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New edition of Data Journalism Handbook published open access

- March 26, 2021 in Data Journalism

This blogpost is republished from the original with kind permission from Liliana Bounegru.

The first edition of the Data Journalism Handbook started life at the 2011 Mozilla Festival
(see Open Knowledge Foundation’s Flickr album for more photos from the event)

Today The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice (which I co-edited with Jonathan Gray) is published on Amsterdam University Press. It is published as part of a new book series on Digital Studies which is also being launched today. You can find the book here, including an open access version: The book provides a wide-ranging collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world. It is published a decade after the first edition (available in 14 languages) began life as a collaborative draft at the Mozilla Festival 2011 in London. The new edition, with 54 chapters from 74 leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, gives a “behind the scenes” look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organisations, startups, civil society organisations and beyond. The book includes chapters by leading researchers around the world and from practitioners at organisations including Al Jazeera, BBC, BuzzFeed News, Der Spiegel,, The Engine Room, Global Witness, Google News Lab, Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), La Nacion, NOS, OjoPúblico, Rappler, United Nations Development Programme and the Washington Post. An online preview of various chapters from book was launched in collaboration with the European Journalism Centre and the Google News Initiative and can be found here. The book draws on over a decade of professional and academic experience engaging with the field of data journalism, including through my role as Data Journalism Programme Lead at the European Journalism Centre; my research on data journalism with the Digital Methods Initiative; my PhD research on “news devices” at the universities of Groningen and Ghent; and my research, teaching and collaborations around data journalism at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. Further background about the book can be found in our introduction. Following is the full table of contents and some quotes about the book. We’ll be organising various activities around the book in coming months, which you can follow with the #ddjbook hashtag on Twitter. If you adopt the book for a class we’d love to hear from you so we can keep track of how it is being used (and also update this list of data journalism courses and programmes around the world) and to inform future activities in this area. Hope you enjoy it!

The Data Journalism Handbook Now Available in French!

- August 22, 2013 in News

This post is cross-posted from Moran Barkai’s post on The Data Journalism Handbook has reached a new milestone today with the publication of its third translation, into French, entitled Guide du datajournalisme. The handbook is a free, collaborative book that aims to help journalists use data to improve journalism. It provides inspiring examples from news organisations across the world and a collection of tips and techniques from leading journalists, professors, software developers and data analysts. The book is the product of a collaboration between the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation and was published in its original English version about a year ago. Translated by the French publisher Eyrolles and edited by Nicolas Kayser-Bril, CEO and co-founder of Journalism++, and Editorial Board member of this website, the French edition is augmented with recent examples from French and Belgian publications such as Le Monde, Rue89 and France Soir. Cover of Guide du datajournalisme, based on graphics by Kate Hudson. For Kayser-Bril, the need to publish a French edition of the book stems from the particular position of the French press. “France has some of the most pure-players in the news market. French journalists have done many innovating investigations in the past few years. Despite these very positive developments, the feeling still looms that francophone journalism is coming late to the technology party. The French version of the handbook, adding examples from France and Belgium to the original book, gives the French-speaking data journalism community a uniting reference point. The online adaptation, open-sourced on GitHub, will be improved and updated by the community itself to prepare the next versions of the handbook”, said Kayser-Bril. The French translation of the graphic by Lulu Pinney, showing what is in the book. Jean Abbiateci, a French freelance journalist and one of the winners of this year’s edition of the Data Journalism Awards, is one of the new authors added to the list of over 70 contributors to the book. In the case study entitled “Une pige de ‘scraping olimpique’”, Abbiateci recounts his work on obtaining and cleaning data for an application for the national public radio, France Info, dedicated to the London 2012 summer Olympics. Hardcopies of the French edition of the handbook can be purchased from the website of Eyrolles. The book is freely available online on Journalism++ and the /source can be found on GitHub. A Russian and a Spanish translation of the handbook have already been published and three other translations, into Chinese, Arabic and Portuguese, are in progress and will be published later this year. flattr this!

How Are Civil Society Organisations Using Data to Pursue Their Mission?

- May 30, 2013 in Data for CSOs

I am pleased to be joining the School of Data, where I will be focusing on how civil society organisations (CSOs) and advocacy groups are using data to pursue their mission, in the service of the public good – from greater election transparency, to alerting people in conflict zones to attacks, and reporting and advocacy around energy and climate change.

Over the coming weeks, we are going to be collecting the best examples of how CSOs are using data to improve their research, to boost their advocacy and outreach, or simply to inform and assist their work, by using analysis, visualisations and other means.

