Baby Steps in Data Journalism

Starting from zero, this Tumblr provides tools, links and how-to information for people just beginning to explore data journalism.
Posts tagged "teaching"



By Hadi Partovi, founder,

Throughout’s achievements in our first year, I’ve been humbled by support from millions of students, parents, teachers, companies and other organizations.

But we’ve also been thrust into the spotlight. Understandably, some have misunderstood…

A nice, clear explanation on what is trying to do. And why. 

Idea for teaching:

If each student sets up a free GitHub account —

They can make Gists, like this:

Could these be used for peer grading? Easy to share.

Once the student has a GitHub account, he/she can write code in Codepen ( and automatically save to Gist from there.

In a graduate course about tools for making journalism, I gave the students these two assignments:

Data 1: Use a CSV file and Excel to make a chart

Data 2: Maps and Google Fusion Tables

Both assignments include links to handouts and other resources.

The idea was to introduce the students to how data are used in journalism, and what can be done with big data sets. For each exercise, each student was assigned a different data set to use in a structured task.

I’m saving this story from Time magazine because of this:

Twice a week for an hour and a half after school, tech professionals … are teaching 15 high-school freshmen how to use JavaScript. … Next they will tackle HTML and CSS, and by the end, students will have to make either their own interactive website or video game.

JavaScript first, and then HTML and CSS. I gotta think about this. 

Last weekend I was looking for ways to extract Twitter search data in a structured, easily manageable format. The two APIs I was using (Twitter Search and Backtweets) were giving good results – but as a non-developer I couldn’t do much with the raw data they returned. Instead, I needed to get the data into a format like CSV or XLS.

Some extensive Googling led me to this extremely useful post on Labnol, where I learnt about how to use the ImportXML function in Google Spreadsheets. Before too long I’d cracked my problem. In this post I’m going to explain how you can do it too.

Click the link to learn how!

One night on Twitter …  a few dozen people joined me in a conversation about computer programming and its place in the journalism curriculum. Here are selected tweets …

Mark Hamilton is a journalism instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in the suburbs of Vancouver, Canada. He has graciously shared his syllabus.