September 20, 2011

Latin American journalists can now apply for online course on Infographics and Data Visualization

The course, “Introduction to Infographics and Visualization for Journalists will be taught in Spanish beginning October 10 and ending November 20, 2011 through the distance learning platform of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. The course will be taught entirely online by Spanish journalist Alberto Cairo at a cost of $60. Students have until September 29, 2011 to apply.

In this course, Cairo will teach participating journalists, how to work with graphics to communicate and analyze data. “You don’t need to know how to draw, nor how to use complicated software,” he said. “Instead, you need to educate yourself to think in a more visual way, something that is within everyone’s reach. This change in mentality is fundamental for the future of journalism. I will also explain how to create computer graphics/display departments, which professionals to hire and how to train them.”

The course is aimed at journalists who don’t have design experience, who want to better understand how to plan coverage using infographics, and for designers and artists interested in a more journalistic and functional vision through its use. Part of the problem is that “print journalists believe that it is the job of computer graphics designers and artists only, while designers and artists believe that a traditional journalist will never be able to create good graphics,” Cairo said. “Both groups are wrong. Infographics is not an art, but rather a means of visual communication and its rules can be learned with relative ease.”

The course is divided into weekly modules containing audiovisual presentations and links to online resources. Exercises, online discussions and additional assignments will also be part of the curriculum. “It is very important to enter the class each day.,” advises Cairo, “I understand that we all have jobs to attend to but, as a minimum, each person should at least enter the classroom early Monday morning because that’s when the most important points of the course will be posted.” Participants can expect to spend 10-20 hours per week on the course. Interested journalists have until 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on September 29, 2011 to apply.

More details about the course can be found here

In addition to his work at Época magazine, Cairo was a professor in the Master em Jornalismo program in Brazil and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Spain. He was also the James H. Shumaker term assitant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught at the >Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, Spain. Between 2000-2005 he was the director of interactive infographics at El Mundo where his design team won the most awards in the Society of Newspaper Design (SND) and Malofiej contests. He regularly blogs for Periodismo con Futuro de El Pais and is the author of two books on infographics.

“We are very proud at the Knight Center to have Alberto Cairo among our instructors this year,” said director Rosental Alves. “He is one of the best journalists in the world specializing in infographics who moved from his native Spain to the United States. After a successful career in Madrid, he recently transferred to Brazil. He has been one of the first to understand the art of using interactive, digital graphics for the journalistic narrative.”

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Alves at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism. It was funded with a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Center also receives contributions from other donors, including the Open Society Foundations and The University of Texas at Austin. The Center’s main goal is to help journalists in Latin American and the Caribbean improve the quality of journalism in their countries.