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Computer-Assisted Reporting/Database Journalism

Rational for the Course


Journalism practice has left the outdated ‘man bites dogs’ algorithm. The practice of journalism has gone beyond literary story-writing and the power of the pen has been challenged by computer keyboard. Today’s journalism is about online data gathering and distribution using Internet search engines and computer software programmes. Contemporary journalism has gone beyond the concept of readers’ consumption of news to engagement with the news. Readers are no longer satisfied with just reading news but interacting with the news through host of online news sources and databases. Journalists no longer have to make do with what a story source dictates but to query the database and dig deeper with a view to publishing a very exclusive investigative story.

 Relevance of the Course to the Job Market

In this competitive world of shrinking global labour market, Journalism graduates or practitioners must add market value to themselves in this area of digital journalism to be able to impress employers who are desperately looking to maximise profits by being the first to break the news. This course will not only make learners marketable but will also position them among the new generation of journalists on a global scale.


 What Students will Gain from this Course

*  Confidence in conducting investigative journalism and breaking news stories through computer database. * Good understanding of the technical-know in building and usage of  journalism database.                   *  How to access the Freedom of Information Acts and other related resources to generate investigative    stories.

*  Demonstration of the ability to do thorough Internet search for related information in packaging exclusive     stories.

*  Good awareness of how data can be stored online for universal accessibility and how mobile devices can     help in the news gathering and reporting processes.                                                           *   Understanding of how basic Microsoft programmes     can be used to build and gather data for     journalism.                                                                                                                                   *  Confidence in embarking on online database projects.



Entry Requirements


This course is suitable for journalists, journalism students and all those aspiring to pick a career in modern day journalism.  No formal academic qualification is required as long as students have basic literacy and numeracy skills and able to use computer and the Internet.


Professional Certificate in Online Journalism (database track)

 Indicative Course Contents


 Unit 1: Understanding database Journalism: what is it used for?


Unit 2: Case studies of award-winning database projects in USA and UK

Unit 3: How to use database for Investigative  Journalism

Unit 4: Journalism data containers and data evolution

Unit 5: Journalism data analysis using Microsoft Excel.                                                                   Unit 6: Journalism data analysis using Microsoft Access.                                                                 Unit 7: How to make pivot tables that will summarise trends in data gathered in spreadsheet. Unit 8: Using google Docs to find stories.                                                                                           Unit 9: Creating an offline journalism database (Practical session).


Professional Diploma in Online Journalism (database track)


Indicative Course Contents

Unit 1: Understanding database Journalism: what is it used for?

Unit 2: Case studies of award-winning database projects in USA and UK

Unit 3: How to use database for Investigative  Journalism.                                                              Unit 4: Methods of data transfer from web pages, basic web scraping and PDF files using Microsoft Excel and Google Docs.                                                                                                       Unit 5: Creating a sharable online journalism database (practical session).                                  Unit 6: The journalist in the Cloud.                                                                                                       Unit 7: The visual Journalism revolution.                                                                                            Unit 8: Mobile News Gathering.                                                                                                            Unit 9: Web 2.0 and the resultant social media journalism