Data Journalism

data featured image

The use of data has become an integral part of investigative journalism. Increasingly, reporters need to know how to obtain, clean and analyze the growing archive of digitized information.

Here is a list of resources to get you started, but we want to keep updating our community with the best resources available. Do you know of a great data tutorial we haven’t listed, perhaps in a language other than English? Help us keep this resource guide comprehensive by sending your favorite resource to: ¿Habla español? For resources in Spanish, click here.

Key Resources

Where It Came From: To know where we’re going, it helps to know where we’ve come from. Here’s a great history of data journalism, Fifty Years of Journalism and Data: A Brief History, tracing the field’s origins from the use of big mainframe computers in the 1960s to computer-assisted reporting in the ’90s to the current boom in data journalism. Written by GIJN’s own Brant Houston, author of Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide, now in its fourth edition.

Best Practices for Data Journalism is a 2018 guide written by Kuang Keng Kuek Ser, an award-winning digital journalist, and produced by the Media Development Investment Fund. It covers setting up and using data teams as well as tools, techniques and presentation of data journalism.

nicarThe National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, a project of Investigative Reporters and Editors, launched in 1989 to train reporters around the world on how to use data for investigations. In addition to “boot camps” and in-office training, NICAR offers data library offers analysis services and a data library and hosts the original annual conference on computer-assisted reporting.

The Poynter Institute offers a Digital Tools Catalog featuring webinar tutorials and sends out a digital tools newsletter.

Nils Mulvad, a co-founder and board member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, wrote this article for GIJN in February 2015 about free or nearly free data tools.

datadrivenjournalismData-Driven Journalism offers a collection of resources for journalists who want to use data. is “a curated guide to the best tools, resources and technologies for data visualization,” with 21 categories that include mining, cleaning, scraping, and interactive story-telling.

Periodismo de Base de Datos provides tutorials and resources on data journalism for Spanish-speaking reporters.

The Poderomedia Foundation in partnership with the University Alberto Hurtado, published the Manual de Periodismo de Datos Iberoamericano (Latin American Handbook of Data Journalism), with tips and tutorials on data mining, deep web searches, data visualization, and more.

Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism offers this brief introduction to data journalism (in Arabic).

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists provides a selection of video tutorials on basic Excel functions, as well as how to background a person or company, or find federal court documents in the U.S.

The International Journalists’ Network maintains a blog of the latest trainings, tools, and resources for data journalists.

Hacks/Hackers is a global movement bringing together computer programmers and investigative journalists to tell powerful data-driven stories. Trainings offered through regional chapters.

The Investigative Dashboard provides a collection of the most useful public data sources, on corporate ownership and more.

djh-facing-left3 The Data Journalism Handbook is an international, collaborative effort involving dozens of data journalism experts. The free guide is available for download in English, French, Georgian, Russian, and Spanish.

Open Data in Europe and Central Asia produced a Data Journalism Manual (in English and Russian) with modules on understanding data, data visualization and data-driven stories.


Code Academy offers a series of free interactive trainings on the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and PHP.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a series of free online courses in computer programming with Python, Java, and C++.

Michael Hartl publishes an open-source textbook on how to program with Ruby on Rails.

ProPublica ran this “shopping list” of tools and training guides for scraping data from the web using Ruby.

Online Journalism published an introduction to using QuickCode to obtain data from the web.

The Open Data Handbook discusses the legal, social and technical aspects of open data, with case studies and handy tips.

Codementor offers online tutorials for a fee data science techniques in programs such as Python and R.

Analytics Vidhya offers a tutorial to learn the basics of R programming for data science,which covers data analysis and data manipulation.

KDnuggets offers a wide variety of tutorials focusing on data mining, analytics and data science, including 3 Viable Ways to Extract Data from the Open Web, 4 lessons for Brilliant Data Visualisation, Mining Twitter Data with Python and Text Mining 101:Topic Modeling.

Data Analysis

inertPyrDDJInvestigative Reporters and Editors provides a simple tutorial to converting PDFs to Text.

Electronic Data Resource Service at McGill provides a tutorial on how to export a table from PDF to Excel.

School of Data offers a series of tutorials – from finding datasets, to basic Excel skills and using the results to tell a story.

Sandhya Kambhampati shares some key recommendations to start creating your own database.

Dan Nguyen put together this tutorial on using Google Refine to clean structured data sets, and also links to other video tutorials on Google Refine.

Github offers a “Gentle Introduction to SQL.”

Chandoo a blog started in 2007 that aims to “to make you awesome in excel and charting”.