If you know of any particularly compelling examples, then we’d love to hear from you. You can contact me via email (liliana.bounegru[at], this form or Twitter using the hashtag #data4csos. We’ll be featuring case studies and behind the scenes stories based on some of the best examples on the School of Data blog. flattr this!

Slides, Tools and Other Resources From the School of Data Journalism 2013

- April 26, 2013 in Data Blog, Events

The School of Data Journalism, Europe's biggest data journalism event, brings together around 20 panelists and instructors from Reuters, New York Times, Spiegel, Guardian, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews and others, in a mix of discussions and hands-on sessions focusing on everything from cross-border data-driven investigative journalism, to emergency reporting and using spreadsheets, social media data, data visualisation and maping for journalism.

In this post we will be listing links shared during this training event. The list will be updated as the sessions progress. If you have links shared during the sessions that we missed, post them in the comments section and we will update the list.

Video recordings 

Panel Discussions


Slides, tutorials, articles


Tools and other resources

  • Source, an index of news developer source code, code walkthroughs and project breakdowns from journalist-coders
  • School of Data - online tutorials for working with data
  • The Data Journalism Handbook - reference book about how to use data to improve the news authored by 70 data journalism practitioners and advocated
  • Open Refine  for data cleaning
  • Gephi  for graph visualisations
  • Hashtagify  visualisation of Twitter hashtags related to a particular #tag)
  • Investigative Dashboard  methodologies, resources, and links for journalists to track money, shareholders, and company ownership across international borders
  • Tabula  open-source application that allows users to upload PDFs and extract the data in them in CSV format
  • Topsy. Social Media Analysis tool mentioned in panel on Covering emergencies.
  • DataSift Mentioned in panel on Covering emergencies.
  • Storyful The social media Newswire for Newsrooms
  • GeoFeedia Search and Monitor Social Media by Location.
  • Spokeo “Spokeo is a people search engine that organizes White-pages listings, Public Records and Social Network Information to help you safely find & learn about people.”
  • The Tor project Useful in environments likely to suffer from censorship. Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.

Projects and organisations

Enjoyed this? Want to stay in touch? Join the School of Data Announce Mailing List for updates on more training activities from the School of Data or the Data Driven Journalism list for discussions and news from the world of Data Journalism. flattr this!

Bringing The Data Journalism Handbook to Brazilian Journalists

- March 29, 2013 in Data Journalism

This post was written by Liliana Bounegru from the European Journalism Centre. It is cross-posted on As you may know, The Data Journalism Handbook is a free collaborative book that shows journalists how to use data to improve the news. When we first published it last year, we put out an open call to see if there were people interested in helping to translate the book into their language. The response was overwhelming. A couple of months later, we had over 400 registrants. Since then we’ve been hard at work to set up a global translation initiative – working with journalists, media organisations and universities to translate and localise the book for audiences around the world. Today we are pleased to announce that a group of over 30 Brazilian journalists and students are translating the book into Portuguese. The project is coordinated by Brazil’s leading investigative journalism network, Abraji, with the support of the European Journalism Centre (EJC). “Since its foundation, ten years ago, Abraji has been working hard to expand CAR and data journalism in Brazil. So, it’s almost an obligation and certainly an honour for us to help translate The Data Journalism Handbook to Portuguese. Brazilian journalists will gain a lot,” says José Roberto de Toledo, Abraji vice-president and pioneer of CAR in Brazil. Abraji and EJC will be working closely with the recently announced Iberoamerican Data Journalism Handbook, which will be building on our Data Journalism Handbook to produce a guide specifically targeted at a Latin American audience. Three other translations, into Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, are in progress and will be published later this year. The book has already been translated into Russian. If your media organisation is interested in coordinating a translation into your local language, we’d love to hear from you.

Announcing the School of Data Journalism 2013 in Perugia

- March 20, 2013 in Events, School of Data, Workshop

Update 21 March: To register for the School of Data Journalism workshops please fill in your name and email address in this form.
<em> Cross-posted on<a href=""></a> and the <a href="">OKFN</a> blog.</em>

<strong>The European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation are pleased to invite you to Europe&rsquo;s biggest data journalism event, the School of Data Journalism. </strong>
The 2nd edition of the School of Data Journalism is kindly hosted at the International Journalism Festival. Last year’s edition attracted hundreds of journalists and featured a stellar team of panelists and instructors from the New York Times, the Guardian, Deutsche Welle, Duke University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and ProPublica. This year we return with a leading team of about 20 new and returning panelists and instructors from Reuters, New York Times, Spiegel, Guardian, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews and others, and a mix of discussions and hands-on sessions focusing on everything from cross-border data-driven investigative journalism, to emergency reporting and using Excel, the Twitter API, data visualisation and maps for journalism.
The 2013 edition takes place in the beautiful city of Perugia between 24-28 April. Entry to the School of Data Journalism panels and workshops is free. 




