February 25, 2020

MMfD to Offer Second Online Course on Data Journalism from 29 Oct

Registration is now open for the second instalment of Media Matters for Democracy’s online course Fundamentals of Data Journalism.

The six-week course is designed for those Pakistani journalists who would like to learn basic concepts of data-driven news reporting and writing. The course will run from 29 October to 9 December 2018.

To read an Urdu version of this post, please click here.

Journalists can visit to fill the registration form to apply for the course. The deadline for applications is 21 October 2018. Due to limited availability of seats, we will select only some of the applicants and inform all applicants about the acceptance or rejection decision by 23 October.

This is a free course open to journalists from all across Pakistan.

Course Summary

In this course, participants will be introduced to the basic concepts of data journalism. They will learn about the data journalism process and study different strategies to incorporate this process in their daily reporting. The course will inform journalists about the use of numbers in the newsroom, and help them build or brush up their mathematical skills. Participants will learn techniques to acquire, clean, and process data. A major focus area of the course is to teach journalists how to analyse data using spreadsheet softwares and use the findings of the analysis in their news reports. The course also covers ways to create basic visualisations to communicate information in news stories.

The course has been designed for beginners. The instructions will be in Urdu and will attempt to make the principles and techniques of data journalism acccessible to all. Our goal is to show local journalists that working with data is not difficult and data-driven reporting can help them produce more accurate and credible news stories.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will be familiar with:

The data journalism principles and process

Diverse ways to acquire data for their news reporting

Techniques for cleaning, merging, and analysing data sets

Tools for creating simple data visualisations

Strategies for planning and writing data-driven news stories

Course Enrolment

As mentioned before, the course is open for all Pakistani journalists. We invite reporters and editors who work with broadcast and print media as well as freelance journalists to register for the course. Journalists from the Urdu press and the regional-language media are especially welcome. Journalism students and professors who wish to benefit from the course are also encouraged to register. However, since this is not a course that participants can follow at their own pace, we will be limiting the class size to around 40 participants. This is only to ensure that we are able to give our complete attention to the participants during the six weeks.

Course Activities

Participants will be able to log in to a web platform built using the Moodle learning system and follow the course activities. The course is divided into six weekly modules. The modules will include videos, presentations, reading materials, quizzes, assignments, and discussions. Each week, new course materials will be shared with the participants and they will be given tasks to complete by the end of the week.

Course Syllabus

The course will go over important concepts and practical skills related to data journalism in six weeks.

Welcome Week (Introduction)

In the introductory module, participants will be given an overview of the course. Participants will also fill out a pre-course assessment survey which will help the instructor tailor the instructions to the needs of the participants and compare the results with a skills assessment done at the end of the course. Participants will also have a round of introductions and get to know the instructor.

Week 1: What is Data Journalism?

This week will offer participants an understanding of the foundation of data journalism, what does it mean, how does it work, and what considerations they have to keep in mind while working on data-driven stories. They will also get information about data sources, searching techniques, and the local right to information laws.

Week One’s module will cover:

  • What is data journalism
  • The data journalism process
  • Searching for data
  • The use of right to information laws for news

Week 2: Numbers and Spreadsheets

This week participants will be introduced to number concepts important for the newsroom and get a look at a basic spreadsheet software that can be used for data analysis.

Week Two’s module will cover:

  • Three types of number concepts
  • Calculations exercises
  • Microsoft Excel layout, features and use
  • Basic calculations using Excel

Week 3: Data Analysis

In this week, participants will begin analysis on a simple data set in Microsoft Excel. Participants will learn to clean data to prepare it for analysis and then use sorting, filtering, and pivot tables to process data and dig out newsworthy findings.

Week Three’s module will cover:

  • How to clean data
  • Sorting and filtering
  • How to use pivot tables
  • Functions and variables

Week 4: More on Data Analysis

Participants will build on their knowledge of data analysis to move to processing complex data sets and manage multiple data sets in analysis. In week four, they will also be introduced to other software that can be used to analyse data. Participants will also begin to work on their own data stories during this week. They will be taught basic concerns to keep in mind when reporting on data-driven stories.

Week Four’s module will cover:

  • Handling large data sets
  • Merging and analysing multiple data sets
  • Other spreadsheet and database software
  • Basics of reporting data stories

Week 5: Data Visualisation Basics

In week five, participants will learn the basics of data visualisation for presentation of data findings and also to find patterns and trends in data. Participants will work with online tools to map and plot their data findings.

Week five’s module will cover:

  • What is data visualisation
  • The elements and principles of data visualisation
  • Visualisations for data exploration and discovery
  • Chart-based visualisation tools
  • Map-based visualisation tools
  • Ethical concerns with data visualisation

Week 6: Reporting and Writing Data Stories

In the final week, participants will get an overall review of planning and executing data-driven news stories. They will be taught best practices on reporting and writing data stories. Participants will also get final feedback on their data stories so they can complete these stories.

Week six’s module will cover:

  • Reporting best practices for data-driven stories
  • Writing best practices for data-driven stories
  • Ethical concerns in writing data stories
  • Course review and next steps

If you have any questions, please write to Once again, you can register for the online course at

No comments

leave a comment