Visualization & Mapping

Edward Tufte’s books and courses are industry standards.

Flowing Data is run by statistician Nathan Yau, author of Data Points: Visualization that Means Something and Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics. offers a directory of compelling infographics, how-to info, and more.

Your Friendly Guide to Colors in Data Visualisation  A 2018 blog post by Lisa Charlotte addressing color choice, including links to useful tools.

Esri offers a series of free online courses for those interested in mapping with ArcGIS.

Gustavo Faleiros created JEO, a WordPress theme for launching geodata-based sites. It allows news organizations, bloggers and NGOs to publish news stories as layers of information on digital maps.

Peter Aldhous put together a primer on using Excel’s free social network plugin, NodeXL.

The Data Visualisation Catalogue is an on-going project to “help you find the right data vizualization method for your data”.

Data Viz Done Right, a blog that highlights data viz best practices around the web.

Google Maps Mania, a good blog for following the development of digital cartography (not only Google products).

Visual Loop, a website that displays “the world’s best infographics and data visualizations.”

Helpmeviz aims to help people with everyday data visualizations, designed to facilitate discussion, debate, and collaboration from the data visualization community.

Sanjit Oberai has tutorials on how to create a world map with integrated data values in 5 minutes and making a Word Cloud.

Here you can check out a list of visualization tools from IJAsia 2016.


OpenIntro hosts this free textbook on statistics

Knight Digital Media Center provides free, two-day online courses.

Flowing Data is run by statistician Nathan Yau, author of

Coursera offers a number of online statistics courses including:

Recommended Books on Statistics:

Data & Technology Blogs

Data Store

Data Blog, the Guardian’s blog on computer-assisted reporting

Nacion Data, Spanish-language data journalism blog of the Argentinian daily La Nación.

Online Journalism Blog, by the UK’s Paul Bradshaw, covers data journalism, citizen journalism, blogging, vlogging, and more.

Open Knowledge Foundation, global movement to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful.

Toledol, a Portuguese-language blog about computer-assisted reporting.

Frontiers of Journalism on! collects articles about data journalism.

Computational Reporting, all about data mining.

Dajore, data journalism research.

Driven by Data, how data journalism is sifting through the facts., random thoughts on information visualization and data journalism.

Reporter’s Lab, Duke University’s blog on tools, techniques and research for public affairs reporting.

Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia’s blog on how technology is changing journalism, its practice and its consumption.

FiveThirtyEight, founded by renowned statistician Nate Silver.

The Upshot, a data journalism site by the New York Times dedicated to politics, policy and economic analysis.

Washington Post Information Graphics, a blog that gives an overview of the data journalism articles produced by the newspaper.

NPR Visuals Team, a blog that focuses on the methodology behind data journalism projects and that also shares open tools.

Source blog, a Mozilla/Open News project that offers guides, tutorials and regular features by top data journalists.

Storybench, a collaboration between the Media Innovation track at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and Esquire magazine.


Getting Started in Data Journalism is a manual published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania which aims to introduce journalists to data-driven reporting techniques that are essential to contemporary investigative journalism.

Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Comprehensive Primer, By Fred Vallance-Jones and David McKie

Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide, the E-version by Brant Houston

Computer-Assisted Research: Information Strategies and Tools for Journalists, By Nora Paul and Kathleen A. Hansen

The Data Journalism Handbook is an international, collaborative effort involving dozens of data journalism experts. The free guide is available for download in Arabic, English, French, Georgian, Russian, and Spanish.

Finding Stories in Spreadsheets, by Paul Bradshaw

Mapping for Stories: A Computer-Assisted Reporting Guide, By Jennifer LaFleur and Andy Lehren

Precision Journalism: a Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods, by Philip Meyer

Scraping for Journalists (second edition), by Paul Bradshaw. This book introduces a range of scraping techniques.


NICAR hosts the original annual conference on computer-assisted reporting, which is attended by hundreds, and also puts on data-specific boot camps.

Data Harvest is a collaboration between the Journalismfund.euWobbing Europe and The next conference is scheduled for May 19 to 21, 2017 in Mechelen, Belgium.

The International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, includes a School of Data Journalism training.

The Global Investigative Journalism Conference, held every two years, hosts a broad range of data-specific trainings.

Ghana Databootcamp trains participants in Ghana on how to locate, obtain and analyze public data on the extractive industries.

Data Journalism UK is a new annual conference organized by Birmingham City University’s Paul Bradshaw.

The European Data and Computational Journalism Conference aims to bring together industry, practitioners and academics in the fields of journalism and news production and information, data, social and computer sciences.