Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Data reporting and visualization

What makes up a successful data story: Interactive elements, tools for data visualization and serving more than one purpose for their audiences

Analyzing the winners from the Global Editors Network’s annual Data Journalism Awards, researchers from University College Dublin and National University of Ireland Galway identified the characteristics of the winning stories. Among their findings: Many of the stories had interactive elements to them, most often in the form of an annotated graphic or map; more than […]

Hacking the curriculum: How to teach data reporting in journalism schools

Journalists and educators largely agree at this point that by the time journalism students graduate they should have some experience with data. The Dow Jones News Fund, one of journalism’s most prestigious education programs since the 1950s, debuted a data internship this year. Data has become a more common topic at education convenings, and NICAR, […]

Option 1: Hire temporary staff

Perhaps the biggest challenge universities face is that the staff they have on hand aren’t as skilled in data as their students need them to be. Teaching teachers to use data, University of Illinois professor Brant Houston said, may not be the best approach. There are a few, he said, who take it upon themselves to […]

Option 3: Require self-training

Hiring part-time staff, collaborating with Computer Science departments and holding open labs won’t work for every school. Luckily, there’s a wide array of resources available to students — and their instructors — who want to learn on their own. “It’s gotten much easier to get a foothold as a student,” said Houston, in Illinois. “The […]

Option 2: Collaborate with other departments

Most schools have some kind of computer science program. Some educators have proposed partnering with these departments. One of them is Houston, at the University of Illinois. He said he hasn’t crafted a course that combines journalism and computer science, but he has offered credit for journalism students who take computer science courses, or had […]

How to avoid 10 common mistakes in data reporting

After getting your hands on a data set, the hardest part of incorporating data analysis into your beat is getting started — and avoiding beginners’ pitfalls along the way. From scrambled columns to unintelligible field names, every file you receive with comes with challenges for new and experienced data reporters alike. We talked to Sean […]

Taking on corporations and financial interests — by using data — is at the core of many Pulitzer Prize-winning stories, despite the fact that there’s no Pulitzer category for business reporting

You might have heard:  Data is essential to making the journalism of today stronger than what came before But did you know: This year alone, at least a third of the 28 Pulitzer winners or finalists explored the relationship between business and its impact on society. American business is arguably as powerful, if not more powerful […]

Nate Silver is happy to be wrong

Nate Silver is giving Donald Trump a 19 percent chance of becoming president — and that makes him a little nervous, as well it should. It’s not because he failed to predict Trump’s victory in the Republican primaries (after nailing Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 wins when others were calling both tossups, or worse). It’s […]

4 kinds of stories you’re doing wrong without data

Incorporating data into the daily newsroom grind can feel overwhelming, especially for smaller publications that may need to train writers on how to use data techniques to expand their reporting. It’s tempting to wait for a large enterprise piece to begin using data in new ways, but starting data work on a smaller scale can […]

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