For data journalists, newsletters are often a useful resource to keep abreast of what is happening in the field. What have other data journalists been up to? What tools do they use, and what are the best practices to produce remarkable data stories? Yet with so many out there, it is hard to know which ones are most valuable to you as a data journalist.
To help you make the most of them -- while avoiding email fatigue -- we set out to understand how newsletters about data journalism differ, and which ones are must-reads. We reviewed all the data journalism newsletters we could find, which meant for an astonishing 100+ emails to our inbox.
We have selected our favourites based on the uniqueness of the insights provided and the informational value of the newsletter. Curated for data-curious individuals, these newsletters tend to provide an excellent overview of the field, a personal take on a data journalism piece, an explanation of a methodology, or a review of a tool that we might have otherwise missed.
Here is our selection in no particular order:
- Quantum of Sollazzo
- Fair Warning
- Data Journalism Brew
- Data is Plural
- Data Elixir
- Conversations with Data
- Off the Charts
We have grouped them by means of what they provide. If you think we missed anything, let us know in the comments section!
Keep up with the field in one go
1. Quantum of Sollazzo, by Giuseppe Sollazzo, Head of AI Skunkworks and Deployment at NHSX (weekly release).
A tech leader by day, Giuseppe Sollazzo is also the author of curious data journalism pieces, including a BBC article showing the average face of a US politician. The newsletter is a weekly comprehensive gathering of links to interesting data journalism articles, data visualisations worth seeing, discussions around data, and tools and resources for people working with data. It also features a section called Six Questions, where he interviews an inspiring data person. Begun in 2012, in Quantum of Sollazzo’s archive you can find an incredible repertoire for the data curious.
2. Fair Warning, by Sophie Warnes, Visual Strategy Editor at the Wall Street Journal (quasi-weekly release).
Fair Warning is a popular newsletter by British data journalist Sophie Warnes, usually released weekly. In the newsletters, Sophie inserts a collection of links related to must-see news, data journalism, data visualisation. Fair Warning is organised in sections, and it provides an excellent overview of the latest from data journalists across the globe.
3. Data Journalism Mailbrew, by DataJournalism.com (daily release).
Our mailbrew monitors the online activity around a series of hashtags, subreddits, and Twitter profiles, central to the data journalism community. These include the R subreddit DataIsBeautiful, tweets from the writers and collaborators of the Data Journalism Handbook, the hashtags #datajournalism, #ddj and #journojobs, and a section about data visualisation. If you struggle to find the time to scroll through online platforms looking for the latest in data journalism, this is the ideal solution. Subscribe to Data Journalism Mailbrew to receive a full overview of what is happening online.
Find the data for your next story
4. Data Is Plural, by Jeremy Singer-Vine, Data Editor at BuzzFeed News (weekly release).
The weekly newsletter is a popular release of links and descriptions of useful or curious datasets. Editor-in-Chief at the Markup Julia Angwin called the newsletter a “required reading for anyone interested in data journalism”. If you are in need of inspiration for your next data story, or simply want an overview of what datasets are available, Data is Plural is a useful asset. Each edition’s datasets are conveniently stored in a spreadsheet.
Learn about data journalism methods and tools
5. Ddj.news, by Winny de Jong (weekly release).
Our instructor for Python for Journalists shares an amusing weekly newsletter she describes as “The best of the web for data journalists”. In ddj.news , you can find a selection of links to data science tools, data visualisations, and data journalism stories, all carefully selected by Winny de Jong.
6. Data Elixir, by Lon Riesberg, DataElixir founder and ex-NASA (weekly release).
Data Elixir is an incredible resource for keeping abreast of the data science industry, as well as the latest tools, resources, tutorials, and data visualisation tips that will boost your skillset. This newsletter was also cited as a great resource by many prominent data-savvy individuals, such as Amelia Wattenberger (GitHub/Polygraph/The Pudding) and Maarten Lambrechts (our instructor for Mapping for Journalists).
Gain insight into data journalism with in-depth interviews
7. Conversations with Data Podcast, by DataJournalism.com (bi-monthly release).
Our very own Conversations with Data newsletter extracts the most important moments from our podcast episodes. It allows non-podcast listeners to absorb the content by offering a quick edited Q&A catch up on the episode. The newsletter profiles data journalists to investigative journalists, academics, scientists and other data experts.
Go behind-the-scenes of a data journalism team
8. Off the Charts, by The Economist (weekly release).
Off the Charts, by The Economist (weekly release). Launched in February 2021, the newsletter takes you behind the scenes of the company’s data journalism. In case you missed it, we also discussed the newsletter in our Conversations with Data podcast episode with Marie Seggers. Off the Charts is an attempt at increasing transparency and making data journalism more accessible to the audience, through reviewing and explaining the inner workings of The Economist’s data journalism team. It is released each Tuesday and is written by a different person in the team.
Other noteworthy newsletters
Inside the Newsroom, by Daniel Levitt, podcaster and newsletter-er, is an impressive effort led by the former journalist at The Guardian and WSJ. Subscribers receive weekly a list of journalism jobs across the US, UK and Canada (usually an astonishing ~3000 positions), among which you can filter for data journalism positions.
Warning: Graphic Content, by Gavin Freeguard, is by far the most extensive list of links about all things data. The newsletter is a weekly release of redirections to stories with interesting data visualisations, stories about data, and quirky stories.
J++ newsletter, is a mixture of useful finds for data journalists. It is a brief and varied newsletter, pointing to relevant tools and learning resources for data journalists, discussing data visualisations and reminding us about upcoming events.
Hello from Duncan, by Duncan Geere, covers a wide-range of topics, but expect to see a focus on sonification and the environment. An information designer and data journalist with a passion for climate and the environment, Duncan was recently on our Conversations with Data podcast, discussing sonification with data journalist Miriam Quick.
G. Elliott Morris’s Newsletter, by G. Elliott Morris, is mostly about politics, polls and democracy. But even if you are not a polling nerd, a lot can be learned from this data journalist at The Economist. Among other things, G. Elliott has run a course in analysing election and polling data in R and created an R package for political data analysis. His newsletter gives unique insights on polling strategies, charts and prediction models.
EDJNet Newsletter, by the European Data Journalism Network, provides the occasional catch up with projects and initiatives relevant to European data newsrooms. Additionally, it has a section dedicated to tools and tips for data journalists.
DaNumbers, by Francesco Piccinelli, is a newsletter showcasing the work of the freelance data journalist, who has published on Wired Italia and PoliticoEurope. It explores how he produced his current affairs stories, with links to his GitHub repository and the possibility to view the R code behind the analysis and visualisations.
Data & Eggs, by The Data Face, a small team of analysts, developers and designers who create and build data visualisation experiences. Data & Eggs is a weekly short collection of the team’s favourite data stories. It includes whether an article is accessible or behind a paywall.
The Week in Data, by the Open Data Institute (ODI), a non-profit organisation that aims at building a safe data ecosystem. Their newsletter gives an overview of recent data stories from around the world and data related initiatives. If you like to keep up with discussions around data ethics and data policy, The Week in Data has got you covered.