Category Archives: Databases

Recent resources for database journalism

Entry by Jasmine Linabary

We’ve been talking about database journalism over the past few weeks. Here are some links I’ve come across recently related to the subject that you may find useful.

Conversations and information:

10,000 Words: “Databases and polls: When numbers are the news”

Poynter Online: “Using Data Visualization as a Reporting Tool Can Reveal Story’s Shape”

MediaShift: “An After-Life for Newspapers”

10,000 Words: “News databases: Turning numbers into knowledge

Readership Institute: “Data as journalism, journalism as data”


FusionCharts – to create graphics off of your data for visualization

Tools for News – Check out the pages on tools for data visualization, data scraping and public databases.


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Entry by Julie Wootton

(Information courtesy of Mark Brigg’s “Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive” and the Readership Institute)

-A database is a collection of data (or information).
-Data does not lose its novelty or timeliness as quickly.
-Data such as crime statistics can be of personal and public interest.
-There is no space constraint on the Internet.
-Data that is collected online can be condensed and used in print publications.
-Remember that databases do not have to be complex or difficult to create. Databases can be created fairly easily using Microsoft Excel.

-Database journalism is considered a new reporting method, along with other kinds of community-based journalism.
Crowdsourcing= using a group of people or community to perform a job that normally just one person does.
Open source reporting= a way for a reporter to solicit ideas, sources, etc. on a particular subject.
Distributed reporting- this most frequently pertains to reader-generated content.

Reasons to use databases:
-To more efficiently organize information
-To organize lists of sources for newsroom personnel
-To make information more accessible and easier to understand for readers

Using databases for news coverage:
-“Alternative story form”- information is broken down into clearly labeled sections or lists that present information simply.
-Information can then be easily put into a database.

Some examples of databases:
The Whitworthian’s restaurant guide
The New York Times’ skiing travel guide
USA Today sports scores
Washington State registered sex offender database

Other resources:
Interview with Derek Willis, database editor for The Washington Post
General information and resources about database journalism from the Readership Institute
Mark Brigg’s “Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive”
Data Center on
Data Central on
Excel database tutorial

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