Investigative Reporting: From Numbers to Narrative

Course Overview

Investigative Reporting: From Numbers to Narrative
Originally Broadcast On:
June 21, 2018
Time Estimate:
Each part will take one hour for the main presentation and questions, so a total of two hours. Sometimes presenters stay longer to answer additional questions from participants.

This is a two-part webinar series that includes two hour-long sessions.

About Webinars

In this virtual classroom, participants can join in a seminar led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty. This screencast includes live audio and a slideshow presentation in which participants can post questions and respond to poll questions posed by the host.

This Webinar was originally broadcast on:
June 21, 2018 and
June 21, 2018 Enroll Now
Details about an archived replay of the event will be announced soon. If you registered in the live event, you are already enrolled.

Data can be a powerful tool to find and tell unique stories, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start.

Part one in a two-part webinar series will introduce useful sources of data for a variety of beats and will explore techniques reporters can use to identify and track down additional data resources to enrich their storytelling. We'll also discuss interesting datasets that newsrooms large and small have used to tell unique stories of value to their audiences.

Part two will explore strategies for approaching a new dataset to scour it for unique story ideas to supercharge your reporting. We'll discuss how to watch for red flags that could lead to errors and perform simple analyses to surface trends and outliers.

What Will I Learn:
  • How data can add context and impact to stories
  • Where to look for data on the local, state and federal level
  • How to request public data
  • How to identify and track crucial data for your beat
  • How other newsrooms have found interesting data for stories

  • How to approach data for the purposes of storytelling

  • How to use data dictionaries to explore new datasets
  • How to examine data for potential pitfalls to avoid errors
  • How to understand the limits of a dataset
  • How to use analytical techniques to find story ideas and sources
  • How newsrooms have used data to enrich their reporting
Who Should Take this Course:

This webinar is ideal for beat reporters, freelancers, digital producers and civic hackers looking for strategies to wrangle data and use it accurately to find and tell stories.

Course Instructor:

Tyler Dukes

Tyler Dukes is an investigative reporter on the state politics team at WRAL News in Raleigh, N.C., where he specializes in data and public records. In his work, he has revealed how public agencies failed victims of domestic violence and how the death of an inmate in state prison showed flaws in how people with mental health issues are treated when serving their sentences. Dukes has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill's journalism school, Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy and trained reporters as a college newspaper adviser. In 2016-2017 he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Technical Requirements:

1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor (or equivalent) for Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) for Windows 7 or Windows 8
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
Adobe® Flash® Player 11.2+

1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
Mac OS X 10.7.4, 10.8, 10.9
Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
Adobe Flash Player 11.2+

Bandwidth - 1.5 Mbits/sec up and down. We strongly suggest viewing our Webinars with a wired connection.

Some networks, especially those that use a proxy server, may encounter difficulty connecting to our Webinar software. If this is your first Poynter NewsU Webinar, please test your connection.

This Webinar contains audio. Please adjust your headphones or speakers.

Questions? Read our Webinar FAQ or contact us at

You can watch our Live Webinars on your iPad with a free Adobe Connect app. To watch Webinar replays, your iPad must be able to view Flash media players. The Live Webinar experience on your iPad is very similar to watching it from your computer. You can watch the video, follow the presentation, respond to polling questions, ask the presenter questions and participate in any discussion forums.

Download the free Adobe Connect app from iTunes here. To access the live event, click on the "Join Live Event Now" button on the Webinar landing page. The virtual room will automatically load. Viewing recorded Webinars on iOS devices is not currently supported.