<span style="color:#0CAAD3;">1. The State of Data Journalism in 2013 </span>(24 April)

<span style="color: #0CAAD3;">2. Data and Investigations: Collaborating Across Borders </span>(25 April)

<span style="color:#0CAAD3;">3. Data Journalism in Southern European Countries </span>(26 April,&nbsp;co-organised with Ahref and

<span style="color: #0CAAD3;">4. Covering Emergencies in the Age of Big Data </span>(27 April)

  • Anthony de Rosa, Social Media Editor, Reuters
  • Aron Pilhofer, Editor of Interactive News, New York Times
  • Dan Sinker, Director, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews
  • Elisabetta Tola, co-founder Formicablu, data journalism trainer
  • Friedrich Lindenberg, OpenNews Fellow, Spiegel Online
  • Guido Romeo, Science Editor, Wired Italy, Ahref
  • Jack Thurston, writer, broadcaster and co-founder of and
  • James Ball, data journalist, Guardian
  • Mar Cabra, multimedia investigative journalist
  • Marko Rakar, president of Windmill, blogger and data journalist
  • Paul Radu, Executive Director of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting  Project, Co-founder of the Investigative Dashboard concept
  • Guido Romeo, Science Editor, Wired Italy, Ahref
  • Liliana Bounegru, Project lead Data Driven Journalism, European Journalism Centre
  • Lucy Chambers, Head of Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Rina Tsubaki, Project lead Emergency Journalism, European Journalism Centre



<span style="color:#0CAAD3;">1. Excel for Journalism with Steve Doig</span>&nbsp; (24 April)

<span style="color:#0CAAD3;">2. Using the Twitter API for Journalism</span> (25 April)

<span style="color:#0CAAD3;">3. Making Data Visualisations: A Survival Guide</span> (26 April)

<span style="color:#0CAAD3;">4. Data Visualisation, Maps and Timelines on a Shoestring</span> (27 April)

  • Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism, Professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
  • Michael Bauer, School of Data, Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Gregor Aisch, award-winning freelance data visualisation expert
The full description of the sessions can be found on the International Journalism Festival <a href="">website</a>.
How to register There is no fee to attend the workshops but there is a limited number of available seats and they will be given out on a first-come first-served basis.More information about the registration process for the four workshops will be available in the coming days. Registration is not necessary for attending the panel discussions.
<strong>What do you need to bring?</strong>

Enthusiasm and a laptop are required for the workshop sessions. Please note for hands-on workshops tablet devices will not be appropriate.


If you have questions about the School of Data Journalism get in touch with the coordinators: <a href="">Liliana Bounegru</a>&nbsp;or <a href="">Lucy Chambers</a>.


Following Money and Influence in the EU: The Open Interests Europe Hackathon

- November 29, 2012 in Data Journalism, Events, Featured, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open/Closed, Sprint / Hackday

This blog post is cross-posted from the Data-driven Journalism Blog.
<img alt="" src="" style="float: left;width: 250px;height: 375px;margin-left: 5px;margin-right: 5px" />Making sense of massive datasets that document the processes of lobbying and public procurement at European Union level is not an easy task. Yet a group of 25 journalists, developers, graphic designers and activists worked together at the <a href="">Open Interests Europe</a> hackathon last weekend to create tools and maps that make it easier for citizens and journalists to see how lobbyists try to influence European policies and to understand how governments award contracts for public services. The hackathon was organised by the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation with support from Knight-Mozilla OpenNews.

At the Google Campus Cafe in London, one group dived into European lobbying data made available via an API: <a href=""></a>. Created by a group of five NGOs: Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Lobby Control, Tactical Tech and the Open Knowledge Foundation, the API gives access to up-to-date, structured information about persons and organisations registered as lobbyists in the <a href="">EU Transparency Register</a>. The API is part&nbsp;of, a website that aims to make it easy for anyone to track lobbyists and their influence at European Union level, due to launch in January 2013.

One of the projects created with the lobby register data is a map showing the locations of the offices of lobby firms based on their turnover. The size of the bubbles on the map corresponds to the turnover of the firm. Built by <a href="">Friedrich Lindenberg</a>, the map is an overlay of a Stamen Design map with Leafletjs.

