Over the summer, we embarked on a research project to learn more about data journalism and how data journalists work with data. We’ve had the pleasure and privilege to speak with a wide range of veteran data journalists about their work.  These conversations have been insightful and, frankly, inspirational.  We’ve heard about Chicago-based investigations on criminal justice from Matt Kiefer and Jonah Newman, discussed the role of an editor in data projects  with a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Manny Garcia, and learned about sites like Joe Germuska’s Census Reporter that help journalists...

During our summer research project, we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing over 15 data journalists about their work so far.  And while we’ve been hearing fascinating stories and learning a lot about how they work with data, we also wanted to put some numbers to these conversations. Enter our Data Journalism Survey. This past month, we surveyed a sample of 27 data journalists, asking them about the data tools and languages they use, their common sources of data, the volume and format of their data, and the kinds of data tasks...

Joe Germuska is Executive Director at the Knight Lab at Northwestern University, or as he calls it, “Chief Nerd”. Starting out as a programmer, he got into journalism in 2009 while working at the Chicago Tribune developing news applications and interactive data sites, such as “Crime in Chicagoland”, which aimed to make all reported crime data in the Chicagoland area searchable and more transparent. Joe was also the project lead for Census Reporter, a project funded by the Knight News Challenge that makes it easier for journalists and the public...

Giannina Segnini is the James Madison Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the Director of the Master of Science Data Concentration Program. Prior to her academic career, Giannina worked as the editor of the investigative unit at La Nacion in Costa Rica. She has been involved in dozens of noteworthy investigative projects over the years, from building the offshore leaks database to assisting with shipping and trade data in the Panama Papers. Her work has garnered a long list of accolades...

Chris Groskopf is a reporter on the Things team at Quartz. Previously, he has worked on NPR’s visuals team and the news app team at the Chicago Tribune. Throughout his career as a data journalist, Chris has spent a lot of time building tools for other journalists, from the CSV kit to the PANDA Project to his most recent project, Agate, a data analysis library for Python. When not designing and refining data tools, he writes articles explaining issues from why it’s difficult to rig a US election to how...

Manny Garcia is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who is now the editor of the Naples Daily News. He previously served as the Executive Editor of El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister paper of the Miami Herald. In his many years of reporting, he has uncovered absentee ballot fraud in Miami, collaborated with the Toronto Star to expose Canadian pedophiles in Cuba, and covered stories spanning Latin America and the Caribbean. We caught up with Manny over the phone on a busy news day (Mike Pence was announced as Trump’s VP...

Alden Loury is currently the Director of Research and Evaluation at Metropolitan Planning Council, a nonprofit community organization for Chicago. This summer, he’s been working on a series of blog posts highlighting the growth of segregation in the suburbs, the difficulty of commuting to suburban jobs, and the population decline in Chicagoland. Alden previously worked as a senior policy analyst at the Better Government Association and as a reporter, senior editor, and publisher at the Chicago Reporter. His print journalism career stretches back to the 1990s, when he got his...

Andy Boyle is a full-stack web developer for NBC’s BreakingNews.com and has worked for a range of publications, including the Chicago Tribune and New York Times.  Andy specializes in developing data apps such as the Chicago Tribune Election Center, which tracks election data and news. Other notable work he’s done includes an interactive crime map for the City of Chicago, which tracks shootings and crime in the greater Chicagoland area, and a parole decision app for the Boston Globe that simulates the parole decision-making process for second-degree murderers. We had a...

Jonah Newman is a database reporter for the Chicago Reporter. His recent joint project on police misconduct settlements is an ambitious endeavour to make these cases more transparent by providing lawsuit data going back to 2012 in an easily searchable and sortable database. Jonah’s criminal justice coverage in the City of Chicago has included stories on racial profiling by the University of Chicago police department, and data visualizations on youth opinions on police and gun violence. Previously a database reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington DC, Jonah...

After ten fantastic interviews with data journalists about their work, one point is already clear – data literacy is an increasingly essential skill. Matt Keifer of the Chicago Reporter puts it succinctly: "Data is getting to be ubiquitous. … I think that ‘data journalism’ is an anachronism waiting to happen. Just call it journalism." Daniel Hertz, Senior Fellow at the City Observatory, looks at open data when exploring a new story: "It usually starts with a question and you realize that this is an answerable empirical question, and the numbers are publicly available,...