How to build data capacity in your newsroom

Introducing DUG, our beta data unit guide Forget the gist of the photo up there—the one reading “data has a better idea.” I don’t buy it. (Lovely photo though, no?) Data rarely has a better idea, because data doesn’t think. People think. Sometimes data can help people think a little better. The problem is that … Continued

Pre-reporting for data journalists

A brief intro to exploratory analysis In a recent paper, a pair of statisticians took a stab at outlining “the most important statistical ideas of the past 50 years.” Among them: “counterfactual causal inference, bootstrapping and simulation-based inference, overparameterized models and regularization, multilevel models, generic computation algorithms, adaptive decision analysis, robust inference, and exploratory data … Continued

When journalists should care about p-values

And when they shouldn’t There’s a saying in statistics: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” In other words, it’s a little quixotic to imagine we can capture the nuances of reality with simple models, but some of these models can make the complex more legible. The first chunk of the saying is the … Continued

Scrappy hacks for scrappy visual journalists

As far as I can tell, the Internet is mostly duct-taped together. And why should visual journalism be any different? In a world of flashy D3.js wrappers and React components and the like, sometimes you just need a chart—and you need it as quickly as possible. In other words, you don’t need interactivity; you need … Continued

Build a real-time dataviz bot (for free!)

When it’s not busy playing host to cryptocurrency scams, Twitter remains a widely adopted platform for the distribution of bite-sized information. For that reason alone, it’s well-suited to sharing real-time data—especially via charts and graphics. Enter the world of visualization bots: automated tools that hunt down data, parse and visualize it, then post the resulting … Continued

The promise of environmental data journalism

Over the course of this RJI fellowship, I’m working with the nonprofit environmental magazine Grist to think through what it’d mean to build out a national environmental data-journalism unit—and, in turn, to take what we learn at Grist and translate these lessons into guides for other small or nonprofit newsrooms that might find themselves interested … Continued