Certificate in Data Journalism

Takshashila's Certificate in Data Journalism (CDJ) course helps participants become better journalists by employing analytical, interpretation and visualisation techniques that exploit the increasing wealth of data that is becoming available today.

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At the end of four-week course, participants can expect to have developed expertise in some of the following aspects:

“The smell test”: How do you decide a certain number makes sense? How can you quickly call the bluff on some numbers or on numbers-based analysis? How do you design “sense-checks” such that you don’t get bulldozed by data?

Asking the right questions: Upon looking at numbers-based analysis, what is the kind of questions to ask? How do you extract additional information from a numbers-based story?

Making sense of numbers/graphs: When presented with a set of numbers and visualisations, how do you understand them, make sense of them and draw insight from them? How can you put numbers or graphs in context for your readers/viewers, and help them appreciate the numbers better?

Towards building good visualisations: What kind of visualisation helps best explain your data? What story are you trying to communicate with each visualisation? How can you make simple yet effective graphs using MS Excel?

Using data to effectively tell stories 

Course Structure

The course will be entirely delivered online by GCPP Learning Network, in a series of eight 90-minute webinars. Each of these webinars will be followed by a short assignment. There will be a final exam. Candidates who successfully complete the webinars, assignments and final exam will be awarded the certificate.

The sessions will be a combination of classic lectures and case discussions. Case discussions will mostly consist of discussion of examples and snippets from the Indian and international media.


The course is primarily targeted at practicing journalists (print, television and digital) and students of journalism who want to get a grounding in data and the practice of data journalism. Visualisation experts and graphic designers working in journalism will find value in the course.

While there are no pre-requisite educational requirements, it is strongly recommended that applicants have studied mathematics up to at least the Pre-University/Class 12/equivalent level.

Participants can be based anywhere in the world. The lectures will be timed so as to be most convenient to participants in India. We welcome participants from around the world. 

A computer with a webcam and a good broadband connection are necessary for taking the course.

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The course will be offered between 27th May and 19th June, 2014. The course will consist of eight web-based sessions. These sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:15 and 10:45 am.

Each week, there will be an assignment which needs to be completed and mailed within one week. There will be a total of four such assignments.

CDJ Course Outline


Karthik Shashidhar is Resident Quant and Faculty Fellow at the Takshashila institution. He is also a data scientist and management consultant, and writes a regular column on electoral data for Mint. He has a B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Madras and a PGDM from IIM Bangalore.

Pavan Srinath, is head of research at Takshashila. He was previously with Arghyam and Public Affairs Centre and was educated at The Takshashila Institution, University of Wisconsin-Madison and IIT, Madras.

Nitin Pai is co-founder and director of the Takshashila Institution. Before moving back to India to start Takshashila, he worked for the Singapore government’s info-communications authority in several capacities, and obtained his master’s degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

Students will be evaluated on both the quality of their assignments and the quality of their participation during the lectures. There will be a minimum cut-off which the students will have to pass in order to be eligible for a certificate.

The fee for this course per participant will be Rs. 40,000 plus taxes payable to GCPP Learning Network. For the May-June 2014 course, participants can enjoy a special introductory fee of Rs 20,000, plus taxes.


Exceptional Kannada-language journalists covering national and Karnataka-state issues can qualify for a special scholarship.  Candidates seeking scholarship should state their request and make their case in the online application form.


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Offers of admission will be extended to selected candidates over email along with instructions on payment of fees.