Data Journalism

Chris Knox

Data Editor at the New Zealand Herald (in August 2020)

04 August, 2020


  • Always be suspicious of summary statistics
    • What is the underlying distribution?
    • Has the structure of the data changed?
    • What is being compared?
  • Don’t be afraid to google or ask “What is a median?”

To get started with data journalism break it into parts


Where does a tonne of data live?

Generally this data hasn’t been packaged up.

e.g. Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 data

- who is familiar with the wayback machine?

Acquisition exercises

  • Scrape data from MoH

    • Summarise
    • Plot something
  • Twitter API

    • Choose a person

    • Grab their tweets

    • Look for a phrase/word

    • Count it’s frequency

    • Choose a person or list

    • Grab their tweets

    • Do a Sentiment analysis

Workbench Step Groupings

  • Clean
  • Analyse
  • Visualise


  • Email alerts
  • Notes

Other important New Zealand data sources

  • StatsNZ
  • NZTA
  • Ministry of Transport
  • Police
  • MBIE


  • Pick one of these other sources of data
  • Try and export it
  • Load it into Workbench
  • Tidy it up and ship it over to datawrapper

Talk to me when you are stuck!!!!