The three types of data storytelling

Week 12 class

What kinds of story can we tell with data?

Data Journalism | April 9, 2018

The message is not the medium

Notes: Any of these can be done in any medium.

1. Investigative and enterprise news stories

Notes: These are the standard “computer assisted reporting” fare. Everything from a daily turn story off the news to a months long investigation can be built mostly from data.

2. The Enterprise Visualization

Notes: When these are ambitious, they are typically done through “scrollytelling” – or occassionally video – to tell a narrative story through visualiations.

3. The Dashboard

a.k.a. The data dump

Notes: This does not mean it doesn’t tell a story, it just is based on being exploratory rather than narrative. Online it means you can search/sort and filter data in complex ways.

Lab 5

The Pitch

Lab 5 is a pitch for your final project. We’ll got through a template and examples Wednesday, but here are the basics

The working title/headline

Headlines are written at the end, but every story is basically about one thing … something that drives the reader forward.

Notes: Star Wars was about blowing up the Death Star, but you get the point

Preliminary data/findings

Provide some rough sense of what you would write/present if you had to today. What would the nut graf of a story be?

Rough draft charts

Provide some simple visualizations that show what you’re trying to communicate.

The minimum and maximum

What’s the minimum you know you can do? What’s to best/worst thing you think you would find?

The data

What data do you have, or do you plan to get, and how do you plan to get them.

Notes: Plan on needing at least two datasets, one primary and one secondary. You need to explain what

What else have people done on this topic?

What’s new?

Why is what are you doing different?

Who cares?

Why is it needed and who is the audience?

Pitch examples

Most relevant

Less relevant



From: you

To: Daniel Lathrop

Subject: Story pitch

Date: today

The story basics

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Working headline

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Preliminary findings

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Maximum story

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Data sources

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Other works

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Why now

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Example graphics

At least 3