Columbia College

Using Data to Find the Story: Covering Race, Politics and More in Chicago

November 16, 2018
Teaching Date
Nov. 30, 2018
Columbia College, 33 Ida B. Wells Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

This program is limited to journalists whose work primarily focuses on the Chicago area.

Chicago is the City of Broad Shoulders and even broader data sets. How can you make sense of all the public information about geographic boundaries, income brackets, level of education and more? What does the data reveal about how race and class intersect — and diverge?

Poynter — with support from the McCormick Foundation — is presenting a day-long workshop about best practices in data visualization led by Matt Stiles, a data journalist at the Los Angeles Times. Kameel Stanley, “We Live Here” podcast co-host, will join Stiles to share how she helped create a searchable database to show the public how Missouri schools handled K-12 suspension.

You will learn how to:

  • Use numbers to tell your stories in compelling ways
  • Use the easiest (and most budget-friendly) tools to sort through and interpret data
  • Create a database using public records, even if you have few resources
  • Unearth story ideas that could affect the upcoming Chicago municipal election 
  • Find new resources and data specific to Chicago 



Subject to change. Updated Oct. 3, 2018.

9 a.m. — Welcome remarks
9:15 a.m. — Data visualization tools
10:15 a.m. — Best practices in data visualization
10:45 a.m.  — Break
11 a.m. — “We Live Here” database: How’d they do that?
12 p.m. — Lunch (included in tuition)
1 p.m. — Crunching data from Chicago
3:30 p.m. — Break
3:45 p.m. — Taking it home: What story ideas emerged from data sets
5 p.m. — Farewells 

Who will benefit

This program is limited to journalists whose work primarily focuses on the Chicago area.

Journalists who are interested in learning how to use quantifiable information to deepen audience understanding of their stories will benefit. 

Application process

The process to apply is straightforward and simple. No letter of recommendation or reference is required. Please be prepared to answer questions about your professional experience, areas of interests and basic demographic information.


Tuition for this one-day workshop is $25. Some scholarships are available.


Email us at


Thank you to our sponsor:

McCormick logo

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon