The Data Journalism Handbook: The Next Newsroom Staple?

Move over, the AP Stylebook. A new handbook is in town and there’s a good chance it will become a newsroom must-have.

The Data Journalism Handbook launched this past weekend at the School of Data Journalism, based at the 2012 International Journalism Festival in Perugia. It is a one stop shop for reporters interested in learning about data journalism and includes a free, open sourced web version so anyone can access it.

“The book’s contributors are a who’s who of data journalism,” wrote Simon Rogers, a contributor to the handbook, in a post on the Guardian’s Datablog. “There are pieces by data journalists from the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, Propublica and the New York Times. And that’s besides contributions from three of us at the Guardian.”

The book is divided into seven parts, including everything you need to know about how to get data, newsroom case studiesunderstanding data, and delivering data.

Articles are clearly titled and include “What is Data Journalism,” “Your Right to Data,” “Become Data Literate in 3 Simple Steps,” “How to Hire a Hacker,” and many more you will want to read.

The project launched at last fall’s Mozilla Festival during a 48 hour workshop and in the six months since then, hundreds of data journalists have contributed to it. The handbook was edited by Jonathan Gray, Liliana Bounegru, and Lucy Chambers.

This is the most extensive guide to data journalism I’ve seen to date but the editors are clear that it is not meant to be a “comprehensive repertoire of all if the knowledge and skills you need to become a data journalist.”

“Instead, we hope this book will give you a sense of how to get started and where to look if you want to go further,” they write in the section entitled, “What This Book Is (And What It Isn’t).” “We hope that – in addition to being a useful reference source – the book does something to document the passion and enthusiasm, the vision and energy of a nascent movement.”

Data journalism is an incredibly popular field today. I think this handbook will soon become a staple in newsrooms, especially for anyone with a passing interest in data journalism. There are so many stories waiting to be reported on that can easily be found using data journalism. The handbook should, at the very least, be used in journalism schools to teach students some very valuable tools.

The Data Journalism Handbook will be available in a print copy and the editors are looking for people to translate it into other languages besides English.

You can see the web version at

Will the Data Journalism Handbook become a newsroom staple? Are you interested in taking a look? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.

Infographic by Lulu Pinney. Courtesy the Data Journalism Handbook.