Data Journalism, Spring 2018

This course is for students who want to make finding and reporting stories from data part of their toolkit. It will be useful for anyone interested in investigative journalism, which nowadays is often heavily data-driven, or those keen to use data to provide context and ground-truth for regular beat reporting. You should be comfortable with numbers, and thinking critically and quantitatively. You must be prepared to work with some simple code (in R and SQL), and to get your hands dirty with real-life, messy data!

Weekly schedule

We will meet in 108/Lower NG on Thursdays from 6pm - 9pm. Your instructors, Peter Aldhous and Amanda Hickman, will maintain office hours over Skype. You are encouraged to arrange appointments to discuss your work.

Sarah Cohen: Numbers in the Newsroom: Using Math and Statistics in News

Philip Meyer: Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods


Unexcused absence from two classes will drop you one letter grade; a third unexcused absence will result in an F. Excused absences will be permitted only in extraordinary circumstances. Regardless of the reason for an absence, students will be responsible for any assignments due and for learning material covered in class.


Class participation, weekly assignments: 90%
Attendance: 10%

Good manners

Students must turn off the ringers on their cell phones before class begins. Students may not check e-mail, social media sites or other websites during lecture portions of class or while working on class exercises.

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism

The high academic standard at the University of California, Berkeley, is reflected in each degree that is awarded. As a result, it is up to every student to maintain this high standard by ensuring that all academic work reflects his/her own ideas or properly attributes the ideas to the original sources.

These are some basic expectations of students with regards to academic integrity:

Disability accommodations

If you need disability-related accommodations in this class, if you have emergency medical information you wish to share with the instructor, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please inform the instructors as soon as possible by seeing one of us after class or making an appointment to visit during office hours. If you are not currently listed with DSP (Disabled Students’ Program) but believe that you could benefit from their support, we encourage you to apply online.