Investigative Reporting & Data Visualization Training

 About this Lesson

Mike Jenner
Houston Harte Chair and Professor
Missouri School of Journalism
University of Missouri

Investigative journalism is a powerful and compelling approach to reporting and storytelling. Investigative journalism has brought about significant changes to public policy — it has saved lives and even helped topple a president. It has helped draw audiences to newspapers, websites and broadcast stations and networks. And it can be practiced by student journalists, although strict ethical standards and best practices need to be followed to perform it responsibly.

Data visualization is a useful tool in reporting and presenting investigative journalism. Visualizing data can help investigative reporters identify trends and understand stories better, and can allow them to tell their stories effectively and powerfully.

What you will learn

After completing this unit, you should be able to:

  • Understand what investigative reporting is
  • Understand some of the risks of investigative journalism and why it’s important to exercise care to do it in a responsible and ethical way
  • Have some ideas for investigative stories your students might pursue
  • See how data visualization can help inform your students’ reporting and presentations

How the lesson works

First of all, this is an asynchronous lesson unit, which means no live events are scheduled for this lesson. You can complete learning activities at your own pace whenever is convenient for you. Despite the asynchronous nature, the learning tasks are organized to help you succeed.

To be successful in this unit, please complete the following tasks:

• Watch the lecture.
• Take the quiz to test your own understanding.  This will help you to strengthen the concepts you just learned.
Optional: Due to the amount of content to be covered in a single unit, we encourage you read these additional resources. Some of the quiz questions might come from the readings in Additional Resources section.

Watch the Lecture



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 Take the Quiz


Direction: Some of the questions might from the readings in Additional Resources below


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Lesson Resources

Lecture Script: Download it here

Printable Quiz: Investigative Reporting and Data Visualization

ASNE Classroom Resources

Lessons: Investigative Reporting and Data Visualization

Additional Resources

DailyTekk: “Over 100 Incredible Infographic Tools and Resources (categorized)

Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press: “First Amendment Handbook

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “Open Government Guide

GCF Learn Free: Excel Tutorials

Google Sheets: Google Spreadsheet Tutorials

HighCharts Cloud (with tutorials)

Tableau Public



Knight Lab: “Timeline JS”

Knight Lab: “Juxtapose JS”


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