Screenshot of showing locations of lobbying firms across Europe

Other teams focused on data analysis, comparing the data from the EU Transparency Register with that of the <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE2JbDkGcyojnufFa8-lw8sMFEpyA">Register of Expert Groups</a>. Interesting leads for possible further investigative work resulted from the comparison of the figures reported by lobby firms in the Transparency Register with those collected by the <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEOiiu39BbbE6C8eJF7FI_8J1vT9Q">National Bank of Belgium</a>. &ldquo;Some companies underreported massively to the National Bank of Belgium and some of them were making themselves look bigger in the Transparency Register,&rdquo; said Eric Wesselius, leader of the lobby transparency challenge and co-founder of <a href="">Corporate Europe Observatory</a>. Wesselius&rsquo; organisation will continue investigations in this area.

A second group of journalists and graphic designers led by Jack Thurston, an activist involved in <a href=""></a>, discussed how fish subsidy data could be used for finding journalistic stories and explored various ways in which the unintended consequences of the EU fish subsidies programme, such as overfishing, could be compellingly presented to the general public. &nbsp;

Sketch for interactive graphic showing fishing vessels, their trajectory and the subsidies they receive, made by graphic designer Helene Sears

A third group looked into European public procurement data. &ldquo;Public procurement is an area that is underreported by journalists,&rdquo; said data journalist Anders Pedersen, founder of <a href="">OpenTED</a>. &ldquo;9-25% of the GDP in the EU is procurement &#8211; highest in the Netherlands where it is around 35%. It&rsquo;s a real issue in times of austerity who provides our services,&rdquo; he added.

Several <a href=";sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEPCecCTO1CWVEDufnaAtGGR4Q4Tw">scrapers</a> were built to access the data relating to winners of contracts and the values of these contracts from the EU publication <a href="">TED</a>&nbsp;(Tenders Electronic Daily). A map of public procurement contracts by awarding city was created using Google Fusion Tables by geocoding the original CSV file, enriched with OpenStreetMap.

Screenshot of map of public procurement contracts by Benjamin Simatos and Martin Stabe

Pedersen&rsquo;s long term goal is to create an interface and an API for EU public procurement data and to publish some more visualisations. &ldquo;A lot of the work that got done here [at the hackathon] we would not have gotten done in the next months maybe. It really helped us push far ahead in terms of ideas and in terms of getting stuff done.&rdquo;


<em>Photo of participants at the hackahon by <a href="">Mehdi Guiraud</a>.</em>

Data Journalism Handbook: Why is data journalism important?

- April 25, 2012 in Data Journalism

The Data Journalism Handbook is a free, open source reference book for anyone interested in the emerging field of data journalism.&nbsp;It is the result of&nbsp;an international, collaborative effort involving dozens of data journalism&#39;s leading advocates and best practitioners &#8211; including from the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post&nbsp;and many others.

The book will be made freely available online under a <a href="">Creative Commons&nbsp;Attribution-ShareAlike</a>&nbsp;license&nbsp;so anyone can read, copy, share, redistribute and reuse it. Additionally a printed version and an e-book will be published by O&rsquo;Reilly Media. If you want to be notified when the book is released, you can <a href="">sign up on the website</a>.&nbsp;

The handbook will be released this Saturday at the <a href="">International Journalism Festival in Perugia</a>. 
Here is an excerpt from the book where leading data journalism practitioners, advocates, and enthusiasts tell us… 

Why is Data Journalism Important?


Filtering the Flow of Data

When information was scarce, most of our efforts were devoted to hunting and gathering. Now that information is abundant, processing is more important. We process at two levels: (1) analysis to bring sense and structure out of the never-ending flow of data and (2) presentation to get what's important and relevant into the consumer's head. Like science, data journalism discloses its methods and presents its findings in a way that can be verified by replication.

Philip Meyer (Professor Emeritus: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

New Approaches to Storytelling

Data journalism is an umbrella term that, to my mind, encompasses an ever-growing set of tools, techniques and approaches to storytelling. It can include everything from traditional computer-assisted reporting (using data as a 'source') to the most cutting edge data visualisation and news applications. The unifying goal is a journalistic one: providing information and analysis to help inform us all about important issues of the day.

Aron Pilhofer (New York Times)

Like Photo Journalism with a Laptop

'Data journalism' only differs from 'words journalism' in that we use a different kit. We all sniff out, report, and relate stories for a living. It's like 'photo journalism' – just swap the camera for a laptop.

