In my experience, there's never a good reason to use VLOOKUP. You can always achieve the same functionality using INDEX (in conjunction with MATCH). Using VLOOKUP means that your formulae break as soon as someone inserts a new column in the middle of your table. And clicking the cell with the formula doesn't immediately show you which two columns are used by the function.
More (opinionated) Excel tips here:
Even as a data scientist working with other data scientists, my most common deliverable is a Google Sheet.
How can we have reproducibility in scientific research if we don't all make the same errors?
According to the Wall Street Journal, yes.
The Trendy New Way to Organize Your Schedule: A Paper Planner https://apple.news/AMN1W-MtTRCecQ-qIeFUQSQ
It seems to work :p
It's just there, a refactored version ( yekyll) is already in the works
Is it too much to ask that people treat a field with a bit of respect? Like, just because NYT reporters can use some of these "data skills", can they hold off a bit until we figure out if they're even any good at statistical analysis after their crash course? We currently have an entire academic field that has to throw away a lot of their findings because tools like sheets and SPSS gave them false confidence. I don't have any higher hopes for the NYT newsroom.
The purpose of this material isn’t to suddenly turn normal reporters into data scientists, it’s to give them a better grasp and understanding how how to evaluate different types of information that become important when reporting.
I don’t know how good or bad this material is — a cursory glance shows that it’s very low-level, the type of stuff I learned in my 100 level accounting and stats classes as an undergrad. But I won’t dismiss this material being made available and potentially augmented for all — tho I wish it was stored in GitHub or GitLab.
If you look through the material, there is nothing that actually says that someone who goes through this training will be a skilled data journalist. But it might just prevent poorly-interpreted articles like this  from being written.
And for the record, I’ve worked with data journalists who were more skilled in math and computer science than the engineers I work with at giant tech companies.
Also anything is better than SPSS.
Tracking major operations in Excel, mostly outside the existing ERP which is happening more often than not in my opinion, is big no-no.
Side note: I know people pasting screenshots from other Excel sheets into Excel sheets....
Whether you are a finance person working on balancing the sheets (or whatever else they do, that's beyond my knowledge) or an operation person building complex macros, it is both versatile, easy to use and yet powerful.
The byproducts of this is that it is also subverted by the genius of human ingenuity and you end up with some pretty interesting, awe-inspiring contraptions.
Such as building a calendar system but using arrow graphs to fill it out.
And that's fine, except when you try to scale things up to automate the process and save people money.
Now you have to do some pretty wasteful engineering to accommodate this pesky creativity we have.
That is the really interesting and a testament to being a really good software (in features and reach).
It breaks the boundaries of the limited vocabulary of computers and therefore can only be fully leveraged by humans.
It's both a great reminder that most people in the world are not on the same level as the crowd around here  and that as the group who create tools used by such an audience, we have to be mindful of that.
On a positive note, I think there are some interesting work being done to rethink how to approach those tasks, I remember using one product in particular that had the right mix of being visually engaging while enforcing boundaries. But this won't solve the issue of users having to hack their way into getting what they want how they want it.
I've come across a few spreadsheets that made me want to meet and learn something from the authors. Some have been very elaborate and surprisingly resilient.
I'm not sure whether there's a good answer to your question
If there is, I'm sure that most 'Excel pros' don't know it.
A super simple example is keeping track of monthly bills when you have flat mates, and need to split them every month. It’s not so critical that I feel the need to version control it etc, but it’s still nice to have a visually inspectable record. Even though I spend most of my days writing code, anything I can dream up that involves python or whatever just seems unnecessarily opaque and baroque. A spreadsheet is ideally suited to the task.
If your data can be manually entered it's decent, or if you just need to filter CSV by some columns. But anything above that please choose a proper programming language and data format.
"Teaching Pandas and Jupyter to Northwestern journalism students" [in DC] https://www.californiacivicdata.org/2017/06/07/dc-python-not...
You can also develop d3.js visualizations — just like NYT — with jupyter notebooks and whichever language(s).
"Data-Driven Journalism" ("ddj")
"The Data Journalism Handbook 1"
"The Data Journalism Handbook 2"
While there are a number of ScholarlyArticle journals that can publish notebooks,
I'm not aware of any newspapers that are prepared to publish notebooks as NewsArticles. It's pretty easy to `jupyter convert --to html` and `--to markdown` or just 'Save as'
Regarding expressing facts as verifiable claims with structured data in HTML and/or blockchains: "Fact Checks" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15529140
Does this course recommend linking to every source dataset and/or including full citations (with DOI) in the article? Does this course recommend getting a free DOI for the published revision of an e.g. GitHub project repository (containing data, and notebooks and/or the article text) with Zenodo?
Couldn't they just day the course materials are now available?
Context: I work in the OER space and I'm interested in the material, but can only use it if there is an explicit open license attached to it.
But the real problem is journalists (and their audiences) who, for a lack of professional ethics, don't give a crap about which parts of their stories can/cannot be backed up quantitatively. Besides selling newspapers, not giving a crap also has the great benefit that now they don't have to learn math, or programming, or logical thinking, or any of that.
Is that a joke?
Both are relatively easy to dabble in, both relatively hard to reach expertise.
Things like the inverted pyramid, sourcing and neutral voice will get you fairly far in terms of basic information relaying, but great journalists are specifically skilled at interviewing, data diving and other things tertiary to pen on paper.
In retrospect, I was never suited for journalism. I can write well, but that's not really a great (traditional) journalism skill. The finished product for hard news is fairly bland and paint by numbers. Anything else treads into entertainment-journalism and the kinds of things that have a bunch of people screaming "fake news." I call that Race-To-The-Bottom Journalism and it's very in vogue these days.
"AI-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the next knowledge economy" https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/06/droidward-and-botstein-can...
As a parallel, maybe journalists should pair with subject matter people (even subject matter generalists) rather than have them as “sources”. There are of course people who are great at both things (your Nate Silvers) but the whole process might be cheaper and more efficient if, gee, the New York Times would have a couple onstaff PhD economists (not star columnists) that sit in the newsroom trying to give shape to the facts about to be reported, side by side with journalists.
And it links to a book on the topic too.
> Roy Peter Clark... whittled down almost thirty years of experience in journalism, writing, and teaching into a series of fifty short essays on different aspects of writing
(disclosure: I am a former j-school professor)
Were you doing journalism for a web site?
/Degrees in journalism and communications (not to be confused with a communication degree)
I don't think this kind of induction training was typical - it was just put on by that particular company at that particular period. But it was very good. Shout out to the trainer who I still remember 30 years later. You were excellent Tim https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-ring-33b7233
Larger companies have PR people to handle that kind of thing. In a startup, though, it could easily be a programmer who talks to the press, because there isn't anyone else.
I’ve done one, I’d recommend it. I have rarely talked to journalists, but the skills are useful in any situation where you’re being ‘grilled’, like a job interview.
Small things like putting the executive summary on top, starting every speech/article/email with a hook that tells the user why they care, etc. If a bunch of coders could master those skills, and combine it with data analysis and web design skills, then they could become a force that can compete with the mainstream media.
Time for me to learn jQuery and create a startup.
Programmers don't typically have to do journalism. They do have to write, but writing =/= journalism. If we're talking about writing classes for programmers, personally I don't think there's anything special about the programmer use case, as opposed to "writing in professional contexts" in general.
If you currently work at the NYT as a data-science researcher, doing the job that journalists without data-science experience can’t do, and you see your job imperilled by this, you’ll want to do exactly what these journalists are doing, but in reverse: Expanding their role to something they didn’t previously do in order to stay competitive in the job market.