Develop a more sophisticated understanding of what the term “data journalism” means and encompasses.
Data journalismSubscribe to Updates What differentiates data journalism from other forms of journalism is the reliance on quantifiable information, either in terms of the raw material used in the course of reporting, or in the presentation of the journalism to readers, or both. Data journalism often incorporates skills and tools common to statisticians, scientists, or software developers. For that reason, many reporters and editors consider data journalism to be daunting and intimidating. The reality is that anyone can learn basic skills and put them to use right away.
Big Picture A primer on data journalism
For the uninitiated, data journalism can feel like “someone else’s job” and getting started can be awfully intimidating. But the truth is using data to tell better and more important stories is critical today, and data journalism is a necessary skill for every reporter and for every beat.
Plan Learn more about data journalism
Understand why and how data journalism can make your content unique and more valuable.
Learn about how to build a data “state of mind” and how to build data capabilities, despite financial and staff limitations.
Here are several ways data journalism can contribute to the bottom line.
As data becomes a ubiquitous resource in the modern world, being able to use, understand, and report with data is “table stakes” for many news organizations. As such, newsrooms must become familiar with the language, tools and skills associated with data, including numeracy, statistics, and how data plays a strategic role in the editorial and business decisions newsrooms face.
Like any investment, data journalism requires a thoughtful evaluation of costs and benefits, which vary for each organization.
Do Tactics to help do more and better data journalism
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Identify a statewide issue that requires reporting from various locations across the state. Enlist partners with a range of applicable skills who represent different localities and mediums, including print, digital, TV and radio.
For those working in newsrooms without established data journalism expertise and resources, Karlijn Willems of DataCamp offers up a step-by-step guide to teaching yourself data journalism.
Mobile devices are often an afterthought when it comes to storytelling, because journalists are working on large screens and not testing their work on phones. Here are some useful tips for publishing effective visual stories on mobile devices.
A comprehensive index of tools, tips, practice sets and lessons for learning almost anything about data journalism.
Walk through the process, from start to finish, of putting together a data-driven story, with tips and common mistakes to avoid.
Cleaning data can be time consuming and frustrating, but it’s also a critical step in any data analysis. Learn how to use free tools and smart approaches to get your data ready for analysis.
Don’t dismiss Excel, use it. Learn the three most powerful/useful aspects of the software (sorting/filtering, formulas, and pivot tables) and how that can power many data journalism projects.
Don’t fear math. Learn to use numbers and simple math to make your stories stronger, clearer and more vibrant.
Become a data journalist in seven easy, but not quick, steps: From improving your writing to identifying computer languages to learn, to building a network, this guide walks you through what you need to know and do to add “data journalist” to your resume.
Beautiful interactive visuals or deep news apps often get social media love, but they need not be the default outcome of a data journalism project. Just as often a tightly written narrative can bring your data to life and inform your readers. When looking at how your data project should be presented to readers, consider your resources, your audiences and what will best tell the story.
It can be fairly easy to get data, but it’s always easier to misunderstand it. Before you can draw conclusions about a dataset, you have to clean it and start asking questions. Then, as you refine your data, you can highlight significant findings worthy of further reporting.
There are many ways to gather data, from downloading spreadsheets to surveys to manually entering information into a spreadsheet to scraping websites. But no matter how you get your data, make sure you also gather information to help you make sense of them.
To build a data journalism team, start small, build skills, and treat them as journalists, not developers.
Develop a checklist for the benefits a data journalism project can deliver so you can decide if it is worth pursuing.