• The University of Sheffield

Data Literacy for Journalists

Expand your understanding of data journalism and grow your data literacy skills.

A woman with glasses observes data on a computer screen.

Understand the role and importance of data for journalism

With a world increasingly driven by data, knowledge of data and skills to handle data have become increasingly important for journalists.

This six-week course from the University of Sheffield and Reach PLC will empower you with the skills to understand, use, and report data accurately and ethically.

After completing this course, you will improve your data literacy and have the foundational knowledge and skills to use data for journalism.

Learn how to use FOI techniques for data collection

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act is an important tool for journalists that allows access to and publishing of information held by public authorities.

You’ll learn to use FOI to access and collate information and improve your data collection skills to create comprehensive datasets.

Discover how to clean data, perform data analysis and present data

While data is powerful, it is not valuable in its raw form. As a data journalist, you will be required to transform raw data into information that can be easily understood and utilised.

On this course, you’ll learn to identify basic errors in data, prepare data for analysis, and improve your understanding of data. These skills will help you to present data and create valuable insights and information that can be used to enrich journalistic reporting.

Explore data ethics with the University of Sheffield and Reach PLC

Data ethics is an essential topic in data journalism. As a journalist, you need to employ ethical principles and fair practice in the analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data.

With the expertise of your course educators, you’ll be equipped with the skills you need in order to present accurate, impartial, and informative data that protects sensitive and personal information and serves to further knowledge and understanding.

What topics will you cover?

  • Data journalism
  • Data collection
  • FOI skills
  • Data cleaning and analysis
  • Understanding data
  • Presenting data
  • Data ethics

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify data sources and use tools to collect data for reporting
  • Apply FOI techniques in your own practice
  • Identify basic errors in data and prepare data for analysis
  • Improve your understanding of data and skills to present data
  • Improve knowledge of data journalism
  • Improve, evaluate and reflect on ethical practices of using data for journalism

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for working journalists and students of journalism who want to improve their data literacy and use data in their journalism.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Jingrong Tong, Senior Lecturer in Digital News Cultures at the University of Sheffield. She has expertise in data journalism studies and social media analysis.

Claire Miller is an award-winning data journalist & expert on FOI, with over a decade's experience of using data skills to dig out data, find stories and create visualisations. http://clairemiller.net

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.


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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course


One-off payment

Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

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  • Limited access to course content for 6 weeks

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Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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