Toolbox Newsletter, Issue XIII

Nov. 17, 2020

Welcome to our spreadsheet-palooza issue …

My UIC journalism student shudder when they hear the words “spreadsheet exercise.” They hear it often. And while I try to make the work as painless as possible, it still hurts.

I usually start with basic datasets in Google Sheets and show them how to scrape, sort, filter and analyze data. The video training below gives you a dataset that will teach all of those skills. it runs about 20 minutes, but carve out some time to try it. It’ll be worth your time, and at the end, you’ll have a real, usable database you can turn into a story.

Video training: An exercise on scraping, sorting and doing basic math calculations in Google Sheets. You’ll be working with a small dataset on state-by-state bridge inspections. You’ll be asked a series of “challenge questions” on the assignment to see if you calculated and sorted the data properly.

Around the Web

A must-bookmark: It’s getting cold, so if you’re reporting on winter weather or doing a guide to surviving winter storms, we have a deep archive of winter weather resources on the Toolbox.

Other tools:

In Quotes …

“I keep six honest-serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”

— Rudyard Kipling


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