Brian Boyer (Chicago Tribune)

Data Journalism is the Future

Data-driven journalism is the future. Journalists need to be data-savvy. It used to be that you would get stories by chatting to people in bars, and it still might be that you'll do it that way some times. But now it's also going to be about poring over data and equipping yourself with the tools to analyse it and picking out what's interesting. And keeping it in perspective, helping people out by really seeing where it all fits together, and what's going on in the country.

Tim Berners-Lee (Founder of the World Wide Web)

Number-Crunching Meets Word-Smithing

Data journalism is bridging the gap between stat technicians and wordsmiths. Locating outliers and identifying trends that are not just statistically significant, but relevant to de-compiling the inherently complex world of today.

David Anderton (Freelance Journalist)

Updating Your Skills Set

Data journalism is a new set of skills for searching, understanding and visualising digital sources in a time that basic skills from traditional journalism just aren't enough. It's not a replacement of traditional journalism, but an addition to it. In a time where sources go digital, journalists can and have to be closer to those sources. The Internet opened up possibilities beyond our current understanding. Data journalism is just the beginning of evolving our past practices to adapt to the online. Data journalism serves two important purposes for news organisations: finding unique stories (not from news wires) and executing the watchdog function. Especially in times of financial peril, these are important goals for newspapers to achieve. From the standpoint of a regional newspaper, data journalism is crucial. We have the saying 'a loose tile in front of your door is considered more important than a riot in a far-away country'. It's hits you in the face and impacts your life more directly. At the same time, digitisation is everywhere. Because local newspapers have this direct impact in their neighbourhood and sources become digitised, a journalist must know how to find, analyse and visualise a story from data.

Jerry Vermanen (

A Remedy for Information Asymmetry

Information asymmetry – not the lack of information, but the inability to take in and process it with the speed and volume that it comes to us – is one of the most significant problems that citizens face in making choices about how to live their lives. Information taken in from print, visual and audio media influence citizens' choices and actions. Good data journalism helps to combat information asymmetry.

Tom Fries (Bertelsmann Foundation)

An Answer to Data-driven PR

The availability of measurement tools and their decreasing prices, in a self-sustaining combination with a focus on performance and efficiency in all aspects of society, have led decision-makers to quantify the progresses of their policies, monitor trends and identify opportunities. Companies keep coming up with new metrics showing how well they perform. Politicians love to brag about reductions in unemployment numbers and increases in GDP. The lack of journalistic insight in the Enron, Worldcom, Madoff or Solyndra affairs is proof of many a journalist's inability to clearly see through numbers. Figures are more likely to be taken at face value than other facts as they carry an aura of seriousness, even when they are entirely fabricated. Fluency with data will help journalists sharpen their critical sense when faced with numbers and will hopefully help them gain back some terrain in their exchanges with PR departments.

Nicolas Kayser-Bril (Journalism ++)

To Provide Independent Interpretations of Official Information

After the devastating earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear plants disaster in 2011, the importance of data journalism has been driven home to media people in Japan, a country which is generally lagging behind in digital journalism. We were at a loss when the government and experts had no credible data about the damage. When officials hid SPEEDI data (predicted diffusion of radioactive materials) from the public, we were not prepared to decode it even if it were leaked. Volunteers began to collect radioactive data by using their own devices but we were not armed with the knowledge of statistics, interpolation, visualisation and so on. Journalists need to have access to raw data, and to learn not to rely on official interpretations of it.

Isao Matsunami (Tokyo Shimbun)

Dealing with the Data Deluge

The challenges and opportunities presented by the digital revolution continue to disrupt journalism. In an age of information abundance, journalists and citizens alike all need better tools, whether we're curating the samizdat of the 21st century in the Middle East, processing a late night data dump, or looking for the best way to visualise water quality for a nation of consumers. As we grapple with the consumption challenges presented by this deluge of data, new publishing platforms are also empowering everyone to gather and share data digitally, turning it into information.  While reporters and editors have been the traditional vectors for information gathering and dissemination, the flattened information environment of 2012 now has news breaking first online, not on the news-desk. Around the globe, in fact, the bond between data and journalism is growing stronger. In an age of big data, the growing importance of data journalism lies in the ability of its practitioners to provide context, clarity and, perhaps most important, find truth in the expanding amount of digital content in the world. That doesn't mean that the integrated media organisations of today don't play a crucial role. Far from it. In the information age, journalists are needed more than ever to curate, verify, analyse and synthesise the wash of data.  In that context, data journalism has profound importance for society. Today, making sense of big data, particularly unstructured data, will be a central goal for data scientists around the world, whether they work in newsrooms, Wall Street or Silicon Valley. Notably, that goal will be substantially enabled by a growing set of common tools, whether they're employed by government technologists opening Chicago, healthcare technologists or newsroom developers.

