The report gets to the heart of the issue of how the skill is taught both in journalism schools and in the newsroom. On j-school’s approach to teaching data journalism:

[T]here is a need for basic numeracy among journalists, something we’ve taken to calling the “Final Cut vs. Excel” problem, where journalism schools are more likely to teach tools related to basic video production than to basic data exploration.

Even j-schools that have data journalism classes often emphasize the tools used for presentation over those used for investigation. If there’s one thing journalists should take away from this report, it’s that taking a basic Excel course should be a necessity. Even simple spreadsheets can be a valuable reporting tool. Every journalist should be getting between them.

*Anna Codrea-Rado was, in a small part, involved in the production of the report.


Anna Codrea-Rado is a digital media associate at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @annacod.