Microsoft is continuing to invest in its Power BI platform and today the tech giant released a new pilot program dedicated to journalists.
Microsoft unveiled its Data Journalism Program, which at the outset feature five video courses on “visualization methodology for effective data storytelling,” and include accompanying demos for Power BI. The courses include an introduction to visualization, an overview on data exploration, detail on truthful visualization, tips for choosing the right graphics, and insights on design and narrative.
Microsoft also released a longform piece today that dives into the history and state of data journalism, along with the company’s approach to data. It focuses on Alberto Cairo, a well-known visual journalist who helped put together the video courses.
The focus on journalists is another way for Microsoft to get more people utilizing Power BI, which helps users visualize, organize, and analyze data. Microsoft is among a throng of companies developing business intelligence tools to simplify complex sets of data; competitors include fellow Seattle-area Tableau, which recently released a new version of its software platform and has touted the use of its technology by journalists. IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, and others also compete.
Microsoft rolled out a revamped version of Power BI in July 2015. The company had a previous Power BI product for sharing Excel workbooks. It released a Power BI Embedded Azure service this summer. Power BI is free to use; Microsoft also sells a pro version that runs $9.99/user/month.
Building software to help users make sense of data is clearly a priority for Microsoft, which also sells its SQL Server platform. Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that “data is the new electricity.”