data journalism

This four-week course will guide you through all the major steps of telling a visual story using data. From gathering the right data to finding your story and choosing the right visualisation, you will learn a tried-and-tested method of creating visual data stories.

Through clear instructions, online discussions and exercises, participants will gain skills in data mining, data analysis, data cleaning, visual story planning and data visualisation. We will cover a replicable process that the trainer has used himself to tell data stories at The Guardian, with Gannett newspapers in the US and now with a regional public broadcasting group in the US.

You will gain the confidence to translate numbers into stories and develop the essential skills to then tell those stories through charts, maps and other data-driven story formats.

Total course length: Set aside four hours each week to complete the course. You can take the course at your own pace but reserve some time for taking part in the discussions as this will greatly add to your experience and also give you a chance to ask questions, get guidance and support each other.

Course start date: 1 February 2021

What you will learn:

  • How to find data to tell and visualise your story.
  • The different types of data, how you can use them and what some data types tell you about what visualisations you can create with them.
  • The different types of data stories.
  • How to clean and analyse data to prepare it for visualising.
  • How to choose the right chart, map style or visualisation.
  • Major chart and visualisation platforms including Google Charts, DataWrapper, Tableau Public and Flourish Studio.
  • How to tell data stories.

By the end of the course, you will have created several charts, maps and data stories, and you will have the skills, a process and the confidence to create your visual data stories.

Basic Course Outline

Week 1: Finding your story, finding data and deciding how to tell your story

Week 2: Preparing your data and using charts and graphs

Week 3: Mapping data

Week 4: Building data stories

What you will need

You will need a computer and a Google account. If you have a Gmail address, you are already set. You need it to sign-up for DataWrapper, Tableau Public and Flourish Studio. If you are currently working for a news organisation, sign up for Flourish for Newsrooms. It takes a couple of weeks, at least, for approval.

Getting there

This is an online course.

About Kevin Anderson

Kevin is an award-winning journalist and editorial leader who has worked for the BBC, The Guardian and Gannett. He also worked as a media trainer and consultant with media groups including CNN International, the Times of India, Singapore Press Holdings and Al Jazeera.

As the blogs editor at The Guardian, he worked with Simon Rogers, now data editor at Google, to launch the pioneering data blog, and he has trained thousands of journalists in data journalism and data visualisation techniques in North America, Europe and Asia on behalf of WAN-IFRA and the EBU Academy.

He now works as the manager for digital products and platforms for ideastream Public Media, a regional NPR/PBS group in the United States. He is also currently studying for a masters degree in innovation management and leadership at the University of York.