NICAR Courses

IRE has been training journalists for more than 30 years. While a lot has changed over that time, the techniques of good reporting stay the same. NICAR Courses will help you offer a class grounded in those techniques, while also making use of the best tools and data stories available.

Let IRE’s experienced trainers give you everything you need to offer your students a foundation in reporting with data using spreadsheets.

This spreadsheet module will give you all of the materials you need to give your students a hands-on introduction to data journalism. NICAR Courses isn’t a textbook but provides step-by-step teaching guides and real data to go along with the exercises. These datasets have been used by professional journalists and will give your students real-life examples of how to find stories in data.

Instructors should expect the materials to cover two to three weeks of class and include some of the best tips from IRE trainers on how to teach particular concepts and keep students moving forward at a steady pace. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’re happy to help you bring these valuable lessons to your classroom.

Pick the version that works best for your class: Excel for PC, Excel for Mac or Google Sheets.


What’s included:

  • Four exercises on spreadsheet basics, including functions and sorting
  • Three exercises on using rates and ratios
  • Three exercises on filtering and using PivotTables
  • A guide to importing data from text and PDFs
  • Step-by-step instructions and exercises for scraping data from websites using Google Sheets
  • A hands-on guide to cleaning data in Excel/Google Sheets
  • A cheat sheet of spreadsheet formulas
  • Teaching tips from IRE trainers
  • 15 data sets used in exercises throughout the course
  • Instructor version includes step-by-step instructions, teaching tips and exercise guides with instructions, questions and detailed answers.
  • Student version includes exercises (without answers); detailed guides to importing, scraping with Google Sheets and data cleaning; and a quick reference spreadsheet guide.


Want to learn more?

Instructors can download sample materials including the table of contents and portions of a teaching guide and exercise (student and instructor versions).

If you’d like to see more, email We can send you the entire course pack, minus the data, so you can figure out if NICAR Courses is right for your class.


Ready to register your class?

The first step is to fill out our enrollment form. Once you’ve submitted your information, a member of the IRE team will send you an instructor’s version of the course pack free of charge. Students will be able to purchase and immediately download the student version of the materials from the IRE Store. NICAR Courses costs $20 per student.

If you have questions about the enrollment process or need special accommodations, please contact Lauren Grandestaff at