A decade ago, data journalism was only practiced by a small number of spreadsheet savvy reporters. But journalists have overcome their fear of numbers and are increasingly using data to tell complex, compelling and beautifully-presented stories. Many more journalists have expressed an interest in learning to work with data, but don’t know where to start.
The Judith Neilson Institute, with the support of trainers from the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR), a program from the US-based Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), is piloting data journalism education initiatives in Australia. The programs aim to provide practical education to help journalists acquire, organise and analyse data.
With NICAR’s help, the Institute has also pulled together a collection of (mostly) free resources to help journalists with limited knowledge about data journalism get started.
- IRE/NICAR’s calendar of upcoming events includes many online events.
- IRE/NICAR have fellowships and scholarships to help cover the cost of training.
- The University of Texas Knight Center has instructor-led and self-directed courses.
- ProPublica Data Institute has data education resources available from previous programs.
Where to get help
- The NICAR listserv is channel for journalists to exchange ideas, information, techniques and stories.
- News Nerdery Slack team is a Slack channel used by about 4,000 data journalists from around the world.
- The Lonely Coder’s Club Slack team started by a group of people who were “the only one in the newsroom” doing data/coding work. Now has 600+ registered users.
- Quants & Quills is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers in Brisbane that brings story tellers and tech experts together.
Data journalism at work
The following is a small sample of exemplary data journalism stories from around the world.
- See how the world’s most polluted air compares with your city’s — Nadja Popovich, Blacki Migliozzi, Karthik Patanjali, Anjali Singvi, and Jon Huang/The New York Times
- The Corona Live Tracker — Verdens Gang
- Made in France — Disclose
- How Trump reshaped the presidency in over 11,000 Tweets — Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Confessore, Karen Yourish, Larry Buchanan and Keith Collins/The New York Times
- Deceit, disrepair and death inside a southern California rental empire — Aaron Mendelson/LAist
- The quiet rooms — Jennifer Smith Richards, Jodi S. Cohen and Lakeidra Chavis/Chicago Tribune and ProPublica
- This is Australia as 100 people — Catherine Hanrahan, Simon Elvery and Matt Liddy/ABC Story Lab
- What Australians really think about climate action — Annika Blau/ABC Story Lab
- The graphs that show Australia’s achievement in stopping second-wave COVID outbreak — Nick Evershed/Guardian Australia