Alex Howard (O'Reilly Media)

Our Lives are Data

Good data journalism is hard, because good journalism is hard. It means figuring out how to get the data, how to understand it, and how to find the story. Sometimes there are dead ends, and sometimes there's no great story. After all if it were just a matter of pressing the right button, it wouldn't be journalism. But that's what makes it worthwhile, and – in a world where our lives are increasingly data – essential for a free and fair society.

Chris Taggart (OpenCorporates)

A Way to Save Time

Journalists don't have time to waste transcribing things by hand and messing around trying to get data out of PDFs, so learning a little bit of code, or knowing where to look for people who can help, is incredibly valuable. One reporter from Folha de São Paulo was working with the local budget and called me to thank us for putting up the accounts of the municipality of São Paolo online (two days work from a single hacker!). He said he had been transcribing them by hand for the past three months, trying to build up a story. I also remember solving a 'PDF issue' for 'Contas Abertas', a parliamentary monitoring news organisation: 15 minutes and 15 lines of code solved a months worth of work.

Pedro Markun (Transparência Hacker)

An Essential Part of the Journalists' Toolkit

I think it's important to stress the 'journalism' or reporting aspect of 'data journalism'. The exercise should not be about just analysing data or visualising data for the sake of it, but to use it as a tool to get closer to the truth of what is going on in the world. I see the ability to be able to analyse and interpret data as an essential part of today's journalists' toolkit, rather than a separate discipline. Ultimately, it is all about good reporting, and telling stories in the most appropriate way. Data journalism is another way to scrutinise the world and hold the powers that be to account. With an increasing amount of data available, now more than ever it is important that journalists are aware of data journalism techniques. This should be a tool in the toolkit of any journalist: whether learning how to work with data directly, or collaborating with someone who can. Its real power is in helping you to obtain information that would otherwise be very difficult to find or to prove. A good example of this is Steve Doig's story that analysed damage patterns from Hurricane Andrew. He joined two different datasets: one mapping the level of destruction caused by the hurricane and one showing wind speeds. This allowed him to pinpoint areas where weakened building codes and poor construction practices contributed to the impact of the disaster. He won a Pulitzer Prize for the story in 1993 and it's great inspiration of what is possible. Ideally you use the data to pinpoint outliers, areas of interest, or things which are surprising. In this sense data can act as a lead or a tip off. While numbers can be interesting, just writing about the data is not enough. You still need to do the reporting to explain what it means.

Cynthia O'Murchu (Financial Times)

Adapting to Changes in Our Information Environment

New digital technologies bring new ways of producing and disseminating knowledge in society. Data journalism can be understood as the media's attempt to adapt and respond to the changes in our information environment – including more interactive, multi-dimensional story-telling, enabling readers to explore the sources underlying the news and encouraging them to participate in the process of creating and evaluating stories.

César Viana (University of Goiás)

A Way to See Things You Might Not Otherwise See

Some stories can only be understood and explained through analysing – and sometimes visualising – the data. Connections between powerful people or entities would go unrevealed, deaths caused by drug policies that would remain hidden, environmental policies that hurt our landscape would continue unabated. But each of the above was changed because of data that journalists have obtained, analysed and provided to readers. The data can be as simple as a basic spreadsheet or a log of cell phone calls, or complex as school test scores or hospital infection data, but inside it all are stories worth telling.

Cheryl Phillips (The Seattle Times)

A Way To Tell Richer Stories

We can paint pictures of our entire lives with our digital trails. From what we consume and browse, to where and when we travel, to our musical preferences, our first loves, our children’s milestones, even our last wishes – it all can be tracked, digitised, stored in the cloud and disseminated. This universe of data can be surfaced to tell stories, answer questions and impart an understanding of life in ways that is currently surpassing even the most rigorous and careful reconstruction of anecdotes.

Sarah Slobin (Wall Street Journal)

Sneak Peek Inside the Data Journalism Handbook

- April 21, 2012 in Data Journalism, Featured

After several months of hard work, the Data Journalism Handbook is almost ready to be released. The handbook will be launched during the <a href="">School of Data Journalism</a> at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, next week.

The handbook is a free, open source reference book for anyone interested in the emerging field of data journalism. The book will be made freely available online under a <a href="">CC BY-SA</a> license so anyone can read and share it. Additionally a printed version and an e-book will be published by O&rsquo;Reilly Media. If you want to be notified when the book is released, you can <a href="">sign up on the website</a>.


