Tag Archives: Finding Stories In Spreadsheets

Data journalism tips in Albanian (Të gjesh histori në faqet e Excel-it)

Data journalism book Stories with Spreadsheets

I spent some time recently in Albania delivering some training in data journalism to journalists. While I was there, the translator Ermal Como translated two chapters of my data journalism book Finding Stories in Spreadsheets, and a 14-page cribsheet for Excel formulae, into Albanian.

In addition, there is an exercise on learning spreadsheet techniques by finding stories in European Investment Bank data.

With his permission I’ve made the three documents available for anyone who might find them useful. You can find them embedded below: Continue reading

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All my data journalism ebooks are $5 or less this Christmas

data journalism books

The prices of my 3 data journalism ebooks — Data Journalism Heist, Finding Stories in Spreadsheets and Scraping for Journalists — have been cut to $5 on Leanpub in the lead up to Christmas. And if you want to get all 3, you can also get the data journalism books bundle on Leanpub for more than half price over the same period, at $13. Get them while it lasts!

How to: fix spreadsheet dates that are in both US and UK formats

640px-Date_format_by_country.svg

This map by Artem Karimov shows which countries use which data formats

It’s quite common when working with Google Sheets to have data set to US format (Month-Day-Year) without realising it. This is because Google will format your dates based on what ‘locale’ or language you have set – and the default is US English.

Instructions on how to change that are here – but what if it’s too late? What if you’ve already inputted or imported data which, when updated to a different format, will make it the wrong date? Continue reading

How to: calculate or find rankings in spreadsheets using RANK, LARGE and SMALL

The ebook version of this tutorial includes a dataset and exercise to employ these techniques.

Right at the start of my book on Excel for journalists I talk about sorting data to find out which values come top or bottom. However, there is a family of functions which will give you a lot more control in finding out not just who is top or bottom, but the rank of any value in any series of values.

This is particularly useful if you want to compare ranks.

Pakistan ranking story

Many stories are based on finding out where your own country or region ranks in the latest data

Consumer ranking story

Ranking isn’t just about statistics – it can be used in consumer stories too

For example, say you had a table showing school performance across the last two years.

Each table shows the percentage of pupils achieving the top grades in that year. You can use RANK to find out what rank each percentage would have placed the school in for each year. Continue reading

Spanish version of data journalism book now live: “Excel para periodistas”

A Spanish translation of my ebook ‘Finding Stories in Spreadsheets’ is now live. The book is available for an initial special discount price of $4.99 for ‘early adopters’.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to add chapters to the English version, which you can download from here. The latest chapters deal with using query-based URLs in Google Sheets, and generating random numbers for mapping.

Spanish version of ‘Excel for Journalists’ on the way

 

A Spanish version of Finding Stories in Spreadsheets – titled ‘Excel para periodistas’ (Excel for Journalists) – should be available in the next few weeks.

The translation is being done by Barbara Maseda. If you want to know when it’s going to be available you can register to be informed on the book page.

HOW TO: Find out the ages of people using Excel

excel for journalists ebook

This post is taken from the ebook Finding Stories With Spreadsheets

“How do I calculate an age in Excel?” Marion Urban, a French journalist and student on the MA in Online Journalism in Birmingham, was preparing data for the forthcoming UK General Election.

In order to do this Marion had downloaded details on the candidates who had stood successfully in the previous election.

“It was a very young intake. But it wasn’t easy to calculate their ages.”

Indeed. You would think that calculating ages in Excel would be easy. But there is no off-the-shelf function to help you do so. Or at least, no easy-to-find function.

Instead there are a range of different approaches: some of them particularly, and unnecessarily complicated.

In this extract from Finding Stories in Spreadsheets I will outline one approach to calculating ages, which also illustrates a useful technique in using spreadsheets in stories: the ability to break down a problem into different parts. Continue reading