Media Matters for Democracy launched its first online course on data journalism under its Media for Transparency initiative on Monday, 27 August 2018.
The course titled “Fundamentals of Data Journalism” is being offered on a dedicated website we have set up using Moodle Cloud and 45 journalists have been selected to participate in the course.
The six-week course takes after the data journalism training workshops conducted in 2017 in which we trained 40 journalists in four Pakistani cities. The course will run from 27 August to 7 October, and will be offered again for a new set of participants at the end of October.
Participants started joining the course website during the weekend before the course began for some welcome activities. Each week, the participants will interact with new course materials including videos, presentations, assignments, exercises, quizzes, and discussion questions.
The participants have started the first week by learning about the principles of data journalism and data collection techniques. They have also been introduced to the Right to Information laws, which are a core focus area of the Media for Transparency initiative.
In the next weeks, the participants will go over data analysis techniques, learn how to create basic data visualisations, and prepare themselves for reporting and writing data-driven news stories.
The participants will also be encouraged to work on a data story during the course so they can learn how best to incorporate the elements learnt during the course in their journalism practice.
Some of the participants belong to different mainstream news media outlets while some are freelance journalists. Some journalism students and professors are also part of the course and we hope this will help increase awareness of data journalism techniques among the local journalism schools.
After the completion of the course, some of the best performing participants will be invited to a week-long advanced-level boot camp on data and investigative reporting for further training.