Jan. 18

Introduction and Syllabus

Why should communicators learn to code? (Presentation)


  • Bluehost/Reclaim Review
  • Responsive Design Review

Responsive vs. Mobile Site vs. Mobile App

Review Topics:


  • Introduce Yourself on Slack. I’ll invite you to the Slack team and make a channel for each question that you will respond to over the session.
  • Read NYT Journalism That Stands Apart. What do you think are the most important elements of the 2020 plan? Respond in the #nytreport channel.
  • What do you want to learn? What do you already know? Fill out this form
  • HTML/CSS Review – watch Tutorials on the CodeActually.com site to refresh your memory.
  • Watch HTML Forms Tutorial Videos on CodeActually.com
  • Begin working on your updated, redesigned personal site; review Bootstrap and WordPress information.


Jan. 25 – News: Cindy

HTML Forms

We’ll go over the elements to make an html form for text inputs, radio buttons, checkboxes and dropdowns. This is the foundation of a user interaction interface.


  • Read the report Mobile First News: How People Use Smartphones to Access Information. What are the trends uncovered in the report in terms of how people consume news via mobile devices? Respond on #mobilenews Slack channel.
  • Complete your redesigned personal site. You can use WordPress, Bootstrap or any other method. Improve content, design, functionality, so you have a portfolio site to showcase your work. Due on Sunday, Jan. 29
  • Finish Exercise: Create a form that includes all the elements we described. Take some time to create the form in a nicely designed page. Consider what makes a form well designed and why that is important.
  • Do the JavaScript: Intro to Programming and Interactive JavaScript tutorials at CodeActually.com

Feb. 1 News: Steffanie

Programming Basics and Interactive JavaScript

Document Object Model
Document Object Model Handout
What is the DOM? – CSS Tricks
What is the Document Object Model – W3C

Using the Chrome Developer Tools

Manipulate the DOM with JavaScript chart



  • You will each be assigned students’ websites to provide comments and critique. Consider design, content, functionality and the extent to which he/she used advanced features learned in Web design. Use the #personalsites channel. Imagine you are an employer considering this person for a job. Be sure to include the person’s name and url that you are reviewing. Do this by Sunday, Feb. 5 at 11pm.
  • Take Quiz 1 on TRACS – this will cover HTML/CSS Review, Bootstrap, WordPress and Intro to Programming.  You will have 30 minutes to take the quiz once you start it. MC/T or F. Do this by Friday, Feb. 3 at 11pm.
  • Watch the  Making an Interactive Quiz tutorial on CodeActually.com.


Feb. 8 News: Jordan

Making an Interactive Quiz

The World of Data Journalism

Great Work

My Pinterest of Data Viz Projects


  • Read Introduction and In The Newsroom and review the Case Studies in Data Journalism Handbook. Review the data sites above. Find some other examples of interactive data journalism and post on the #datajournalism channel. Discuss the design, data, interaction.
  • Review  More Interactive Examples  (no video for this, just reference and code) tutorial on CodeActually.com.


Feb. 15 News: Charles

More Interactive Examples

Getting good at getElementById and working with JSON


  • Do the exercise at http://codeactually.com/examples.html#another. You may work in groups. Upload it by midnight on 2/21.
  • Begin work on your Interactive Quiz project. Have at least beginnings of design and form elements in a file before coming to class next week.



Feb. 22 News: Annabel

We will cover the last assigned exercise answers and then you will have time to work on Project 2.


  • Review Interactive Chart Example
  • Review the JQuery tutorials on CodeActually.com.
  • Read Getting Data Chapter. Start thinking about your final project. Write a Slack post about the type of data story you’d like to tell for the final project. Where is the data? Why is it interesting? What do you think you will find? What do you need to know to use it. Use #gettingdata channel on Slack.
  • Complete Interactive Quiz Project – Feb. 27.


March 1 News: Anna

More Advanced Applications

Interactive Chart Example



  • Take Quiz 2 on TRACS – You will have 30 minutes to take the quiz once you start it. MC/T or F.
  • Develop a brief literature review of articles (both academic and popular press) on the importance of coding. Must include at least five articles and you must discuss, compare, contrast and interplay between the articles (not just brief abstracts of each). Do this on the #litreview channel. Due March 10.



March 8 News: Bailey

Google News Lab – Data Journalism Course

Google Public Data Explorer

Google Trends Datastore





March 13-17 Spring Break

March 22 News: Jeanette

Making Interactive Charts with Google Charts

Work on Charting Project – due April 2.


Complete Charting Project

Review Searching and Filtering Large Data Sets


March 29 News: Ashley

  • Working with Large Data Sets
  • Take Quiz 3
  • Charting Project due April 2

April 5 News: Chuck

Using Excel

Excel Handout


  • Read Delivering Data. Write a Slack post on #deliveringdata covering your impression of the main points of this chapter. How do you plan to deliver data in your final project? Discuss your data and how you would like it to be presented to the user. What will be the interactive elements. Provide a good description of your final project that includes the user interaction as well as the algorithms you will use.
  • Watch API tutorial for Nov. 30.

In-class exercise: Spreadsheets allow you to work with data before you begin to visualize it. You can summarize and do other calculations and even do some basic charting, just so you can begin to identify trends, issues, outliers in the dataset. Open this spreadsheet file. Read the assignments on each tab. Start with the Exercises tab and then do the Hot Dog tab. You can review the Basic Spreadsheet video above or refer to the handout, if you have any questions about the features. Feel free to help each other. When you are done, upload your spreadsheet to your Dropbox on TRACS, changing the name to this format lastname.xlsx (where “lastname” is your last name).

Review the Advanced Spreadsheet video before class on Wed. Find the dataset on the Census site and follow along with the video.

Working with different data formats.

Take a look at these sites that can do easy conversions for you from one format to another.

April 12 News: Dylan and Ila


Scraping with Python and Beautiful Soup

Assignment: Read Understanding Data in Data Journalism Handbook. Make a Slack post in the #understandingdata channel discussing the things you need to know about the data you select for a data-driven project


Online Assignments:

Read Product Management articles.
Best Practices for Product Management – American Press Institute.
Like a Tech Company: Managing Digital Products in a Newsroom Context(preliminary) by Cindy Royal
Watch the Video: The Hunt For News Products of the Future

Slack Post – What are the characteristics of a product manager? What do you think about the emerging role of product management in news and media organizations? How do you think it compares to that role in a technology company? Do you think it is a role you’d like to perform in your career? Use #productmanagement on Slack.

April 19 News: Rachel and Dy




  • Careers and Trends – read General Assembly Report on #careerstrends Slack channel. What do you find most interesting about this report? Do you see yourself moving into any of these roles in the future? The report is uploaded as a pdf on the Slack channel.


April 26 News: Breanna and Erika

Heading Into The Future
News Nerd Jobs

Future Concepts – ways you can continue to learn to code

Project Work

Present final projects in class


One last Slack post  #wrapup –  What did you think about what you learned in the course? What was the most interesting or important thing you learned? How do you think you will use these skills/concepts in the future?

May 7 Due

You will be able to work on it during finals week. Lab hours will be announced.

Final Project – Use more advanced data concepts in an interactive presentation. Find some interesting data and figure out an interactive way to present it on a website. A story (to include text and that can include interviews, images, multimedia) should accompany. Data must be interactive (manipulate the DOM), which can include ways to sort and filter data AND present it interactively with charts. Site should have both an interactive table generated by json data with form to select and an interactive chart. Site should use responsive techniques that we discussed (fluid layout, fluid images and media queries).