After several months of hard work, the Data Journalism Handbook is almost ready to be released. The handbook will be launched during the School of Data Journalism at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, next week.

The handbook is a free, open source reference book for anyone interested in the emerging field of data journalism. The book will be made freely available online under a CC BY-SA license so anyone can read and share it. Additionally a printed version and an e-book will be published by O’Reilly Media. If you want to be notified when the book is released, you can sign up on the website.


Here is a preview of what will be in the book:



What is data journalism? What potential does it have? What are its limits? Where does it come from? In this section we look at what data journalism is and what it might mean for news organisations. Paul Bradshaw (Birmingham City University) and Mirko Lorenz (Deutsche Welle) say a bit about what is distinctive about data journalism. Leading data journalists tell us why they think it is important and what their favourite examples are. Finally Liliana Bounegru (European Journalism Centre) puts data journalism into its broader historical context.

  • What Is Data Journalism? (Paul Bradshaw, Birmingham City University)
  • Why Journalists Should Use Data (Mirko Lorenz, Deutsche Welle)
  • Why Is Data Journalism Important? (Various Contributors)
  • Favourite Examples (Various Contributors)
  • Data Journalism in Perspective (Liliana Bounegru, European Journalism Centre)



How does data journalism sit within newsrooms around the world? How did leading data journalists convince their colleagues that it is a good idea to publish datasets or launch data-driven news apps? Should journalists learn how to code, or work in tandem with talented developers? In this section we look at the role of data and data journalism at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Texas Tribune, and the Zeit Online. We learn about how to spot and hire good developers, how to engage people around a topic through hackathons and other events, how to collaborate across borders, and business models for data journalism.

  • The ABC’s Data Journalism Play (Wendy Carlisle, Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Data Journalism at the BBC (Bella Hurrel, BBC News)
  • How the News Apps Team at Chicago Tribune Works (Brian Boyer, Chicago Tribune)
  • Behind the Scenes at the Guardian Datablog (Simon Rogers, Guardian)
  • Measuring the Impact of Data Journalism (Texas Tribune)
  • Data Journalism at the Zeit Online (Sascha Venohr, Zeit Online)
  • How to Hire a Hacker (Lucy Chambers, Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • Harnessing External Expertise Through Hackthons (Jerry Vermanen,
  • Following the Money: Data Journalism and Cross-Border Collaboration (Paul Radu, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project)
  • Our Stories Come As Code by Lorenz Matzat (
  • Kaas & Mulvad: Semi-finished Content for Stakeholder Groups (Mark Lee Hunter and Luk N. Van Wassenhove, INSEAD)
  • Business Models for Data Journalism (Mirko Lorenz, Deutsche Welle)



In this section we take a more in depth, behind-the-scenes look at several data journalism projects – from apps developed in a day to nine-month investigations. We learn about how data sources have been used to augment and improve coverage of everything from elections to spending, riots to corruption, the performance of schools to the price of water. As well as larger media organisations such as the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Financial Times, Helsingin Sanomat, La Nacion, Wall Street Journal and the Zeit Online, we learn from smaller initiatives such as California Watch, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, ProPublica, and a group of local Brazilian citizen journalists called Friends of Januária.

  • The Opportunity Gap (Scott Klein, ProPublica)
  • A 9 Month Investigation into European Structural Funds (Cynthia O'Murchu, Financial Times)
  • The Eurozone Meltdown (Sarah Slobin, Wall Street Journal)
  • Covering the Public Purse with (Lucy Chambers and Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • Finnish Parliamentary Elections and Campaign Funding (Esa Mäkinen, Helsingin Sanomat)
  • Electoral Hack in Realtime (Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires)
  • Data in the News: Wikileaks (Simon Rogers, The Guardian)
  • Mapa76 Hackathon (Mariano Blejman, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires)
  • The Guardian Datablog’s Coverage of the UK Riots (Farida Vis, University of Leicester)
  • Illinois School Report Cards (Brian Boyer, Chicago Tribune)
  • Hospital Billing (Steve Doig, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism of Arizona State University)
  • Care Home Crisis (Cynthia O'Murchu, Financial Times)
  • The Tell-All Telephone (Sascha Venohr, Zeit Online)
  • Which Car Model? MOT Failure Rates (Martin Rosenbaum, BBC)
  • Where Do the Subsidies for the Public Bus Transportation System in Argentina Go? (Angélica Peralta Ramos, La Nacion (Argentina))
  • Citizen Data Reporters (Amanda Rossi, Friends of Januária)
  • The "Big Board" for Election Results (Aron Pilhofer, New York Times)
  • The Price of Water (Nicolas Kayser Bril, Journalism++)



