Need to brush-up on your digital journalism skills? You might want to check-out some free or low-cost, online courses being offered within the next few months.
In today’s journalism environment, data is abundant, but journalists skilled at collecting, interpreting and maximizing it are not as plentiful. These are real skills that can improve your reporting today and improve your job prospects in the future.
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to do your journalism job better (which probably should just be a standing resolution anyway), here’s a great free way reporters, editors and designers can improve their data journalism skills.
From European Journalism Centre, the people who brought us the Data Journalism Handbook, comes this five-week online course starting early in 2014: “Doing Journalism With Data: First Steps and Skills“
Among the topics to be covered by some industry experts: Read more
Journalists don’t do math? In an age of open data, that’s an excuse that no longer flies. The list below, compiled from the smart people on the NICAR listserv thanks to a request from The Associated Press’ Michelle Minkoff, contains resources to help you get started with the basics of statistics and data analysis.
“The New Precision Journalism” shows journalists and students of journalism how to use the new technology to analyze data and provide more precise information in easier-to-understand form. It covers the history of journalism in the scientific tradition, various elements and techniques of data analysis, the use of statistics, computers, surveys, and field experiments, database applications, how to do an election survey, and the politics of precision journalism. This is an important resource for working journalists and an indispensable text for all journalism majors.
Darrell Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to fool rather than to inform.
In this project-based course, you will have the opportunity to answer a question that you feel passionately about through independent research based on existing data. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in generating testable hypotheses, preparing data for analysis, conducting descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, and presenting research findings.
This is the third and largest yet workshop organized by ProPublica’s Sisi Wei and The New York Times’ Tom Giratikanon. In August, they hosted a workshop in Washington, D.C. and went to Miami in February. May’s workshop will bring together mentors and students from the Pacific Northwest region — including Seattle, where I’m located.
Wei and Giratikanon’s style of teaching is one of the most effective I’ve seen for programming yet — it’s a 2:1 student:mentor ratio, meaning individual attention and a closer, freer environment for asking questions without leaving the whole group behind. As someone who has both trained large groups of students and tried to take larger instructive workshops to learn, the only way that really sticks is one-on-one.
This program is truly for beginners. Here’s the applicant eligibility criteria:
- You must be a journalist or a student studying journalism
- You must have little or no coding experience
If you know anyone in the Pacific Northwest — or someone who is willing to travel to Portland — spread the word. Deadline to apply is April 6 at 9:00 p.m. PST. If you can’t make it to Portland but know your town would be perfect for an event like this, email the team.