National Press Club

NPC Institute offers database, spreadsheet training in January

December 9, 2012 | By Nicole Hoffman |

The NPC Journalism Institute is diving back into data journalism in early 2013 with four new classes – two for spreadsheets and two for databases.

The database class will be taught by David Donald, data editor at the Center for Public Integrity, who has taught journalists all over the country how to extract great stories from piles of data. The spreadsheet classes will be taught by JoElla Straley from NPR's research library.

The classes will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Bloomberg Room on a succession of Monday mornings starting Jan. 7 and skipping the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. So the two spreadsheet classes will be Jan. 7 and Jan. 14. The database classes will be Jan. 28 and Feb. 4.

Sign up now to master these skills. Admission is $20 per class for members, $40 per class for non-members. Space is limited, so please reserve early. Members should login to get the discount code.

To register for Spreadsheets 101 on Jan 7, click here (

To register for Spreadsheets 102 on Jan 14, click here (

To register for Databases 101 on Jan 28, click here (

To register for Databases 102 on Feb 4, click here (

JoElla's spreadsheet classes will demonstrate how Excel and other programs can be powerful tools for putting yourself in charge of your data, following campaign money and holding accountable the officials who spend our tax dollars. Her first class will help orient reporters with basic and powerful features of Excel that make data analysis a snap, including importing, formatting and sorting. The second will get into more advanced features, such as pivot tables. The class will assume a basic level of familiarity with Excel (understanding terms such as "row," "column" and "cell"), but even long-time users may learn some new things.

David's database classes will show how to use databases to make connections in databases where the secrets of governments, companies and candidates are hidden. Such connections – "mash-ups" if you will – are difficult if not impossible with spreadsheets, and learning a database program such as Access will open possibilities for your data-driven stories. He will also teach techniques for finding government data online, importing data into databases and cleaning that data so that you’re ready to go.