Our Findings

A little more than half of the universities we reviewed—59 of the 113 schools—offer one or more data journalism courses. We defined a data journalism class as being focused on the intersection of data and journalism, and using spreadsheets, statistical software, relational databases, or programming toward that end. We included in the data journalism category only those programming classes that went beyond basic HTML and CSS. For the purposes of this report, we considered classes on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to be focused on digital/design journalism, not data journalism. We also excluded courses in numeracy and communications research methodologies and statistics unless the course offerings explicitly included a journalism focus. The appendix includes tables detailing the full results of our analysis.

For Aaron Williams, who is four years out of college, it was not surprising to hear that our analysis showed 54 of the 113 programs don’t offer a standalone class on data journalism. Williams has worked in data journalism at the Los Angeles Times, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and now as interactive editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. Almost everything he knows he learned from colleagues at NICAR, he said. “I didn’t even really know about data journalism as a discipline, nor did my instructors … until basically I was a senior,” Williams recalled.

Of the 59 programs we identified that teach at least one data journalism class, 27 of the schools offer just one course, usually foundational. Fourteen offer two classes. Just 18 of the 59 schools teaching data journalism offer three or more classes in this subject.

Data journalism classes offered at ACEJMC-accredited journalism schools.

At a minimum, these programs offer courses that teach students to use spreadsheets to analyze data for journalistic purposes. At the other end of the spectrum, some schools provide far more, teaching multiple classes in programming skills, such as scraping the Web, building news apps, or creating advanced data visualizations. But programs with multiple classes are rare.

A significant number of programs offer some instruction in data journalism, even if they don’t provide a standalone class. Of the 113 ACEJMC-accredited programs, 69 integrate some data journalism into other reporting and writing courses, our analysis showed. In most cases, this entails introducing the concepts of using spreadsheets or basic analysis as part of reporting and writing classes or certain topic classes, such as business journalism.

Classes offered at ACEJMC-accredited journalism schools that contain data journalism as a component.

Again, tables summarizing these findings can be found in the appendix, while the remainder of this chapter will dig deeper into our analysis of syllabi and course offerings in data journalism.

results matching ""

    No results matching ""