Your Starter Guide to Data Journalism

A big part of StateImpact’s editorial mission is to be data-driven — to focus on asking for, acquiring, cleaning up and presenting numbers and information in ways to best educate our readers. We’re lucky to have Matt Stiles coordinate our data effort and teach us what he means when he talks about being a data journalist. Here’s his first webinar with the group — Data 101.

What is “Data Journalism”?

  • The use of electronic records to find, support and explain stories.
  • Basic social science methods
  • Less “he said”, “she said”
  • Visualization not always required

Find The Right Tool

  • Story type: online, radio – both?
  • What’s the need: Data queries, visualization, maps, text analysis?
  • Data structure: Should it be cleaned, reorganized, normalized before you begin any analysis?

Basic Data Journalism Tools

  • Spreadsheets: Excel, Calc
  • Databases: Access, MySQL, Base
  • Mapping: ArcGIS, QGIS
  • Statistics: SPSS, SAS, R
  • Online: Google, “Hidden” Web

Online Journalism Tools

  • Data Analysis: Fusion Tables, MS Web Apps, Google Docs
  • Visualization: Many Eyes, Tableau Public, Google Charts, Highcharts
  • Mapping: OpenHeatMap, Tableau, Fusion Tables, GeoCommons, QGIS
  • Text: DocumentCloud, Wordle, xpdf

Finding Inspirations

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