This post is by Liliana Bounegru, Project Coordinator at the European Journalism Centre, and Lucy Chambers, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. It is cross posted on

Where can I find data and how can I request access to it? What tools are available to me? How can I find useful stories within datasets? And, most importantly, how can I make a living through the practise of data journalism?

Do these questions sound familiar? They should, because these are all questions that any data journalist who is just getting started should be asking.

Leading data journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and other top media organisations from around the world, are working together to answer all of these questions (and more) in the Data Journalism Handbook. The handbook is the first comprehensive practical guide to data journalism.

As Aron Pilhofer, editor of Interactive News at the New York Times, noted at the beginning of the project:

“A project like this is quite necessary. It’s kind of surprising that someone hasn’t tried to do this until now.”

Interested in contributing? We want YOU!

Work on the handbook was kick-started in November of last year at the Mozilla Festival in London. In just two days, 55 contributors drafted 60 pages (20,000 words) for six chapters. The handbook is a community project; therefore, anyone who has experience in data journalism can help draft the book. The work, in turn, goes back to the community as anyone is allowed to freely use, modify, adapt, and reuse the handbook.

Contributions have been flooding in and since Mozilla we have been editing, updating, filling in gaps, and restructuring. We are very close to a first complete draft of the book and we need your help to get there. We are looking for authors, editors and peer reviewers to draft chapters, review content, style and accuracy of the book.

In the table of contents below you can see the progress that has been made and where input is needed:

  • 0. Preface (in progress)

    • 0.1 The purpose of this book
    • 0.2 Add to this book
    • 0.3 Share this book
  • 1. Introduction (done)

    • 1.1 What is data journalism?
    • 1.2 Why is it important?
  • 2. Introducing data journalism in the newsroom

    • 2.1 Changes in the newsroom (contributors needed)
    • 2.2 How is it done: journo-developers vs. coders for hire (in progress)
  • 3. Types of outcomes/projects and case studies

    • 3.1 Data powered stories (in progress)
    • 3.2 Data served with stories (in progress)
    • 3.3 Data driven applications (contributors needed)
  • 4. Working on the data story

    • 4.1. Step 1: Getting your data

      • 4.1.1 Where does data live? (in progress)
      • 4.1.2 Asking for data (in progress)
      • 4.1.3 Getting your own data (in progress)
      • 4.1.4 Crowdsourcing data (contributors needed)
    • 4.2 Step 2: Understanding your data

      • 4.2.1 Data literacy (done)
      • 4.2.2 Working with data tips (in progress)
      • 4.2.3 Tools and techniques for analysing data (contributors needed)
      • 4.2.4 Harnessing expert opinions: Annotating datasets (contributors needed)
    • 4.3 Step 3: Finding a story in your data (in progress)

      • 4.3.1  From datasets to stories – approaches 
    • 4.4 Step 4: Delivering your data project (contributors needed)

      • 4.4.1 Serving data with stories 
      • 4.4.2 Visualising data 
      • 4.4.3 Data driven applications 
  • 5. Engagement, outreach and community (contributors needed)
  • 6. How to make data journalism sustainable

    • 6.1 Measuring impact (contributors needed)
    • 6.2 Business models (contributors needed)
  • 7. Appendix (in progress)

    • 7.1 Further resources 
    • 7.2 Glossary

Whether you are a budding data journalist putting the manual through its paces or someone with years of experience, we’d love your help to fine-tune the book and get it ready for the press (no pun intended).

If you’re interested to contribute to the first Data Journalism Handbook please fill in this form as soon as possible indicating your level and area of expertise and the chapter that you would like to contribute to. We will get in touch with you as soon as we can once you’ve submitted the form.


A first complete draft is planned to be ready by the end of February.

The official launch of the The Data Journalism Handbook will be at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia from 25-29 April. The book will be available online as an e-book. Participants at the festival will have the opportunity to buy a printed copy of the book and enjoy a meet and greet with the authors where they may exchange knowledge and learn helpful tips about how to successfully become data journalists.


For questions get in touch with the Data Journalism Handbook coordinators: Liliana Bounegru (bounegru [at] or Lucy Chambers (lucy.chambers [at]

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Lucy is a free range "tech-translator", blogging about her work at

Formerly, Lucy worked for Open Knowledge leading School of Data, co-editing the Data Journalism Handbook and coordinating the OpenSpending community.

7 thoughts on “The Data Journalism Handbook: Final call for contributions”

  1. It’s really hard to know how /whether to plug in without being able see what’s happened thus far. Have you all considered migrating this collaborative process to Booki?

    1. Hi Amanda,

      It’s an idea we’re toying with, but we’re just waiting to work out how the book will actually be published before deciding to migrate to Booki. Please let me know if there is a particular section you are interested in contributing to and I can give you a quick rundown!

      All the best,


  2. Looks as if the time for contribution is over. I just found this site. Is there a possibility to contribute in any other way? For example, providing some open source tools or reviewing the book or helping spread the word?


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