First look inside the new Data Journalism Handbook


Think back to 2012. You might remember the Guardian’s award-winning Riot Rumours, or Mother Jones’ investigation into FBI terrorism informants, or that mapping was all the rage. It was into this world that the European Journalism Centre (EJC) published the first edition of the Data Journalism Handbook.

Since then, the field has come a long way. Changes in digital technologies have enabled the development of new formats for storytelling, interactivity and engagement with the assistance of drones, augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques. At the same time, software tools for data collection, analysis, visualisation and exploration, have increased in power and accessibility.

So we decided it was time for an update

The second edition, which is due to be released in Autumn 2018, will be significantly overhauled to reflect developments in the field. Published as an open access book, it will explore a diverse constellation of projects, methods and techniques from voices and initiatives around the world.

“Through the book we thus aim to explore not only what data journalism initiatives do, but how they might be done differently in order to facilitate vital public debates about both the future of the data society as well as the significant global challenges that we currently face,” explained Adam Thomas, the EJC’s Director, as he provided a sneak peek into the new edition.

“The structure of the book reflects different ways of seeing and understanding contemporary data journalism practices and projects. The introduction highlights the renewed relevance of a book on data journalism in the current so-called ‘post-truth’ moment, examining the resurgence of interest in data journalism, fact-checking and strengthening the capacities of ‘facty’ publics in response to fears about ‘alternative facts’ and the speculation about a breakdown of trust in experts and institutions of science, policy, law, media and democracy.”

Other new content will include:

  • A section on ‘data journalism in context’, which will review histories, geographies, economics and politics of data journalism — drawing on leading studies in these areas.
  • Best practices for assembling data, working with data, making sense with data and organising data journalism from around the world. This will be complemented by a variety of case studies, covering the use of social media data, investigations into algorithms and fake news, the use of networks, open source coding practices and emerging forms of storytelling through news apps and data animations.
  • An examination of infrastructures for collaboration, as well as creative responses to disappearing data and limited connectivity.
  • A chapter that asks ‘what does data journalism do?’, with a reflection on the social life of data journalism projects, including everyday encounters with visualisations, organising collaborations across fields, the impacts of data projects in various settings, and how data journalism can constitute a form of ‘data activism’.

For more chapter previews and exclusive news, sign up to the Handbook mailing list here.