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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Registration open for free online course in Portuguese on data journalism techniques



Dealing with data has become an essential skill for journalists in the digital age, where the availability of information and the demand for precision and transparency are rising. Reviewing the main techniques and tools used in data journalism is the focus of the latest massive open online course (MOOC) of the Brazilian National Association of Newspapers (Associação Nacional de Jornais, or ANJ) and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, with support from Google.

The "Basic Techniques of Data Journalism" course will be offered in Portuguese, from August 3 to September 6. To learn more about the program and sign up, click here.

Alberto Cairo

Following the methodology of pipeline data, students will examine the techniques used in every step of data workflow - searching, scraping, cleaning, analyzing and visualization - and data projects published by major newsrooms in the world. At the end of the course, participants will have the skills to work with databases, draw analysis and produce charts, graphs, maps and diagrams using a variety of software, tools and basic web programming scripts.

The free course in Portuguese will last for five weeks and will be conducted by the coordinators of Escola de Dados, Marco Túlio Pires and Natália Mazotte, and investigative reporter of the Houston Chronicle, Lise Olsen. The three instructors have led many data journalism training courses in Brazil and other countries.

"We are very happy to count on three outstanding instructors to give this practical course, able to equip journalists, teachers and journalism students with fundamental techniques to find, process and present large volumes of data," said Professor Rosental Calmon Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. "We are also very happy with this new partnership with ANJ and with Google's support. This will be the third MOOC we have done together to benefit Brazilian journalists."

"The MOOC participants will gain very practical training on how to work with data in a journalistic context," explains instructor Marco Túlio Pires. "Today the information, the raw material of our work, circulates in digital media and brings new demands on communications professionals. They need to acquire skills in other areas such as computer science, design and statistics. These are the skills we want to show our students in five weeks. "

In addition to knowledge of the main techniques of data journalism, participants living in Brazil may apply for a special program in São Paulo: a visit to the headquarters of Google Brazil where they will participate in an in-person seminar on data journalism. At least six scholarships will be offered to journalists, journalism teachers and students. Thanks to Google’s support, ANJ and the Knight Center will offer ticket, hotel and living allowances to fellows who come from outside São Paulo. Fellows will be chosen from the MOOC students who complete the course and complete the best journalism project guided by data.

Like all previous Knight Center MOOCs, this course is aimed primarily at journalists, teachers and journalism students, but is open to all. Any person with an Internet connection can do it. Beginners who want to understand data journalism and the context in which it appears, as well as people already familiar with the topic or who already work in this sector as designers, developers, programmers, editors and others interested in digital media, can attend. You do not need previous experience with these concepts or tools.

The course does not begin until August 3, but registrants will receive immediate access to the Knight Center’s digital teaching platform, where they will find a detailed course syllabus, introductory information and a video of the instructors explaining how the MOOC will work.

This introductory course will teach students techniques such as scraping data, advanced searching, and data retrieval using the Access to Information Law; how to clean large databases with programs like Open Filter; how to use Google Sheets to make analysis and interact with the data; and about some of the most commonly used available data visualization tools.

The course will include videos, PowerPoint presentations, reading materials, exercises and quizzes. Like other Knight Center MOOCs, it is divided into weekly modules that will be asynchronous, i.e. without classes or live activities. Students can choose the days and times most convenient to them to follow the course, but each module has weekly deadlines for delivering the questionnaires and for participation in discussion forums.

Although the course is free, participants who wish to receive an online certificate will have to pay an administrative fee of $ 30 by credit card. The certificate shall be issued only to students who actively participate in the course and comply with most of the requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. Certificates will be downloaded from the Internet in PDF format after the Knight Center determines that the participant has fulfilled the course requirements. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate.

This is the 15th MOOC offered by the Knight Center of the University of Texas at Austin since it launched its pioneering program in 2012 and unique in the world of open online courses and massive specialize in journalism. The initiative has benefited about 50,000 people from over 160 countries.

This is the third Portuguese MOOC offered by the Knight Center organized in partnership with ANJ and with Google's support. The first was "Introduction to Data Visualization and Infographics" and the second was "Introduction to Mobile Journalism", both held in 2014.

The National Association of Newspapers brings together the leading dailies in Brazil. The ANJ was established in 1979 to defend freedom of expression, thought and propaganda; the functioning of a press without restrictions, observing the principles of responsibility; to fight for human rights, the values of representative democracy and free enterprise.

Google is a leading global technology company dedicated to improving the ways in which people connect with information. Google's innovations in Internet search and advertising have made its website a leading Internet product and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Calmon Alves, head of the Knight Chair in Journalism and UNESCO Chair in Communication at the School of Journalism of the University of Texas at Austin. In the past, the Center received contributions from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and other donors such as the Open Society Foundations. Currently, the Center operates with the support of the School of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and the donations from the public at large.



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