Tools & Resources for Data Journalists

Migrahack 2015


Presented by Lucio Villa / @luciovilla

Obtaining Data

Data Portals

Portals are collections of freely available data and tools. They provide data dashboards on various topics containing tables, charts and maps.

A large number of cities, counties and states have open data sites.

DATA.GOV is the home of the U.S. Government's open data. The site is maintained by the U.S. General Services Administration.

This is great place to start looking for cities, counties or states with data portals. You can quickly find and download data right away. Lets check out some data portals:

Census Reporter

Census Reporter is designed to provide journalists with a simpler way to access Census data so they can spend less time importing and managing the data and more time exploring and reporting the data.

Lets check it out:


Your city has no data portal and you want data now!


Use Google Search Advance search option to look for specific filetypes in specific sites. The search below will look for XLS files in the State of Arizona's website. filetype:xls


Scraper is a simple data mining extension for Google Chrome that is useful for online research when you need to quickly scrape data from a site.

Download it: Scraper

Lets try it here: at Arizona's Secretary of State website.

Its a tool that can scrape websites and turns them into a structured API in minutes.


Lets use this site:


Convert your PDF files to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. Its easy to use, fast and free (limited to 5 conversions per week).

Tabula is also a great tool to use.


Look into FOIA logs, what have others requested. Lets look at some FOIA logs from DHS

FOIA officers: These people will be your close friend after bugging them contstantly. Lets find out who are the FOIA officers for the Federal Departments


FOIA Machine is a great site to keep track of your FOIA requests.

The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFIC): is a great resource for helping you with FOIAs. Lets see who we can reach out to for help in Arizona

Visualizing Data

Google Charts

  • Interactive
  • Little bit of coding invovled
  • Recommended for visualizations with small data
  • Lets try it: Google Charts

Data Wrapper

  • Its Free!
  • No coding involved
  • You can upload your own CSV file
  • Lets try it: Data Wrapper

Web Interactive Tools


StoryMap.js is a free tool to help you tell stories on the web that highlight the locations of a series of events.

Lets try it: StoryMap.js


SnapMap is a feature of StoryMap.js. It places a user's 20 most recent geo-tagged Instagrams on a map that can be shared instantly.

Lets try it: SnapMap.js


Timeline.js is an open-source tool that allows publishers to quickly and easily create interactive, media-rich timelines using nothing more than a Google Spreadsheet.

Lets try it: Timeline.js


SoundCite is a simple-to-use tool that lets you add inline audio to your story.

Lets try it: SoundCite


Juxtapose.js helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media, including photos, and gifs.

Lets try it: Juxtapose.js


Creatavist is website, like Medium, that helps you to tell beautiful stories composed of text, images, video, maps and more

Lets check out some examples: Creatavist


Twitter: @luciovilla
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