Something I wrote for the Guardian Datablog (and caveats)

I’ve written a piece on ‘How to be a data journalist’ for The Guardian’s Datablog. It seems to have proven very popular, but I thought I should blog briefly about it if you haven’t seen one of those tweets.

The post is necessarily superficial – it was difficult enough to cover the subject area for a 12,000-word book chapter, so summarising further into a 1,000 word article was almost impossible.

In the process I had to leave a huge amount out, compensating slightly by linking to webpages which expanded further.

Visualising and mashing, as the more advanced parts of data journalism, suffered most, because it seemed to me that locating and understanding data necessarily took precedence.

Heather Billings, for example, blogged about my “very British footnote [which was the] only nod to visual presentation”. If you do want to know more about visualisation tips, I wrote 1,000 words on that alone here. There’s also this great post by Kaiser Fung – and the diagram below, of which Fung says: “All outstanding charts have all three elements in harmony. Typically, a problematic chart gets only two of the three pieces right.”:

Trifecta checkup

On Monday I blogged the advice on where aspiring data journalists should start in full. There’s also the selection of passages from the book chapter linked above. And my Delicious bookmarks on data journalism, visualisation and mashups. Each has an RSS feed.

I hope that helps. If you do some data journalism as a result, it would be great if you could let me know about it – and what else you picked up.

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