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 In Current Events, Data Analysis Concepts Simplified, Data Analysis Tools, Data Resources for Nonprofits, Experts, How To, Team

How important are data stories really?

A few months back, I wrote a post about the problem with producing “results” instead of data stories. (Incidentally, that post had everyone around here craving peanut butter cups for days.) The point was that often we focus on the collection and analysis of data and overlook the importance of sharing that data in a compelling way.

Earlier this year (a few months before my data + stories = results that engage post) I led a data journalism course with Alberto Cairo offered through the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. We talked a lot about data collection, cleaning, and analysis — the basic tools any journalist should have before they try to incorporate data into a story. The course was a rousing success, and I’m pleased to announce the Knight Center has invited me to lead another course. This time, the topic is (you guessed it) Crafting Data Stories.

Learn How to Craft Data Stories

While the last course I led was specifically geared towards journalists, this one is applicable to anyone who wants to use data to educate and engage. Over six weeks, we’ll go through all the steps needed to craft a compelling data story. (The course runs from September 18 to October 29.)

The course will include video lectures, readings, practical exercises, participation in discussion forums, and quizzes to help you test your understanding of the course material. You’ll learn how to:

  • Develop a “data frame of mind”
  • Find a dataset that can answer your questions
  • Ensure you can understand that dataset
  • Conduct basic data analysis
  • Experiment with ways to communicate your findings
  • Choose a narrative type
  • Craft a data story concept

Not Quite the Same as Last Time

Many of you participated in the course I mentioned earlier — a MOOC (massive open online course) offered through the Knight Center. There are a few important differences between that course and this one. To avoid disappointment, please make note of the following:

  • While the last course was a MOOC, this one is what the Knight Center folks are calling a BOC — a big online course. Enrollment will be capped to ensure that I (and my team of helpful TAs) will be able to dedicate enough time and attention to each student. Register now before the course fills up.
  • Unlike the last course, which the good people at Knight made free for anyone and everyone, this course does come at a price — albeit a reasonable one. The $95 fee must be paid before your enrollment will be confirmed.
  • Crafting Data Stories is a beginner level course, and no specific experience with data analysis or statistics is required. That aside, we do expect students to have access to, and a basic working knowledge of, either Excel, Tableau, R, or a similar tool for working with data.

Do You Have Data Stories to Tell?

While it still feels like summer, September is only days away. Sign up now to reserve your spot in Crafting Data Stories for a hands on, step-by-step introduction to telling better stories with data.

Can’t wait that long? Need more help than you think the course can offer? The data scientists at Datassist are always ready to assist. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you.

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