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University teams up with publisher to launch free data journalism course

Jingrong TongA free online course in data literacy for journalists has been launched by a university with help from a regional publisher.

The Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield has announced the launch of the course, which is aimed at helping journalists to identify, collect, interpret and visualise data for readers and audiences.

The course has been created by Dr Jingrong Tong, senior lecturer in digital news cultures at the University of Sheffield, and Claire Miller, data editor at Reach plc.

The six-week syllabus, which requires around two to three hours of study each week, covers the collection and cleaning of data, Freedom of Information requests, and presenting data to readers and audiences in eye-catching and engaging ways.

Entitled ‘Data Literacy for Journalists’, it is available online via the FutureLearn digital education platform.

Dr Tong, pictured, said: “With a world increasingly driven by data, knowing how to accurately read and interpret the information it provides have become essential skills for journalists.

β€œThe pandemic has further highlighted the need to be able to read, understand and share data in a way that engages readers and audiences. This course – which has been created thanks to the generous funding of the Higher Education Innovation Fund – lays the foundations for journalists to develop their skills and include data in their everyday reporting.”