Precision journalism and Pulitzer prizes

Precision journalism means the use of computer software and social science techniques like statistics to bring evidence, not just anecdotes, to reporting. Two Pulitzer-winning database journalists will give hands-on instruction in how to use simple tools like spreadsheets to analyze government data for patterns that lead to stories. Workshop participants will learn to import data, sort, filter, create new variables using functions and to build cross-tabulations that reveal hidden patterns. They also will learn to use descriptive statistics and tools like scatterplots and linear regression to see what is normal in the data — and, more interestingly, what is abnormal. Workshop participants should bring their own laptops, loaded with Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet software.

Workshops are free entry but registration is required. Each workshop will have a limited number of participants. The workshop registration form will be put on the website soon. Workshop registration will begin on 15 March 2012.