So, you're all ready to get started on your first data journalism project. What now? First of all you need some data. This section looks at where you can get it from. We learn how to find data on the web, how to request it using freedom of information laws, how to use `screen-scraping' to gather data from unstructured sources and how to use `crowd-sourcing' to collect your own datasets from your readers. We look at what the law says about republishing datasets, and how to use simple legal tools to let others reuse your data. Finally the section closes with some anecdotes and war stories about what our contributors have gone through to get hold of the data they were looking for.

  • A Five Minute Field Guide (Various Contributors)
  • Your Right to Data (Various Contributors)
  • Wobbing works. Use it! (Brigitte Alfter,
  • Getting Data from the Web (Friedrich Lindenberg, Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • The Web as a Data Source (Pete Warden, Independent Data Analyst and Developer)
  • Crowdsourcing Data at the Guardian Datablog (Marianne Bouchart, Bloomberg News)
  • Using and Sharing Data: the Black Letter, Fine Print, and Reality (Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons)
  • Anecdotes and War Stories (Various Contributors)



Once you've got your data, what do you do with it? What should you look for? What tools should you use? This section opens with some ideas on improving your data literacy, tips for working with numbers and statistics, and things to bear in mind while working with messy, imperfect and often undocumented datasets. We go on to learn about how to get stories from data, data journalists' tools of choice, and how to use data visualisation to give you insights into the topic you're looking at.

  • Become Data Literate in 3 Simple Steps (Nicolas Kayser-Bril, Journalism++)
  • Tips for Working with Numbers in the News (Michael Blastland, Freelance Journalist)
  • Basic Steps in Working with Data (Steve Doig, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism of Arizona State University)
  • The £32 Loaf of Bread (Claire Miller, WalesOnline)
  • Start With the Data, Finish With a Story (Caelainn Barr, Citywire)
  • Data Stories (Martin Rosenbaum, BBC)
  • Data Journalists Discuss Their Tools of Choice (Various Contributors)
  • Using Data Visualisation to Find Insights in Data (Gregor Aisch, Open Knowledge Foundation)



Once you've had a good look at your data and decided that there's something interesting to write about, how can you deliver it to the public? This section opens with short anecdotes about how leading data journalists have served their data up to their readers – from infographics, to open data platforms, to download links. Then we take a more extended look at how to build news apps, and the ins and outs of data visualisation. Finally we take a look at what you can do to engage your audience around your project.

  • Presenting Data to the Public (Various Contributors)
  • How to Build a News App (Chase Davis, Center for Investigative Reporting)
  • News Apps at ProPublica (Scott Klein, ProPublica)
  • Data Visualisation in Journalism: An Introduction (Sarah Cohen, Duke University)
  • Using Visualisations to Tell Stories (Geoff McGhee, Stanford University)
  • Different Charts Tell Different Tales (Brian Suda, (
  • Data Visualisation DIY: our Top Tools (Simon Rogers, The Guardian)
  • How Data Visualisation is Used at the Most Read Daily Newspaper in Norway (John Bones, Verdens Gang)
  • Public Data Goes Social (Oluseun Onigbinde, BudgIT Nigeria)
  • Engaging People Around Your Data (Duncan Geere, Wired UK)
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Liliana Bounegru is a new media researcher at the King’s College London Department of Digital Humanities and the co-founder of Public Data Lab. She is the editor of the Data Journalism Handbook and the Public Data Lab's Field Guide to Fake News.

Previously she was an editor at the School of Data blog and project manager on data journalism at the European Journalism Centre (EJC). Her work at the EJC included coordinating and co-editing The Data Journalism Handbook, coordinating the first edition of the Data Journalism Awards and running trainings and conferences. Liliana holds an MA in New Media and Digital Culture and a Research MA in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam. She blogs at