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Data Journalism

Olympic sport world records since 1900 interactive graphic via The Guardian

Data journalists curate and sift through large data sets to find interesting stories, create compelling visualizations, and make information more useful to their audience.

Data journalism has been around for a long time. In fact, The Guardian published their first data set in May of 1821, a list of schools in two cities that included the student population and annual average spending per student. The data in the story, displayed in a simple chart, informed readers of the number of poor children receiving free education—something quite controversial at the time.

As access to digitized data sets and new tools for displaying information have developed, data journalism has become an ever more important part of newsrooms across the world.

Below is a list of some of our favorite data journalism tools and resources.


High Charts

High Charts is a JavaScript library for making beautiful charts and graphs and is the special sauce in pretty much all of those fancy charts you see.


Divergent or convergent data sets? No problem! Colorbrewer helps you choose the right color schemes for you to use to tell the right story with your data maps.

Tabletop & Timeline

Tabletop and Timeline are two JavaScript plugins created by WNYC in collaboration with Balance Media. Tabletop allows you to use Google Spreadsheets as your CMS and Timeline lets you make beautiful timelines similar to Facebook.


The Guardian

The Guardian Newspaper is renowned for their innovative data journalism. You can read more about what they are up to on their Data Blog, as well as access interesting data sets that they have compiled into a directory in their Data Store. They have their own set of favorite tools listed here.

John Keefe

Keefe leads the Data News team at WNYC. His blog contains lots of great tips and tricks from the best self-taught journo-hacker out there.

Times Open Blog

Their tagline, “All the Code That’s Fit to printf()” pretty much says it all, and when there is something else to say the Times’ data news team writes up a post and publishes it on this blog.

Nick Diakopolous

Diakopolous is a consultant and specialist in Human Computer Interactions who is focused on innovation in the news space. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on some of the technical aspects of data journalism, check out Nick’s blog.

Dan Sinker

Sinker heads the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Initiative where he does cool things like nurture and mentor the next generation of news hackers. Sinker is also a data journalist in his own right, having created the Chicago Mayoral Scorecard, among other projects.



Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about the intersection of technology and journalism, check out your local chapter of Hacks/Hackers, a meetup with the goal of rethinking the future of news and information.

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