We’re all about storytelling — and there are countless stories to be told that can be discovered with data. At Stanford, you’ll learn how to use data to boost your multimedia reporting to the next level.

What You’ll Learn


Carolina Wilson (MA ’15) focused on transportation in Silicon Valley’s San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, building up sources and refining her story ideas with our faculty. The result was an award-winning scoop that captured a major tension in the Bay Area between bikers and regular commuters. “Tired of being bumped, Caltrain bike commuters push for more space”


Students in Winter 2015 launched Peninsula Press’ Data Hub with about a dozen data-driven stories about topics as diverse as vaccination rates to cleantech investment to Airbnb rental regulations.


To humanize Silicon Valley’s homeless issue in Santa Clara County, Yuqing Pan (MA ’15) spent hours over multiple days chronicling the experiences of a homeless couple. She used advanced DSLR photography, professional audio techniques and non-linear video editing to produce a mini-documentary, an in-depth written report, a data infographic and a map. “Santa Clara County’s homeless hope for hotel rooms after shelter closes”


To achieve a cinematic look, student Nick Salazar produced a mini-documentary with DSLR video about suspended driver’s licenses, staying with the story for several weeks as he followed an individual who regained her license. “Millions of Californians struggle to manage financial burden of suspended driver’s licenses”


Using Excel and SQL data analysis, Farida Jhabvala Romero’s (MA ’15) found sources in data sets and was then able to identify and tell those individuals’ stories, in a report about suspended license crimes in Menlo Park. She also built a data scraper and had to do mapping for analysis. “Driving with suspended license top crime in Menlo Park, many lose cars”


Three students in the Spring 2015 investigative reporting course, pushed for data, records and documents when key sources wouldn’t talk to them for an investigative report about the difficulties of hazardous waste regulation in California. “Sims Recycling plant shows difficulties of hazardous waste regulation”


To illustrate the issue of bike crashes in California, Jeff Barrera (MA ’16) built a searchable data application that shows actual bike crashes on a map. “Bike Crash Mapper”


Chelsea Janes (MA ’13) — who is now focused on sports reporting at The Washington Post — localized a national story about professional women’s soccer. “No Bay Area team in women’s soccer league”


Matt Hansen (MA ’14) shared the story of gay rodeo participants in a character-driven narrative. “For gay competitors, a rodeo to call their own”

Software and Platforms You’ll Gain Experience In:

  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Hindenburg Audio Editing
  • GitHub
  • Google Fusion Tables
  • The command line
  • Sublime Text Editor
  • SQL
  • Python
  • R
  • Advanced spreadsheet techniques
  • Twitter API
  • Tableau
  • ArcGIS Mapping
  • Tabula and data cleaning
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Wordpress CMS
  • Jekyll
  • Social tools like Hootsuite
  • Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram


The Graduate Degree in Journalism requires a minimum of 45 units. In addition to seven required courses, students have to take two specialized writing courses, chosen from a list of eleven, and three approved electives from among graduate-level courses in the Department of Communication or from among courses across campus. We encourage students in the program to take courses outside of the department in everything from statistics to coding to design thinking.

Except for COMM 289P Journalism Master’s Thesis, all courses must be taken for a letter grade. To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better. Graduation requires a GPA of 3.0 or better.


Electives Across Stanford

For a listing of all active courses at Stanford and their schedules for 2021-2022, go to Explore Courses:

Stanford Explore Courses website

Sample Schedule


Autumn Quarter (sample)

COMM 225: Perspectives on American Journalism (4)

COMM 273D: Public Affairs Data Journalism I (4)

COMM 275 Multimedia Storytelling (3-4)

COMM 279: News Reporting + Writing Fundamentals (3-4)

Winter Quarter (sample)

COMM 216: Journalism Law (4)

COMM 274D: Public Affairs Data Journalism II (4)

Specialized Reporting Course

Elective Course

Spring Quarter (sample)

COMM 289P: Journalism Thesis (4)

Specialized Reporting Course

Two (2) Elective Courses

Guest Speakers and Events

Working journalists and media industry pros are frequently invited to classes as guests to share their professional expertise and practical insights relevant to the challenges impacting the ever-changing media landscape. Recent guests have included Jill Abramson (former executive editor of The New York Times), Barton Gellman (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist) and Simon Rogers (data editor at Google). Additionally, there are numerous events across the Stanford campus almost every day that bring prominent technology executives, entrepreneurs and journalists to speak.

The Stanford Journalism Program also has co-hosted conferences that have featured journalists from news organizations like Reuters, NPR, The New York Times, Florida Sun-Sentinel and MuckRock.

> “Data Driven: Coding and Writing Transportation’s Future”
> “Corruption: Who Plays? Who Pays?”
> “125 Years of Journalism at Stanford”
> “2016 Computation + Journalism Symposium”

Journalism Thesis Project

The Stanford Journalism Program provides a unique opportunity for students to showcase their talents as prospective authors and journalists. Each student will launch an intensive, in-depth inquiry into an area that he or she is personally interested in examining and critiquing at length. The MA Project represents a major commitment of time and effort. While there is no formal publishing requirement, the completed project must be judged by a member of the Journalism faculty to be of a quality acceptable for publication. Successful completion is a precondition for graduation from the program. MA Projects are typically launched during Winter Quarter with a deadline-driven submission date of the last day of class of Spring Quarter.

Student Media and Professional News Partnerships



Students enrolled in the Journalism Program have priority access to the Chilton R. Bush Journalism Laboratory, which was recently remodeled with multiple LCD displays, brand-new iMac computers and ergonomic workstations. The space is equipped with a host of new information technology resources: multimedia hardware and software applications (like Final Cut Pro X), data visualization applications (like Tableau, ArcGIS), audio-visual editing and production systems, as well as content management and web-publishing tools. Stanford’s newly updated Lathrop Library offers a wide range of software editing programs, video equipment and a fully staffed tech help desk. The Journalism Program also makes classroom use of Wallenberg Hall, one of the most innovative and technologically-enhanced teaching/learning laboratories in the world that houses a giant “wall of screens.”