(Note: This post was first published, in a slightly different form, at Opensource.com and appears here via a Creative Commons license.)
When I was in journalism school back in the late 1980s, gathering data for a story usually involved hours of poring over printed documents or microfiche.
A lot has changed since then. While printed resources are still useful, more and more information is available to journalists on the web. That’s helped fuel a boom in what’s come to be known as data journalism. At its most basic, data journalism is the act of finding and telling stories using data — like census data, crime statistics, demographics, and more.
There are a number of powerful and expensive tools that enable journalists to gather, clean, analyze, and visualize data for their stories. But many smaller or struggling news organizations, let alone independent journalist, just don’t have to budget for those tools. But that doesn’t mean they’re out in the cold.
There are a number of solid open source tools for data journalists that do the job both efficiently and impressively. This article looks at six tools that can help data journalists get the information that they need.