When a government shutdown renders government data websites useless, what’s a data journalist to do? This week, reporters hoping to gather data from sites like the US Census Bureau, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis were out of luck, as access to most online government data was blocked due to the government shutdown.
The Pew Research Center offered a mostly comprehensive list of the data casualties of the shutdown.
And the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism suggested a number of workarounds and alternative federal databases for reporters to use, such as the separate US Census database maintained by the Investigative Reporters and Editors site.
Many aspiring data journalists have been learning the tenets of data reporting in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), like the recent Knight Center offering on the basics of data-driven journalism, which enrolled 3,700 students from about 140 countries. Amy Schmitz Weiss helped to teach and coordinate the class, and offers guidelines for replicating the successful MOOC in Teaching a Journalism MOOC: 5 Tips and Techniques.
And finally, three data journalists talk on Twitter about how to teach and learn the most essential data journalism skills.