Data Diary & Reading Responses

To get you in the habit of writing, you will be assigned to one of two teams: the Red Team and the Blue Team. Each week, each team will alternate between a Data Diary and Reading Response entry. You will be also responsible for commenting on at least two of the other team’s entries. So, if you’re writing a Data Diary, you’ll also be responding to the other team’s Reading Responses that same week.

We will check your entries for completion and may discuss entries of interest in class. You may find these entries useful as springboards for larger writing assignments.


Data Diary/Reading Response entries are due on Sunday night, and responses are due on Tuesday night.

  • Post Data Diary entries in the #data-diary channel on Slack.
    • Your entry should be 1–2 paragraphs long.
  • Post Reading Responses in the #reading-responses channel on Slack
    • Your entry should be 1–2 paragraphs long.
  • Comment on either
    • Comments should be at least 1 full sentence long.
    • While the use of reaction emojis is encouraged, an emoji does not constitute a response.

Data Diary

In the Data Diary, you are asked to think about the themes you have learned in class, and to contemplate their connection to the outside world. Here are some ideas:

  • Find a misleading number in the news or media and write about it
  • Choose a particularly effective use of numbers or data in the news/media and write about it
  • Comment on a current event, locally, nationally, or globally. How might data illuminate that event?
  • Make a chart, any chart — about your day or week, about your friends, about your family, about your community, about data you found on the web. Then write a short (2-3 sentences or so) rationale about what you graphed and why. See Matt Shirley on Instagram, who makes a chart every day and has 425,000 followers
  • Attend a campus event. Describe the role of data in that event and/or connect to themes from our class.
  • Find a data journalism article in the media/on the web, or an article that makes strong use of numbers or data graphics. Comment on how that article connects to what we’ve been learning in class.

Reading Responses

  • Respond to a class reading from a personal or contemporary public perspective


See the Schedule at a glance