2014 - Fall: Data Journalism

Day & Time: Thursday, 6:30pm-10:00pm
Location: Room 652
Course ID: JOUR-GA 1070.002
Instructor: Amanda Cox

 

In this class, students will learn to collect, analyze and present data in an immersive, hands-on course from members of the New York Times’s graphics department.

A lengthy portion of each class is devoted to real-life examples, emphasizing the skills newsrooms want. How can web scripting help a reporter track down runners who may have witnessed explosions in the Boston Marathon bombings? How can a map illustrate the challenges in developing gun policy? Why is data cleaning required to uncover the influence of money in visits to the White House? More than ever, these new ways of telling stories require data skills.
While the course’s main goal is journalistic, not technical, students will write and program web pages in HTML, CSS and Javascript; use Git to share and reuse code; merge, sort, filter and aggregate data sets in Excel and R; and make charts to show changes over time and maps to visualize spatial relationships. In the process, students will learn how to use data to strengthen and improve their reporting process.
Fluency with data and the ability to ask and answer questions from structured information sources can help any journalist, whether she’s a radio producer, magazine writer or digital producer. In past course evaluations, 41 of 43 students — with a wide variety of interests and technical backgrounds — have said they would recommend the class to a friend.