Dataviz Class

NEW 300/600 – Part of the Digital Media 3-Pack

Writers who understand data and analytics are in high demand at digitally-focused news organizations like The New York Times and The Guardian. In this course, you’ll learn where to find good data sources, “interview the data” to uncover interesting stories, and create interactive visualizations and experiences that you can easily publish online.


This course is about telling stories through numbers presented through graphics that can be explored by the viewer. In any given day we are bombarded with stories driven by numbers, from the number of people infected with Ebola in West Africa to the number of crumbling bridges that need to be replaced. But simply providing the facts in text, video or voice is sometimes not as effective as showing it visually through a chart, graph or map. Even better: if readers and viewers can dig through the data by clicking on visual elements, they are transformed from passive recipients of information to active researchers, learners and potentially even contributors.

Course Objectives

  • Provide an overview of common types of interactive visualizations and how they’re used in journalistic storytelling around the world.

  • Develop practical skills around finding and presenting data in several types of visualizations, using different tools.

  • Get comfortable working with numbers and make friends with math. It’s not your enemy!

  • Provide basic understanding of how web coding and data fit together to create interactive experiences.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should have a solid understanding of the following:

  • Where to find public data, and what format and fields are typically required in order to present it in a visual way.

  • How to clean up and normalize the data you find using Excel and Google Drive.

  • How to analyze and “interview” data to uncover interesting stories.

  • How to create different types of interactive visualizations (maps, sortable searchable tables, graphs, timelines and infographics) using online services.

  • How to create visualizations using simple code based on HTML, Javascript and Jquery that you can publish anywhere on the Web.

What is this class not?

While we teach some basic code literacy, this is not really a coding class. If your goal is to learn how to become a master coder you should consider many other more qualified 3-credit courses and programs offered elsewhere at Syracuse University.

Learn More

Learn more about this course through the syllabus and schedule.