Improve Your Data Literacy: 16 Blogs to Follow in 2016

January 22, 2016 in Tips

Learning data literacy is a never-ending process. Going to workshops and hands-on practice are important, but to really become acquainted with the “culture” of data literacy, you’ll have to do a lot of reading. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back: below is a curated list of 16 blogs to follow in 2016 if you want to: improve your data-visualisation skills; see the best examples of data journalism; discover the methodology behind the best data-driven projects; and pick-up some essential tips for working with data.


Using Feedly as your RSS Reader? Check out our shared collection which includes the blogs mentioned below plus other blogs!

Datavisualisation


Data Viz Done Right

This website, by Andy Kriebel, curates good examples of dataviz around the web, highlighting what was great, and also what could have been done better. Each post is quick and easy to read, and they add up to form a set of good practices to keep in mind when doing a data-visualisation.

Website link: http://www.datavizdoneright.com/

Frequency: 1 article/week


Flowing Data

Flowing Data is Nathan Yau’s full-time job, and it shows. Regularly updated with great original or curated content about data-visualisation, this blog is a good way to keep track of the major trends and events in the field. Other sections of the website feature tutorials for purchase and guides.

Website link: http://flowingdata.com

Twitter: @flowingdata

Frequency: 9 articles/week


Google Maps Mania

Do you like maps? Everybody likes maps. Managed by map-addict Keir Clarke for more than 10 years, this blog is the go-to resource for following the development of digital cartography. Don’t be fooled by the name, all digital maps are featured, not only Google ones.

Website link: http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.co.za/

Twitter: @gmapsmania

Frequency: 24 articles/week


Junk Charts

Prominent data-visualisation expert Kaiser Fung set out to become the web’s first data-visualisation critic. The result is a website which regularly deconstructs dataviz work, even from top publications, often proposing an alternative visualisation. The articles on Junk Charts regularly make ripples through the web, attracting praise, criticism, but most importantly, prompting discussion.

Website link: http://junkcharts.typepad.com/

Twitter: @junkcharts

Frequency: 2 articles/week


Visual Loop

Visual Loop is the ultimate datavisualisation web repository. Founded as simple blog in 2010 by Tiago Veloso, it grew to become the most active and up-to-date curation space for datavisualisation, in all formats. Featuring interviews with designers along with event announcements, this is the blog to follow to get inspiration.

Website link: http://visualoop.com/

Twitter: @visualoop

Frequency: 3 articles/week


Data In the News


FiveThirtyEight

Rather than simply having data journalists, FiveThirtyEight is data journalism. Founded by Nate Silver, a renowned statistician who reached stardom after predicting the 2008 and 2012 elections while blogging for the New York Times, FiveThirtyEight represents the boldest attempt to do pure data journalism. It works remarkably well, and is an inspiration for all data journalists, seasoned and aspiring ones alike.

Website link: https://fivethirtyeight.com/

Twitter: @FiveThirtyEight

Frequency: 40 articles/week


NYT – The Upshot

Website link: http://www.nytimes.com/upshot/

Twitter: @UpshotNYT

Frequency: 21 articles/week

After the departure of Nate Silver, the New York Times decided to aim even higher by starting The Upshot, a data journalism corner dedicated to politics, policy and economic analysis. It’s an ambitious and high-quality take on data journalism, with approachable articles on social issues (politics, nutrition…) mixed with innovative interactive data-visualisations.


Washington Post Information Graphics

The Washing Post Information Graphics blog is an unadulterated look at the data journalism articles produced by the « WaPo ». It is not only a great source of inspiration for anyone interested in dataviz, but a great source of quality articles, without all the fluff of the main website.

Website link: http://postgraphics.tumblr.com/

Twitter: @PostGraphics

Frequency: 4 articles/week


Understanding Uncertainty

David Spiegelhalter is the maestro behind this ever-useful website, which regularly takes on news articles (but not exclusively) which make a bad job of reporting on the risk/probability/chance of something happening. It is a great read to cut through sensationalist claims, as well as a source of examples on how to deal with uncertainty in reporting.

Website link: http://understandinguncertainty.org/

Frequency: Less than 1 article/week


Global Journalism Investigative Network

The GJIN, as a whole, is an extensive resource for journalists, but their series of curated top 10 data journalism links of the week is a great way of tracking the « #ddj” articles or news that made the rounds on Twitter for any particular week.

Website link: http://gijn.org/series/top-10-data-journalism-links/

Twitter: @gijn

Frequency: 1 article/week


Behind The Scenes


NPR Visuals Team Blog

A nerdier pick than the rest of the selection, the NPR Visual Teams blog is still an amazing place to see the methodology behind outstanding data journalism projects. Additionally, the NPR Team maintains several open source tools for data journalism which are described on the blog.

Website link: http://blog.apps.npr.org/

Twitter: @nprviz

Frequency: Less than 1 article/week


Source

No less nerdy than the NPR blog, the Source blog (a Mozilla/Open News project) is more varied in its content, thanks to regular blog posts by top data journalists from a wide variety of newsrooms. Alternating behind-the-scenes articles, guides, tutorials and event round-ups, this blog is a must-have in the RSS reader of every data journalist.

Website link: https://source.opennews.org

Twitter: @source

Frequency: 2 articles/week


Storybench

Storybench is a collaboration between the Media Innovation track at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and Esquire magazine. A relative newcomer in the sphere of data journalism blogs, it features high quality articles, providing an « under the hood » look at examples of digital journalism, accompanied by interviews with the journalists who make them.

Website link: http://www.storybench.org/

Twitter: @storybench

Frequency: 2 articles/week


Learning to work with Data


Chandoo

Data journalists love spreadsheets. And why wouldn’t they? They’re so flexible! Chandoo.org is the place to go if you want to maximise this potential flexibility, or just pick some nice tricks that will make your work faster. Chandon focuses on Excel, but thankfully most of the tricks of use to data journalists will be available in other, similar software.

Website link: http://chandoo.org/wp/

Twitter: @r1c1

Frequency: 2 articles/week


HelpMeViz

HelpMeViz’s tagline is « helping people with everyday data visualization ». Whilst submitting your dataviz issue to the community can be really helpful, the real value of the website is in the aggregation of all the posts, each representing a small dataviz challenge. If you ever wondered in how many ways you could tackle a data-visualisation problem, HelpMeViz is there for inspiration.

Website link: http://helpmeviz.com/

Twitter: @HelpMeViz

Frequency: Less than 1 article/week


Journalist’s Resource

The Journalist’s Resource tackles a niche aspect of data literacy: understanding research papers. Mixing regular round-ups of research around specific topics with quality guides about understanding research terms or working with numbers (check out their amazing tip sheets), this blog from the Shorenstein Center of Harvard Kennedy School is a resource all journalists (and especially North American ones) should follow.

Website link: http://journalistsresource.org/

Frequency: 6 articles/week


Do you believe that some obvious blogs are missing? Tweet them to us at @Schoolofdata or on Facebook. And check out our Feedly shared collection, which includes more than the blogs mentioned above!

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