More data journalism classes are on the way, at little schools and big ones. I'm hearing this through the grapevine. Several grapevines today, in fact. And I think it's fantastic.
When asked what such a course might look like, I point folks to Brian Boyer's theoretical and amazing Hacker Journalism 101. Journalism needs more journalists who can code, and this is a great way to get there.
That's programming, though, you say. We can't teach programming in a journalism class!
You can, and you should. Basic programming will help journalists understand and deal with data used by cities, cops, politicians, agencies, campaigns, companies, banks, stores, non-profits, advocacy groups and just about any other source you can think of.
Knowing how to code, even a little, is like having a solar calculator for that database you just scored.
In addition to programming, here are some of my favorite topics for classes, readings or workshops:
- Finding data for your stories
- Finding stories in your data
- How to tell one story well
- All data is dirty ... and what to do about that
- Basic stats
- Percentage points for journalists
- Mapmaking made easy
- Lying and truthing with easily-made maps
- When maps shouldn't be maps
- Basic chartbuilding
- Lying and truthing with charts and graphs
- Did I mention programming?
And I'd have 'em code something. Every week.
What have I left out? Add comments below and I'll update this post -- and my advice to others.
Photo: My daughters in a UW-Madison lecture hall where I studied geography. Both of them have dabbled in coding.