Due: Thursday, September 24
Points: 5


Make a copy of this Google spreadsheet and place it into the Google Drive folder you’ve made for this class. Fill out the three sheets as described in the requirements.


  • Create a Google Drive folder for this class and name it PADJO2015-JDOE, except put your own first initial and last name in place of “JDOE”. This is where much of your class work will go.

  • Make the folder viewable and editable by me, i.e.

  • Make a copy of this Casual Spreadsheet and place it in your own PADJO2015 folder. By default, it should be visible by me because it’s in the folder.

  • Fill out the 3 sheets (after deleting the examples I’ve given) with 5 entries each.

  • local-restaurants - Local places to eat that you’ve liked or at least have eaten at.

  • people-to-fbi-foia - List relatively well-known and deceased persons whom you are interested in asking the FBI for their files. Make sure you can’t already find their FBI file posted somewhere on the Internet.

  • twitter-news - List news-related Twitter accounts that you follow.

Spreadsheets shouldn't just be used when you need to crunch data. They're a great tool for organizing all types of data, whether it's a todo-list or even your reporting notes. Think of using a spreadsheet as a drafting tool for journalism. The extra overhead of a spreadsheet gives you the ability to easily sort and filter your information; you can always dump it into a regular text file when you have a better idea of the scope and shape of information you need to collect.

In this exercise, you're asked to make a copy of this workbook and fill out its 3 sheets (5 entries each). This could easily be done in a traditional, straight-forward list (e.g. "Hey, tell me your 5 favorite local restaurants").

But by collecting it in a spreadsheet, we make it very easy to organize data not just on a per-person basis, but to combine the data contributed by many people. This is the foundation for (sanely) conducting a crowdsourced, distributed data project.


A nice essay by Backchannel on how the invention of the humble spreadsheet “unleashed the power of business modeling—and created an entrepreneurial boom”

Google Forms |

Google’s handy tool for creating free online surveys that feed directly into Google Spreadsheets.

Resources and articles about how to request files from the Federal Bureau of Investigation via FOIA.

A short overview of the importance of spreadsheets