The ability to work with data, including how to scrape, interpret and visualise information, is a skill most newsrooms require of their journalists nowadays.

Some news organisations offer data journalism workshops as part of their staff training, but there are also many resources available online for reporters and freelancers looking to get started in what has started to be seen as a 'new normal' rather than a specialism in recent years.

Being comfortable with data analysis and data wrangling is also the starting point for journalists looking to explore interactive graphics,Aleksandra Wisniewska, interactive data journalist at The Financial Times, told Journalism.co.uk in a recent podcast.

"It's really important to remember that, these days, every digital journalist is sort of expected to be able to work with a readily available data set.

"What sets you apart is being able to come up with your own, original data set, whether by scraping or compiling it yourself over time, so this is definitely something I would recommend to newbies."

Wisniewska also advised spending some time browsing through the many interactives created on a daily basis by news organisations, to get a better understanding of the type of projects you would like to re-create for practice or work in the future.

This will help determine whether your next step should be familiarising yourself with programming languages such as R, or dedicating more time to learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript, which can be done on Lynda.com, Codecademy and through regulardistance learning courses offered by the Knight Center for Journalism, to name a few.

"Interactive is usually the highest level of treatment a project can receive and whenever we get a pitch, we try to decide if that is the only treatment it can get to really tell the story well.

"Very often the answer is no, because a static chart can do a better job of explaining and make it more device-friendly and less demanding. It's a lot to ask of readers to interact with a page these days, so everything has to have a sense of purpose."

An interactive often requires the audience to scroll, click or provide an input to uncover new information in the story, so it is worth avoiding graphics that are too complex or that do not give people enough instructions. To avoid this, the FT tries to "make sure we have a narrative in the story that guides the reader and explains what is it that they are looking at, why it's important and what conclusions they can draw from it".

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