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Computer- Assisted Reporting/Database Journalism

 

 

Rationale 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Journalism practice has left the outdated ‘man bites dogs’ algorithm.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.

 

 

 

 

 

Overall aim of the Course

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.

 

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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 public and private resources to                    generate an investigative story.
    • 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 journalism.

    No formal academic qualification is required as long as students have basic literacy and numeracy skills and able to

    use computer.

     

    Course Title: Professional Certificate in Online Journalism (database track)

     

    Course Code: DJ410

    Taught Level: Level 4

    Contact hours: 20 hours

     

    Indicative Course Contents

     

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

     

    The unit explores the meaning, concept and practice of database journalism. It backgrounds the                   beginning and underscores the importance of DJ in modern day journalism practice especially in

    conducting investigative reporting.

     

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

     

    Specific cases of award-winning database projects are being showcased and discussed with

    a view to familiarising students with its practicality. Specifically, database projects

    like EveryBlock, OpenCorporates, VoteWatch.eu, Adrian Holovaty's Chicagocrime.org are

    treated in appreciable length.

     

    Unit 3: How to use database for Investigative  Journalism

     

    This unit begins by exploring the concept of computer-assisted investigative reporting (CAIR).

    It demonstrates the use of database in scooping stories as well as building well researched breaking news.

     

    Unit 4: Journalism data containers and data evolution

     

    This unit explores various options available to storing data. It looks at data structures, data types and

    how they impact investigative journalism.

     

    Unit 5: Journalism data analysis using Microsoft Excel

     

    Spreadsheet applications are known for their gridlines and mainly used to store concise data that

    users can later manipulate. The unit explores the following:

      • How data in Spreadsheet can help journalists get story ideas- teaching basic calculations, rates,
      • ratios and     analytic tools);
      • Teaching built-in analytical tools in Spreadsheet such as sorting, filtering, chart creation)

       

      Unit 6: Journalism data analysis using Microsoft Access

       

      Microsoft Access is a typical example of database management software which can be

      applied to journalism.

      The unit teaches how to use Microsoft Access to create a database and how to use a database to enhance

      investigative journalism.

       

     

    Unit 7: How to make pivot tables that will summarise trends in data gathered in

                 spreadsheet

     

    This unit teaches in-depth data analysis as well as demonstrating graphical analysis of data in

    relation to journalism and general data.

     

    Unit 8: How to use Google docs to find story ideas

     

    Unit 9: Creating an offline journalism database (Practical session).

     

    This unit teaches how to design, create and manage a database for a stand-alone newsroom.

     

     

     

     

     

    Course Title: Professional Diploma in Online Journalism (database track)

     

     

     

    Course Code: DJ710

    Taught Level: Level 6

    Contact hours: 20 hours

     

    Indicative Course Contents

     

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

                    (optional for holders of our professional certificate qualification)

     

    The unit explores the meaning, concept and practice of database journalism. It backgrounds the

    beginning and underscores the importance of DJ in modern day journalism practice especially in

    conducting investigative reporting.

     

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

                       (optional for holders of our professional certificate qualification)

     

    Specific cases of award-winning database projects are being showcased and discussed with a

    view to familiarising students with its practicality. Specifically, database projects like

    EveryBlock, OpenCorporates, VoteWatch.eu, Adrian Holovaty's Chicagocrime.org are treated in

    appreciable length.

     

    Unit 3: How to use database for Investigative  Journalism

            (optional for holders of our professional certificate qualification)

     

    This unit begins by exploring the concept of computer-assisted investigative reporting (CAIR). It

    demonstrates the use of database in scooping stories as well as building well researched breaking news.

     

    Unit 4: Methods of data transfer from web pages, basic web scraping and PDF

                 files using Microsoft Excel and Google Docs.

     

    This unit teaches and demonstrate how journalists can collaborate with their peers based in remote

    locations by converting data from .xlx to HTML.
    Students will also learn how to export a .csv file from the internet to Excel and to Access for advance query.

     

    Unit 5: Creating a sharable online journalism database (practical session)

     

    This unit teaches and demonstrate how to design, create and manage an online enterprise

    journalism database for collaboration and global accessibility.

     

    Unit 6: The journalist in the Cloud

     

    This core of this unit exhibits how journalists can upload data to a secured and retrievable online location.

     

     

    Unit 7: The visual Journalism revolution

     

    The concept of multimedia journalism and the ever changing wave in journalism practice are addressed

    in this unit. It teaches how to producing a visually appealing story as well as how to create and profit

    from an online video (e.g the YouTube experience).

     

    Unit 8: Mobile News Gathering

     

    This unit teaches contemporary techniques in obtaining story sources with the use of mobile

    devices. It includes how to create news alerts and subscribe to ‘on-the-tap’ news sources some of

    which are free. The unit is also specific about the use of some apps like Audi Boo and Qik.

     

    Unit 9: Web 2.0 and the resultant social media journalism

     

    This is a generic unit on how the worldwide web is changing the face of journalism.

    Specifically, the unit touches on the following:
    * What is web 2.0 and how did journalism arrive there?
    *  The return of Citizen Journalism.
    *  Maximising the potentials in facebook, utube and twitter
    * How to create and engage in online blog as an adjunct of citizen  journalism.