The Art and Science of Data-Driven Journalism

When I started formally compiling this report in November of 2012, I asked for feedback on data journalism. I immediately began hearing back from people around the world, with responses that continued right up until the day the final draft was submitted for its printing. The research herein also rests upon reporting and conversations with hundreds of editors, professors, reporters, technologists, government officials, and “hacker journalists” stretching back to 2010. In interview after interview, I found an interest not simply in learning what data was out there, but how to get it and put it to use, from finding stories and sources, to providing empirical evidence to back up other reporting, to telling stories with maps and visualizations, to creating the data itself using sensors and social media. I also encountered healthy amounts of skepticism, optimism, and everything in between. I am deeply grateful for the time of these pioneers and humbled by their work, dedication, and demonstrated interest in sharing knowledge with me, my networks, and their colleagues. In particular, I give thanks to my colleagues and the staff at the Tow Center, including Emily Bell, Lauren Mack, and Shiwani Neupane, for their feedback, mentorship, editing, and support; and to Mac Slocum, at O’Reilly Media, for all of the above. Huge thanks to Abigail Ronck for her sharp-eyed copyediting of a long, unwieldy manuscript. I am also much obliged to Brian Boyer, Scott Klein, Alberto Cairo, Nikki Usher, Nick Diakopoulos, Jonathan Stray, Susan McGregor, and Taylor Owen for their fantastic feedback on earlier versions of the report.Except where otherwise noted, this report has been sourced from email correspondence, phone calls, conferences, Skype or in-person interviews. Portions of the report, although they have been edited and adapted, were first published at the O’Reilly Radar or the Tow Center’s blog. Alexander B. Howard, May 2014.