In my previous post, I covered some recurring themes from our conversations with different user communities in the data ecosystem, which highlight common facets of data projects. But different user communities also have their own distinct inclinations when it comes to working with data. We’ve had the pleasure of talking with users from a range of communities and learning about their data projects.  Although there’s some overlap, generally, you could categorize these groups as: 1) Enterprise IT professionals, 2) Data journalists, and 3) Full-stack and back-end Web developers. Here are some insights we’ve...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

Daniel Hertz is a Senior Fellow at the City Observatory, a website and think tank devoted to data-driven analysis of cities and the policies that shape them. A recent graduate of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, Daniel writes extensively on urban issues in the City of Chicago.  His original research and data visualizations have been cited by the Chicago Tribune and Toronto Star among others. Most recently, he’s launched The Chicago Dispatch, an online publication that publishes interviews, essays and articles about the Windy City. We...

Matt Kiefer is a data editor for The Chicago Reporter, an investigative news outlet that focuses on race, poverty, and income inequality in Chicago and beyond. Previously also at the Chicago Sun-Times and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) researcher at the Better Government Association, a Chicago-based investigative journalism non-profit organization, Matt spent two years as a software programmer before returning to the field of journalism where he now contributes to key data-driven reporting such as the Reporter’s recent “Settling for Misconduct”. In your own words, what is data journalism? Data is...

Abe Epton is a data reporter at KUOW-FM, an NPR member station in Seattle, and was previously on the news app team at the Chicago Tribune. Before getting into data journalism, Abe worked at Google as a technical specialist in News and Books publisher support. While in Chicago, he used data to shed light on topics including the city’s automated speed camera program, lead testing in tap water, and young victims of homicides and shootings. We caught up with Abe over the phone to ask him about how he works with...