Training on data journalism

I run training for apprentice journalists studying for the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) data journalism module through Bauer Academy, including people working for Reach and ITV. I am also the chief examiner for NCTJ data journalism module, which involves marking, helping to set exams and the rules for both exams and coursework.

I am an associate lecturer on data journalism for Oxford Brookes University, teaching both undergraduates and Masters students. I previously delivered a term-long module on using data in journalism at Birkbeck, University of London as part of its journalism MA courses and have provided day courses for City Lit in London, Birmingham City University and Westminster University as well as for corporate clients including the Press Association and the Office for National Statistics.

Topics I can cover in training include understanding data; avoiding mistakes while dealing with it; understanding risk; assessing data quality; running surveys; sources of data including government and open data; predictions; Freedom of Information, including bulk FoI surveys; using spreadsheets effectively; data on health and healthcare; combining and manipulating data; and graphing and mapping, including my own work in this area.

My data journalism training is based primarily on my own successes and mistakes over many years, as well as reading and research. I provide an accessible introduction to data journalism techniques for those with limited experience in the field, and new ideas for established practitioners.

I am happy to plan and deliver a customised version of this course for corporate clients on premises following discussion of specific needs. I can also carry out one-to-one training in person or remotely at a competitive price, or can suggest alternatives if something you require is outside my experience.

Please get in touch: +44 7967 502073 or mail [AT]

Comment on data in journalism training course at the NUJ

Thank you @samathieson for a very informative and enjoyable ‘Data in Journalism’ course today. Great content and networking opps. (The Nic.E Consultancy on Twitter)

Comments on data journalism training course at City Lit

An excellent introduction to the topic. Steve explains the points clearly, is patient with questions and generous with the information. I am planning to take further training with him. (Teresa Couceiro, Editor of El Heraldo de Londres)

The course was a great reminder and reassurance that despite all we hear about the death of journalism, the need to report, analyse and tell stories continues and the world of data and digital actually opens up new opportunities to do just that. (Francesca Baker: blog, Twitter)

My reading list on data journalism

Training on freelance business

I have run one-day courses on First steps in freelancing and Winning and Negotiating freelance work for the National Union of Journalists since 2018.

First steps in freelancing is designed for new and recent converts to the freelance life, while Winning and negotiating freelance work focuses on these areas with lots of exercises and role-playing.

2023 dates

First steps in freelancing: Friday 9 June (online). NUJ members £40, student members £30, non-members £110.

Winning and negotiating freelance work: Friday 23 June (online). NUJ members £50, student members £40, non-members £130.

Starting as a freelance journalist for NUJ Training Wales: Thursday 19 October (online). NUJ members resident in Wales £5, NUJ members not resident in Wales £10, others resident in Wales £15, others £30.

Click on a date for further information and booking on the relevant NUJ website.

Comments on NUJ First steps in freelancing course

Having become institutionalised at the BBC for over 30 years it felt like I was stepping off a cliff when I decided to resign and become freelance. Steven’s NUJ course First steps in freelancing answered so many questions in a very practical way that I have the confidence to take the first steps on this new path. This course is the best investment I have made so far. I highly recommend Steven’s training; he is professional, friendly, and very experienced. (Jonathan Kempster)

Big tks to @samathieson for tutoring First Steps in at @NUJ_LFB last Friday, 05th October! I highly recommend this course! (Erica Dezonne on Twitter)

Comments on NUJ Winning and negotiating freelance work course

Thank you for sharing your insight and extremely valuable advice – it really helped in turning a corner after a long period languishing from old freelance wounds. (Participant on Winning and negotiating freelance work course)

Your course has giving me a boost and made me value myself more as a professional journalist… I would never have dreamt of asking for more money before, something that I’ve now done twice – one with success and another with a maybe, so that’s a start! (Participant on Winning and negotiating freelance work course)

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One-to-one training in person or online

I can provide one-to-one training on data journalism or freelance business techniques, including online, such as through Skype (using its screen-sharing facility as well as voice). Please contact me +44 7967 502073 or mail [AT] to find out how this can work and for a quote.

I couldn’t get to Steven’s course [on using data in freelance business], so 121 Skype training was ideal. In an hour we covered tremendously useful ground about workload management and job rates. Very practical and highly focused. I now have a far more realistic overview of what work I can handle, what to charge, and when to turn jobs down. Highly recommended, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by a low-paying workload. (Jules Horne, Texthouse)

Training on other topics

I am happy to discuss running training on other topics where I have expertise, such as on healthcare and government. However, please note that I do not normally offer media training (ie, training on how to deal with media interviews; as mentioned above I do provide training for those working in the media). If you are looking for people who can provide this, try the NUJ Freelance Directory.