For the journalists and communicators reading this: have you ever been interested in using a dataset to tell a story, but weren’t sure which tools to use or how to get started with the project? Or are you curious about how data journalists find datasets for their reporting, and turn those numbers into accessible, visual stories? Or are you an editor who sometimes works with data journalists and would like to better understand their tools and methods to improve your collaboration?
If any of this sounds familiar, you might be interested in a workshop that I will be running with The Open Notebook on October 31 that will cover reporting and producing data stories about science topics. For those unfamiliar with The Open Notebook, it’s a nonprofit site that provides excellent training and educational materials for science journalists, including articles, mentoring programs, a book, and workshops like this one. The workshop will build on an article I wrote for TON a couple of years ago.
The full description of the workshop is below. It will take place on October 31 from 3:30 to 5 PM Eastern time. Tickets are $125, though discounted tickets are also available for those who need them. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the event!
Science writers are used to encountering data, whether we’re reading through dense scientific papers or trying to figure out what a statistic means for our readers. But sometimes, datasets themselves can be sources for stories—and they have led to some of the most widely read science stories of the last few years, from El Pais’ visualization of coronavirus spread to ProPublica’s investigation of burning sugar cane. Datasets can help us make complex topics accessible, visualize patterns from research, or even investigate instances of wrongdoing.
A science writer interested in pursuing stories like these could find a wide variety of resources to help them get started on a data project. But the growing data journalism field can be overwhelming: you might not be sure how to pick an initial project, which online course to try, which tools to use, or whether you need to learn how to code first. (Spoiler alert: you don’t!)
This 90-minute hands-on workshop from The Open Notebook, building on the instructor’s TON article about this topic, will provide a crash course in data reporting basics. It’s designed for science writers who are interested in pursuing data stories but aren’t quite sure how to get started, and for editors who are interested in working with writers on these stories.
You’ll get an introduction to all of the steps of reporting and producing a data story, from finding story ideas to editing and fact-checking. The workshop will include an interactive tutorial showcasing two common tools that you can start using immediately.
You will learn how to:
Recognize potential data stories on your beat
Search for public datasets that you can use
Use free tools for data analysis and visualization
Work with a data team or independently as a freelancer
Make your data stories accessible