Telling Your Story with Data

Telling Your Story with Data

Categories: Programs and Training | Intended for , , ,

Friday, June 16, 2017 - Sunday, June 18, 2017

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Add to calendar

1105 Richcraft Building

1125 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON

Contact Information

Diana MacKay, 613-520-2600 x8925,



About this Event

Host Organization: Global Academy

Join two of Canada’s leading data journalists to learn how to use storytelling techniques on traditional media platforms or through the communications channels in your organization to get your messages heard. Whether you seek to convey key policy ideas to leaders, share organizational knowledge with colleagues, or galvanize action among specific audiences, effective use of storytelling that incorporates insightful and persuasive data can make all the difference.

This workshop offers intensive hands-on instruction with the essential tools for working with electronic records. Participants learn to use spreadsheets, mapping and other software to turn raw data into savvy communications pieces that convey your message with the flair provided by access to and use of good data. The workshop emphasizes the particular skills journalists and professional communicators use to deploy innovative and intriguing elements within a story derived from a broad range of data sources. The workshop is highly relevant to journalists, government officials, business people, academics, and any others seeking to enhance their ability to communicate captivating and compelling messages.

Participants will leave with a long list of ideas for data stories they can take back to their organizations. Computers and software used in the sessions will be provided.


Day One

Evening Orientation Session

Day Two

Morning session: Microsoft Excel – The group will split into two sessions based on participant familiarity with Excel. Those with little or no experience will learn how to navigate through spreadsheets, calculate sums and averages, write basic Excel formulae and experiment with Pivot Tables to summarize data. The more experienced participants will focus on advanced PivotTable techniques, graphing, and joining two sets of records.

Lunch talk: A discussion of how to find stories within data. Students will be given examples of data stories that they can do for their news outlets.

Afternoon session: Mapping – Participants will learn the fundamentals of mapping software and its use as a tool to develop news stories from geographic data. Using ArcGIS, they will learn to combine mapped data to uncover the relationships between news events and geography. The focus is on using mapping to find news stories in “spatial” data and not just creating graphics to illustrate stories. Time permitting, participants will also be introduced to Quantum GIS (Qgis), an open-source alternative to ArcGIS.

Day Three

Morning session: How to handle data – A tutorial on using open-source MySQL program. The MySQL program allows you to make use of data sets of limitless size.

Lunch talk: Finding data for stories. A discussion of strategies for obtaining electronic records using open-data portals and Freedom of Information requests.

Afternoon session: Web-scraping with Python – Participants will learn to write simple computer programs in the easy-to-learn Python language to harvest data from the Internet. Web-scraping allows reporters to bypass the clumsy interfaces to online data by downloading it automatically to their computers, and formatting it for use in Excel.

Dates and times:

7:30pm – 9:30pm | Friday, June 16th, 2017
9:00am -- 5:00pm | Saturday, June 17th, 2017
9:00am -- 5:00pm | Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Location: 1105 River Building, Carleton University

Registration fee: $495 plus HST. A reduced price of $395 plus HST is also available for currently practicing journalists (only by invitation).

There is a registration cap of 25 participants. The registration fee includes morning and afternoon coffee breaks and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Workshop leaders:

David McKie, CBC
Glen McGregor, CTV