This article from the New York Times discusses the volume in credit default, the safety of European sovereign bonds, and the changes in net contracts in Italy, Spain, and France.
the reporter used to computer-assisted reporting to help visualize the trends in these different categories. The use of charts made the the statistics much more powerful, and easier to understand.
The necessary computer skills this reporter needed to write this article are experience with a spreadsheet and knowledge of how to create a chart. They also needed to know what scale to put the charts on to maximize the differences in the numbers.