Here is a preview of what will be in the book:



What is data journalism? What potential does it have? What are its limits? Where does it come from? In this section we look at what data journalism is and what it might mean for news organisations. Paul Bradshaw (Birmingham City University) and Mirko Lorenz (Deutsche Welle) say a bit about what is distinctive about data journalism. Leading data journalists tell us why they think it is important and what their favourite examples are. Finally Liliana Bounegru (European Journalism Centre) puts data journalism into its broader historical context.
  • What Is Data Journalism? (Paul Bradshaw, Birmingham City University)
  • Why Journalists Should Use Data (Mirko Lorenz, Deutsche Welle)
  • Why Is Data Journalism Important? (Various Contributors)
  • Favourite Examples (Various Contributors)
  • Data Journalism in Perspective (Liliana Bounegru, European Journalism Centre)



How does data journalism sit within newsrooms around the world? How did leading data journalists convince their colleagues that it is a good idea to publish datasets or launch data-driven news apps? Should journalists learn how to code, or work in tandem with talented developers? In this section we look at the role of data and data journalism at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Texas Tribune, and the Zeit Online. We learn about how to spot and hire good developers, how to engage people around a topic through hackathons and other events, how to collaborate across borders, and business models for data journalism.
  • The ABC’s Data Journalism Play (Wendy Carlisle, Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Data Journalism at the BBC (Bella Hurrel, BBC News)
  • How the News Apps Team at Chicago Tribune Works (Brian Boyer, Chicago Tribune)
  • Behind the Scenes at the Guardian Datablog (Simon Rogers, Guardian)
  • Measuring the Impact of Data Journalism (Texas Tribune)
  • Data Journalism at the Zeit Online (Sascha Venohr, Zeit Online)
  • How to Hire a Hacker (Lucy Chambers, Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • Harnessing External Expertise Through Hackthons (Jerry Vermanen,
  • Following the Money: Data Journalism and Cross-Border Collaboration (Paul Radu, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project)
  • Our Stories Come As Code by Lorenz Matzat (
  • Kaas & Mulvad: Semi-finished Content for Stakeholder Groups (Mark Lee Hunter and Luk N. Van Wassenhove, INSEAD)
  • Business Models for Data Journalism (Mirko Lorenz, Deutsche Welle)



In this section we take a more in depth, behind-the-scenes look at several data journalism projects &#8211; from apps developed in a day to nine-month investigations. We learn about how data sources have been used to augment and improve coverage of everything from elections to spending, riots to corruption, the performance of schools to the price of water. As well as larger media organisations such as the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Financial Times, Helsingin Sanomat, La Nacion, Wall Street Journal and the Zeit Online, we learn from smaller initiatives such as California Watch, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, ProPublica, and a group of local Brazilian citizen journalists called Friends of Janu&aacute;ria.
  • The Opportunity Gap (Scott Klein, ProPublica)
  • A 9 Month Investigation into European Structural Funds (Cynthia O'Murchu, Financial Times)
  • The Eurozone Meltdown (Sarah Slobin, Wall Street Journal)
  • Covering the Public Purse with (Lucy Chambers and Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • Finnish Parliamentary Elections and Campaign Funding (Esa Mäkinen, Helsingin Sanomat)
  • Electoral Hack in Realtime (Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires)
  • Data in the News: Wikileaks (Simon Rogers, The Guardian)
  • Mapa76 Hackathon (Mariano Blejman, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires)
  • The Guardian Datablog’s Coverage of the UK Riots (Farida Vis, University of Leicester)
  • Illinois School Report Cards (Brian Boyer, Chicago Tribune)
  • Hospital Billing (Steve Doig, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism of Arizona State University)
  • Care Home Crisis (Cynthia O'Murchu, Financial Times)
  • The Tell-All Telephone (Sascha Venohr, Zeit Online)
  • Which Car Model? MOT Failure Rates (Martin Rosenbaum, BBC)
  • Where Do the Subsidies for the Public Bus Transportation System in Argentina Go? (Angélica Peralta Ramos, La Nacion (Argentina))
  • Citizen Data Reporters (Amanda Rossi, Friends of Januária)
  • The "Big Board" for Election Results (Aron Pilhofer, New York Times)
  • The Price of Water (Nicolas Kayser Bril, Journalism++)



