We’ve received lots of questions about whether the optional Computer-Assisted Reporting day at the Baltimore conference June 11-14 is suitable for people new to CAR. The answer is “Yes.” The day will serve as a good introduction to the tools and tricks of analyzing electronic information. In addition, hands-on classes Friday through Saturday will give you actual experience using spreadsheets and databases.

Here are some Thursday panels I think would be suitable for those new to CAR as well as seasoned veterans:

Thursday (6/11/09) Panel(s)
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. CAR’s greatest hits: 2008-2009 (this one is good for story ideas)
10:10 – 11:10 a.m. Criminal Justice: Understanding crime statistics
11:20am – 12:20 p.m. Math for journalists
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Fun software toys and freebies
3:40 – 4:40 p.m. Data basics: How to find it and get it in electronic form
Money matters: How CAR can strengthen coverage of the financial crisis
4:50 – 5:50 p.m. Cutting-edge Internet tips and tricks
Getting it right: Bulletproofing your data analysis

Hands-on Excel and Access classes are taught by experienced journalists and instructors. You don’t have to sign up for those, as they are first-come, first-served. If you’re new to CAR, I would recommend starting with Excel 1 on Friday at 8:30 a.m. Here’s a rundown of the times and days for the various classes:

Friday (6/12/09)
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Excel 1
9:40 – 10:40 a.m. Excel 2
10:50 – 11:50 a.m. Convert and import PDF’s into Excel
2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Mining the invisible Web
3:25 – 4:25 p.m. Importing text and HTML into Excel
Saturday (6/13/09)
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Access 1
9:40 – 10:40 a.m. Access 2
10:50 – 11:50 a.m. Access 3
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Excel 1
3:40 – 4:40 p.m. Excel 2
4:50 – 5:50 p.m. Internet searching for data

Feel free to contact me at jaimi@ire.org with any questions. See you in Baltimore!

Jaimi Dowdell, IRE training director