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Data Journalism Bootcamp FAQ

What is “bootcamp”?

IRE’s Data Journalism Bootcamp is a weeklong, in-person workshop that gives journalists a solid foundation for using data in the newsroom. We cover finding and negotiating for data; vetting, cleaning and analyzing data; and ensuring that your analysis is solid. We call it “bootcamp” because it is intense training that will change your (journalist) life!

What's the difference between the three bootcamps?

Other than when they take place, each bootcamp offers a different advanced skill toward the end of bootcamp. But all three bootcamps offer the foundational basics: Finding and negotiating for data, vetting your analysis and using numbers in your stories. All three bootcamps ensure that attendees are comfortable working with data in spreadsheets, which is an important skill for ​​every journalist using data in their reporting. No matter which bootcamp you take, you will get intensive training in data fundamentals. 

Which bootcamp is right for me?

  • The Google Sheets + SQL bootcamp (January) is good for anyone who has done minimal or no data work in the past, and who wants to build confidence in using data for stories. This bootcamp will also introduce you to bigger, multi-table datasets. If you know you’ll likely need to tackle that kind of data in the future, this option would be a good fit for you.
  • The Google Sheets deep dive (March) is good for anyone who has done minimal or no data work in the past, and who wants to build confidence in using data for stories. If you’ve messed around with spreadsheets before and felt daunted, don’t worry: We’ll go slowly and make sure that you are comfortable with Google Sheets and some of its lesser-known bells and whistles before the end of the week. 
  • The Google Sheets + Python (August) is good for anyone who has done a bit of data work in the past and is eager to learn more about scripting your data analysis and wrangling data from websites, PDFs or malformed data files. We’ll make sure that everyone is solid on spreadsheets before introducing you to the Python programming language, which can supercharge your data acquisition and analysis.

What does bootcamp schedule look like?

In general, our bootcamps run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT, Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday. The schedule provides attendees with several breaks and an hour and a half for lunch. We also include three optional open lab sessions after training and two optional group dinners.

You can find more detailed schedules for each bootcamp here: 

If I already attended bootcamp, do I need to attend again in the new format?

Not necessarily. A lot of the material will be the same as previous bootcamps. If you’ve taken bootcamp already and feel comfortable with spreadsheets and SQL, but want to get into Python, you might consider taking our mini-bootcamp in Python, or taking classes in Python at our NICAR or IRE Conferences. If you participated in a bootcamp, but since then haven’t been able to use or remember the skills you learned and have the means to take it again, you’re more than welcome to do so! Many people have participated in  multiple bootcamps and found it a worthwhile experience.

What separates bootcamps from IRE’s other programming? 

The Data Journalism Bootcamp is IRE’s only weeklong intensive training program. Hundreds of journalists have taken it and gone on to do great data work.

Can I get financial assistance for a bootcamp? 

Yes! IRE has several fellowships that can cover your bootcamp expenses (along with fellowships for other IRE training programs and our conferences). Visit our fellowships and scholarships page to learn more. There are three bootcamp-specific fellowships: 

109 Lee Hills Hall, Missouri School of Journalism   |   221 S. Eighth St., Columbia, MO 65201   |   573-882-2042   |   |   Privacy Policy
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