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R for Journalists


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Room: TBC, Goldsmiths, University fo London

Take your data journalism skills to the next level with this two-day course looking at R for journalists and an introduction to the command line.

In our two-day introduction to R you’ll cover data and text analysis in RStudio, using APIs to get data into RStudio and visualising your findings.

What is R and how can it be used by journalists?

This two-day course will teach you the how to get the most out of one of the most popular programming languages for dealing with data. R is a free open-source statistical computing language that will prove helpful and save you time whether you're scraping, querying, analysing or presenting your data.

Caelainn Barr will be showing you RStudio then using APIs to get data into RStudio and build visualisations from it. And on day two, Karrie Kehoe will be showing journalists how to take command of the command line.

You will need a laptop to attend this course. Instructions will be sent as to what you'll need downloaded closer to the time.

Day 1: An Introduction to R & RStudio

To begin we'll talk about the origins of R, what it can be used for, take a tour around RStudio, import data and learn some basic functions for getting to grips with our dataset. We’ll also use R for some data wrangling and learn how to sort, filter, join and carry out some other basic functions in R that will allow you to identify trends in the data for storytelling.

Day 2: Further analysis & graphics in RStudio

On the second day we’ll look at pulling data from APIs using RStudio and performing analysis on text documents. We’ll finish the class by exploring the grammar of graphics using ggplot2 package for basic visual analysis and presenting your findings.

On the second day, Karrie Kehoe will be teaching an introdutory session showing you how to use the command line for useful functions and shortcuts.

Why R?

Duc Quang Nguyen, data scientist and data journalist at swissinfo.ch confesses that R is one of his most used tools.

Timo Grossenbacher, Programmer / Reporter for SRF Data, the data journalism unit of Swiss Radio & TV, based in Zurich, discusses Why Journalists Should Start Using R

Ashley Kirk, data journalist at The Telegraph chose R as one of the three programming languages journalists should know.

About the Trainer

Caelainn Barr is a reporter on the data projects team at the Guardian. She has used data analysis to uncover the misuse of expenses by the European Commission and human rights abuses in Ethiopia at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. She has also worked at the Wall Street Journal, the Irish Times and Bloomberg.
She is a graduate of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia Journalism School in New York.
Described by the participants as "a great trainer" and her courses as "concise and clearly presented".