Announcing Data Journalism Month

bjones's picture
Posted by Ben Joneson February 11, 2014

{Special thanks to Peter Gilks of Paint by Numbers for his newspaper style visualization that we used for the featured image for this month's series}

Last month we shined the spotlight on the data bloggers who use Tableau and Tableau Public to share their thoughts about data with the world. This month we're shifting focus to the journalists around the world who use richly interactive data dashboards to tell the news. It's Data Journalism Month at Tableau Public.

What is "data journalism?"

Top journalists have always used factual information - data - to report on the news. And since the 1960's, reporters have used computers to aid in the endeavor. So is "data journalism" really something new? Here at Tableau, we think of it as a difference in scale, not a difference in kind to what went before. Let's see how it's defined elsewhere:

Data Journalism defined by Wikipedia

Facts are Sacred by Simon Rogers

"Comment is free," wrote Guardian editor CP Scott in 1921, "but facts are sacred". Ninety years later, publishing those sacred facts has become a new type of journalism in itself: data journalism. And it is rapidly becoming part of the establishment.

- Simon Rogers

Data Journalism Handbook by Bounegru, et. al.

"What makes data journalism different to the rest of journalism? Perhaps it is the new possibilities that open up when you combine the traditional ‘nose for news’ and ability to tell a compelling story, with the sheer scale and range of digital information now available."

- Paul Bradshaw, Birmingham City University

"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 visualization 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, NYTimes

Tools for Data Journalism

There are a number of tools that exist to help journalists discover and relate insights from data. The following sites provide lists of resources:

We're excited that the organizers of each of these resource lists has found it appropriate to include Tableau Public and we're honored to work with the data journalists that find our software useful. Their work inspires us no matter what tool they use because we believe in the power of data to help shape our world in a positive way.

In fact, we're so passionate about partnering with journalists that we give members of IRE a free 1 year license of our Tableau Desktop software, which allows them to save drafts of their work locally before publishing to the web.

A Whirlwind Global Tour

Journalists from all over the world are currently using Tableau Public to make their stories more engaging for their readers. Here are a few world map visualizations that we created last year that show the global nature of the adoption:

1. The ten most viewed profile pages belong to authors in eight different countries, and the top four belong to data journalists from four different countries:

2. We pulled a sample of Tableau Public visualizations from every continent this past July, including work from data journalists in 18 different countries like Singapore's The Straits Times, Guatemala's elPeriodico and Australia's ABC News:

3. Last year's GEN Data Journalism Awards also produced a number of finalists and winners who made use of Tableau Public in their work. Two of the seven winners, Argentina's La Nacion and Wales Online, included Tableau Public visualizations in their award winning submissions. See the visualization below for the full set of 76 nominees and 7 winners:

The key message is that data journalism is not a local phenomenon, and neither is adoption of Tableau Public. Both are occurring all over the world, and we're excited to shine a spotlight on some amazing examples of their work this month.

What's On Tap for Data Journalism Month?

We have a number of items planned for Data Journalism Month. There are three different conferences that will serve as the backbone for our content this month, and our own Jewel Loree will be leading a special online training program to walk new users through the process, step by step:

  1. A special offer we'll announce soon for those who can't attend Tapestry Conference in Annapolis at the end of the month
  2. In-person training for data journalists that attend the NICAR in Baltimore
  3. Our experiences from the news:rewired conference in London
  4. Interviews with data journalists, guests posts and spotlights on their work
  5. An offer to request an invitation to an upcoming online training course led by Jewel Loree

Thanks, we're looking forward to Data Journalism Month, and we hope you are too.


Love this, cheers guys

You ever thought of another Google hangout with some of the best data journalists? The bloggers one was a success.