So, you&#39;re all ready to get started on your first data journalism project. What now? First of all you need some data. This section looks at where you can get it from. We learn how to find data on the web, how to request it using freedom of information laws, how to use `screen-scraping&#39; to gather data from unstructured sources and how to use `crowd-sourcing&#39; to collect your own datasets from your readers. We look at what the law says about republishing datasets, and how to use simple legal tools to let others reuse your data. Finally the section closes with some anecdotes and war stories about what our contributors have gone through to get hold of the data they were looking for.
  • A Five Minute Field Guide (Various Contributors)
  • Your Right to Data (Various Contributors)
  • Wobbing works. Use it! (Brigitte Alfter,
  • Getting Data from the Web (Friedrich Lindenberg, Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • The Web as a Data Source (Pete Warden, Independent Data Analyst and Developer)
  • Crowdsourcing Data at the Guardian Datablog (Marianne Bouchart, Bloomberg News)
  • Using and Sharing Data: the Black Letter, Fine Print, and Reality (Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons)
  • Anecdotes and War Stories (Various Contributors)



Once you&#39;ve got your data, what do you do with it? What should you look for? What tools should you use? This section opens with some ideas on improving your data literacy, tips for working with numbers and statistics, and things to bear in mind while working with messy, imperfect and often undocumented datasets. We go on to learn about how to get stories from data, data journalists&#39; tools of choice, and how to use data visualisation to give you insights into the topic you&#39;re looking at.
  • Become Data Literate in 3 Simple Steps (Nicolas Kayser-Bril, Journalism++)
  • Tips for Working with Numbers in the News (Michael Blastland, Freelance Journalist)
  • Basic Steps in Working with Data (Steve Doig, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism of Arizona State University)
  • The £32 Loaf of Bread (Claire Miller, WalesOnline)
  • Start With the Data, Finish With a Story (Caelainn Barr, Citywire)
  • Data Stories (Martin Rosenbaum, BBC)
  • Data Journalists Discuss Their Tools of Choice (Various Contributors)
  • Using Data Visualisation to Find Insights in Data (Gregor Aisch, Open Knowledge Foundation)



Once you&#39;ve had a good look at your data and decided that there&#39;s something interesting to write about, how can you deliver it to the public? This section opens with short anecdotes about how leading data journalists have served their data up to their readers &#8211; from infographics, to open data platforms, to download links. Then we take a more extended look at how to build news apps, and the ins and outs of data visualisation. Finally we take a look at what you can do to engage your audience around your project.
  • Presenting Data to the Public (Various Contributors)
  • How to Build a News App (Chase Davis, Center for Investigative Reporting)
  • News Apps at ProPublica (Scott Klein, ProPublica)
  • Data Visualisation in Journalism: An Introduction (Sarah Cohen, Duke University)
  • Using Visualisations to Tell Stories (Geoff McGhee, Stanford University)
  • Different Charts Tell Different Tales (Brian Suda, (
  • Data Visualisation DIY: our Top Tools (Simon Rogers, The Guardian)
  • How Data Visualisation is Used at the Most Read Daily Newspaper in Norway (John Bones, Verdens Gang)
  • Public Data Goes Social (Oluseun Onigbinde, BudgIT Nigeria)
  • Engaging People Around Your Data (Duncan Geere, Wired UK)

Data Journalism Awards – Call for Entries!

- February 20, 2012 in Data Journalism, External

Showcase your work and win a chance to €45,000 in prizes by applying for the first ever Data Journalism Awards In an age of overwhelming abundance of data, journalists and media organisations are learning to separate signal from noise in order to provide valuable insights to society. From the Guardian to the New York Times, La Stampa to Die Zeit, journalists and media organisations are experimenting with new ways of using data to improve reportage of complex issues and to give readers direct access to the sources behind the headlines. As Tim Berners-Lee says, “data-driven journalism is the future.” To recognize and showcase outstanding work, as well as highlight best practices in this fast-growing field, the first international Data Journalism Awards (DJA) has been established this year. The DJA is organised by the Global Editors and is sponsored by Google. The competition is run by the European Journalism Centre. A jury of data journalism experts and editors from all over the world, including from prestigious organisations like New York Times, Reuters, and Les Echos will award a total of €45,000 (over $55,000) to six winners. The jury is headed by Paul Steiger, founder of ProPublica. There are three award categories awarded at both (i) national and international and (ii) local and regional levels to give a total of six prizes. The three categories are:
  1. Data-driven investigative journalism
  2. Data visualisation & storytelling
  3. Data-driven applications

How to apply

The competition is open to media companies, non-profit organisations, freelancers and individuals. Applicants are welcome to submit their best data journalism projects before 10 April 2012 at submit-your-work/. Find out more about the competition and how to apply at If you have any questions about the competition get in touch with Liliana Bounegru, DJA Coordinator (bounegru [at] ejc [dot] net).
Relevant links:
Facebook page:
Twitter: @ddjournalism, @EditorsNet
Twitter hashtag #dja