Data Journalism

Learn to find and use data to tell powerful stories

Data Journalism

Data and Investigative Journalism means the unveiling of matters that are concealed either deliberately by someone in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances - and the analysis and exposure of all relevant facts to the public.[1]

The role media can play as a watchdog is indispensable for democracy and it is for this reason that RNTC strengthens the capacity building of investigative and Data journalism throughout the world. Credible Data stories, are increasingly pivotal to public confirmation of the continuing importance of professional journalistic work in the coming years.

This Data journalism course explores the ever-growing set of tools, techniques and approaches to storytelling using data. During this course you will acquire the skills for searching, understanding and visualizing digital sources in a time that basic skills from traditional journalism just aren’t enough.

Data journalism is another way journalists and civil society actors can scrutinise the world and hold the powers that be to account. With an increasing amount of data available, now more than ever it is important that journalists are of aware of data journalism techniques. The course will show you how to access public data sets, scruitise the data and get the data ready to be transformed into powerful story.

This course strengthens your capacity to collect, analyse and present data in fresh, powerful and engaging stories. You will learn all the skills needed to 'read' data with great confidence, in order to expose wrongdoing and to hold the powerful accountable. 


This is a 3-week course.

This course takes place at the RNTC training centre and studios in Hilversum, which is 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.


Academic Year: 2019 - 2020
Course fee: 4655.00 Euro
All-in-fee: 6500.00 Euro


​You will be able to -

  • Find data to support (investigative) stories
  • Discover stories in existing data sets
  • Turn data from any style into a computer-ready format
  • Scrape data from websites
  • Clean data with OpenRefine and with functions in R
  • Analyse ('interview') data in Excel and with R
  • Do a descriptive and relational statistical analysis of data
  • Show the results of a data analysis in attractive graphics and on a map
  • Manage and/or teach a data project team 




For more information 



Course dates

Monday, November 4, 2019 - 09:00 to Friday, November 22, 2019 - 17:00



Why take this course


  • You can practice on a story of your own that you can finish and publish after the course;
  • The trainers are experienced and highly skilled educators, as well as practicing investigative datajournalists;
  • The skills relate closely to what you as a journalist do every day (gather, ask, check, tell) and therefore feels 'natural' - even if you need to learn some programming or unfamiliar computer software tools;
  • This is still one of the few courses where you learn to work with the statistical data analysis program R. R is available as freeware, platform independent and very versatile. It has recently become one of the favorite instruments of data journalists;
  • You will discover the benefits quickly: more sources, more precision, more impact.
  • This is a very hands-on course; you learn by doing;
  • You will also learn how to teach the basics of data journalism to your colleagues.



Course outline

Week 1:

Producing compelling stories and formats to create persuasive alternative narratives. The first week includes several small group interactive sessions and workshops to ensure that you learn by doing.

It includes:

Know your target audience module:

  • Where do ideas come from?
  • How to zero in on an audience
  • Mapping your target audience

Persuade your target audience module:

  • What is learning and why this is important to understanding audiences
  • How do people learn? Information, skills, and behaviours
  • The ingredients of persuasive aims

Storytelling for media professionals module:

  • Narrative journalism versus information journalism
  • The eight essential elements of story
  • Symbols and universal truths

Creative formats to engage audiences module:

  • How do we tell stories using media?
  • Ten engaging formats and what makes them unique
  • Creating a viable and practical research plan (Story-Based Inquiry)
  • Personal safety and computer security


Week 2

In week 2 you delve into the world of data journalism:

  • Introduction to Data Journalism
  • Why should Journalists use Data?
  • Find data to support (investigative stories)
  • Discover stories in existing data sets
  • Find data on the internet and in online resources
  • Turn data from any style into a computer ready format, either in Excel or R
  • Scrape data from websites
  • Clean data with with OpenRefine and with functions in R
  • Do a descriptive and a relational statistical analysis of data in Excel and R
  • Show the results of a data analysis in attractive graphics and on a map
  • Manage a data project (team) with programmers and designers
  • Data verification

Week 3

The third week is focused on the RNTC learning-by-doing approach. We will work with you to develop stories using data.

Dates and deadlines

Course dates: 4 November  - 22 November 2019 OKP & MSP scholarship application window: 7 February - 14 March 2019

Admission requirements

The course is for experienced broadcast, print, and/or online journalists and reporters who are keen to increase their knowledge of practical Data journalism methods and techniques to uncover and tell original stories that may change societies.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • You are currently working as a journalist and have a minimum of three years' experience in or for a media organisation.
  • You are able to provide the original proof (or a properly certified copy) of your most recent educational qualification in secondary or higher education.
  • You have sufficient skills in spoken and written English as this is the working language for our courses.  

After you have completed all the course sessions and assignments, you will receive an RNTC certificate and join the ranks of our more than 4,000 RNTC alumni worldwide.


You may qualify for a scholarship for an RNTC course. The most commonly awarded scholarships for our courses are the OKP and MSP (MENA) scholarships. OKP fellowships are available for 52 countries and MSP scholarships for 10 countries. For more information, please visit our scholarships page.