • How to visualise your data using leading static and interactive visualisation tools
By the end of the one-day course you will:
  • Have an understanding of the law surrounding data
  • Be armed with a list of great data sources
  • Have selected a data set you can use for a news piece
  • Have new ways to find stories in data
  • Know what free tools are available to help you analyse and visualise data
  • Be familiar with using a spreadsheet
  • Have a visualisation of a dataset
  • Know when you might need further help
Note: While the focus of this course will be openly available data, it will help you deal with all forms of data.

Who is this for?

No previous skills are required for this course. If you need help telling a story using data, sourcing stories, improving your data analysis skills, fact checking and visualising data this course is for you.
  • Journalists and editors
  • Public sector staff
  • Journalists within organisations (PR or content creation)
Course requirements:

The course is designed for non-specialists. No previous data skills are required for this course, however comfort with using the web and good computer literacy including basic spreadsheet skills is essential.

What to bring:
  • Your own computer with wifi enabled for an open network
  • You need to have a Google account
  • You need to have Google Chrome browser installed on your laptop
  • You will need Excel or Open Office