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Sigma Delta Chi Foundation gives $10,000 to For Journalism for data journalism training



Robert Leger, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation President, 602.444.8138, rleger@spj.org
Ellen Kobe, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317.920.4785, ekobe@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation will give $10,000 to For Journalism, a start-up organization that aims to expand and improve the technology skills of journalists.

For Journalism — started by Dave Stanton, a University of Florida journalism instructor and Web developer — aims to provide an industry-wide solution for educating the next generation of journalists with data and programming skills. It is an effort to equip every student, mid-career journalist and professor with the knowledge needed to learn technical skills for doing journalism.

“The tools journalists need to do their jobs are changing as quickly as technology can think up something new,” said Robert Leger, president of the SDX Foundation. “We don’t know exactly what the future will bring, but we know it will require training well beyond college. We’re excited to see how For Journalism, with its long-form courses, will help journalists continually improve their skills.”

Stanton, a former Poynter technology fellow, has assembled a group of journalists and Web developers to offer online classes on various topics, including data visualization, data science/statistics, mapping and Web coding. These lessons are meant to address technical skills that journalists and journalism students need to have in an increasingly digital and Web-first industry.

For Journalism aims to set itself apart from other online journalism training through its comprehensive scope. The courses are meant to be long-term classes that take participants from beginning to end.

“Our instructors have contextualized our material to solvable journalism needs, but it's impossible to eliminate student questions,” Stanton said. “There are many sources for online training, and one of the big impediments to finish is the frustration of being stuck and having no help. The generous support of the SDX Foundation will help us build virtual study group functionality into the FJ experience and help journalists clear learning hurdles together.”

Lessons will include e-textbooks and virtual study groups with peers. In this sense, courses will be more like a semester-long college class than a one-hour lunchtime webinar. Stanton plans to expand, adapt and update the educational experience as time goes on.

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public foundation that is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism. For more information about the SDX Foundation, please visit www.spj.org/sdx.asp.

Founded in 2013, For Journalism is a collective of data-journalism professionals that are creating cross-platform learning materials to better equip journalists for collecting, editing and distributing data in fulfillment of journalistic goals. FJ as a brand is administered though Smart Media, LLC, a Florida-based design research and prototyping studio. For more information about For Journalism, please visit http://forjournalism.com.

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