NICAR 2017 presentation: Lonely Coders

Here's a presentation I gave at the National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting (NICAR) annual conference back in March in Jacksonville, Fla.

For the past few years, I've talked about how to do data in your newsroom when you're the only one doing it. This year I talked less about specific tips and tools and more about the conceptual process, more broadly — good things to think about.

The idea was to talk through the process of planning, pitching and executing data stories when you're the only one doing them.

You can find the presentation here.

Note: I transcribed the notes from the conference audio and tried to clean it up a bit; please forgive any typos or phrasing that doesn't translate well into writing.

Excel Presentation

In an effort to spread knowledge throughout the newsroom, those of us who are not reporters have been asked to give workshops to share some of our skills. The thing I chose to share this first time was Microsoft Excel.

As I pitched it, it was Excel 101: Starting out with the very basics, and getting as far as we could go in the scheduled half hour.

It seemed to go well. We covered:

  • Basic navigation
  • Cell References, relative and absolute
  • Formulas, values and formatting
  • Basic cell calculations
  • Excel Formulas (SUM and AVERAGE)

Then we got into a real-world dataset and looked at sorting and filtering and calculations. At the very end I gave a peek at PivotTables just to demonstrate what Excel is capable of.

Here's an Excel tipsheet (PDF) that I created for an earlier workshop that also covers these basics.

Maps presentation

I was invited to give a presentation on mapping to the local chapter of the Online News Association a while back. You can see it online here.

I used the reveal.js framework to get it online, so you can see an expanded version of my notes for most slides by using the down arrow on the keyboard or by clicking the down arrow in the presentation.

I drew most of the slides with my iPad + Pencil. Initially I was using it to brainstorm, and then thought, why not just make these the slides. I think it turned out ok.