"Journalists need to be data-savvy. It used to be that you would get stories by chatting to people in bars, and it still might be that you’ll do it that way some times. But now it’s also going to be about poring over data and equipping yourself with the tools to analyse it and picking out what’s interesting. And keeping it in perspective, helping people out by really seeing where it all fits together, and what’s going on in the country”, and in the world. "Data Journalism is the future".

                                                                                                  Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web
Data Journalism Handbook

This course is part of MA in Journalism at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and will introduce journalistm students to the practise of data journalism and showcase a set of tools and technicques for data driven analysis, investigation and storytelling. Students will learn:

  • What data journalism is  and where it comes from
  • Why is data journalism important
  • How to find stories in data
  • Where and how to find data
  • Investigative Journalism using data
  • Cleaning data and making sense of messy data
  • Visualising the data and to effectively communicate stories 
  • Newsroom Math and Statistics

Class hashtag: #NUIGDDJ15

Find project data stories could be found here.

Class schedule and Syllabus

I will be adding information in this section as the semester goes along.

Week 1 - Introdoction
What is Data Journalism
Why is it important?
Example of Data Journalism
Data Journalism Workflow

Class slides

Week 2 - Finding Data

Irish, European and international data banks/portals
Open data
Data scraping: ScraperWiki and import.io

Class slides

Week 3 - Start working with Data

Start working with Excel
Basic Newsroom Math
Excel basic Math functions
Google Spreadsheet

Class slides

Week 4 - Data Mashing and Summarisation

Data summarisation
Merging Data
Pivot Tables

Class slides

Crime by Region, Garda Division and type of offence
Garda Division Population
Datamania (credit to Steve Doig)

Week 5 - Storytelling with Data - Charts

Introduction to Data Visualisation
Data visualisation using charts

Class slides

Week 6 - FOI
Guest Lecture: Gavin Sheridan


Week 7 - Recap Data Lab
Hands-on recap storytelling lab

Week 8 - Data cleaning
How to clean the messy and inconsistent data

Class slides

Week 9 - Social Data
Harvesting Twitter data
Basic Social Network Analysis

Class slides

Week 10 - Data Visualisation with Maps
Introduction to geographical data visualisation
Shapefiles and relevant formats
Fusion Tables

Class slides

Week 11 - Newsroom statistics
Introduction to statistics
Matters of significance
Statistical Analysis with SPSS and/or PSPP

Class slides

Week 12 - Final presentations