5 ways to find data for your next story

Oct. 15, 2018

Data journalism is fast becoming a big trend in newsrooms across the globe. However, data isn’t always so easy to find. Here are five ways to get data for your next article. 

1. Ask an expert - The good old fashion way to find a story is simply to ask someone who has an expertise in the subject you’re covering. Try asking a professor, a government official or industry expert where you might find the data. Published articles on that topic may help you find the right source.

2. Search databases - The World Bank and United Nations are the most useful data portals for journalists researching international stories. You can also try ScraperWiki, an online tool to make the process of extracting "useful bits of data easier so they can be reused in other apps, or rummaged through by journalists and researchers." The Open Knowledge Foundation also runs The Data Hub, a resource for sharing and reusing openly available sources of data.

3. Ask a forum - Get The Data is an excellent resource for data journalists. The Q&A site is where you can ask your data related questions, including where to find data relating to a particular issue.

4. Ask a mailing list - A number of mailing lists exist for data journalists. Why not harness the power of a whole community by subscribing to the Data Driven Journalism List.

5. Submit an FOI request - If you think a government department has data you need for a story, the best way to get it is to submit an Freedom of Information request. Different countries have different laws that govern FOI. Remember, FOI requests may not always be free and sometimes you may have to be a resident or citizen of that country.