10 Best Tools for Data Journalism and Research

What are the top tools for data journalism? Discover the best tools to assist you with data journalism projects.

Many data journalists are looking for tools that can help them streamline their workflow. In the past, a lot of data journalism was done by hand. Now, plenty of advanced software programs can make it easier. As a data journalist, your time is valuable, and you must ensure that you get as much out of it as possible. What are a few examples of the top tools that data journalists use? Keep reading to find our top recommended tools for data journalism.

1. Google Sheets

 

Price: Free
Best For: Those who have to collaborate with other people

Price: Free
Best For: Those who have to collaborate with other people

Price: Free
Best For: Those who have to collaborate with other people

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Google Sheets
The software allows multiple people to work on it at the same time

One of the best tools for data journalists is Google Sheets. Many people are familiar with Google Drive, which makes it easier to share information with others. Google Drive provides users access to Google Sheets, a collaborative spreadsheet program. With Google Sheets, multiple people can work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously. That means that users do not have to worry about moving back and forth from spreadsheet to spreadsheet, wondering which is the most updated version. 

Pros
  • The software is free.
  • It is easy to use.
  • The software allows multiple people to work on it at the same time.
Cons
  • The software requires access to the internet.
  • It does not have a strong security system.
  • It lacks the advanced features available in other programs.

2. Tableau Public

 

Price: Free
Best For: Those who like multiple visual representations of their data

Price: Free
Best For: Those who like multiple visual representations of their data

Price: Free
Best For: Those who like multiple visual representations of their data

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Tableau Public
There are lots of data visualization options

Another till you might want to consider called Tableau Public. This is a comprehensive tool that contains numerous graphs. This includes area charts, scatter plots, bubbles, maps, and pie charts. It has an unparalleled ability for you to take your information and visualize it in whatever format you would like. Even though it does require you to install the program on your desktop, it is effortless to use.

Pros
  • There are lots of data visualization options.
  • The software is easy to use.
  • The program is free.
Cons
  • It requires you to install it on your desktop.
  • It can be a bit clunky at times.
  • Images can be challenging to upload into final projects.

3. Flourish

 

Price: Free version and multiple premium plans available
Best For: Those who need to tell a story

Price: Free version and multiple premium plans available
Best For: Those who need to tell a story

Price: Free version and multiple premium plans available
Best For: Those who need to tell a story

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Flourish
The software allows you to visualize your information beautifully

If you want to turn your data into a story, you should consider using Flourish. This program will help you create an interactive, beautiful story out of your information. There are lots of drop-down menus that make it easier for you to segment the chart, and there are plenty of tools that can help you edit your graph. You can easily change the access, the legend, the chart style, and the animation. Then, you can tell your story the way you want.

Pros
  • There are lots of editing features.
  • The software works well on mobile devices and tablets.
  • The software allows you to visualize your information beautifully. 
Cons
  • The premium versions can be expensive.
  • The tutorials are only available with premium versions.
  • It can take a while to learn how to use different features.

4. Datamatic 

 

Price: Free. Premium starts at $10 per month
Best For: Those who need to add interactive elements to their data

Price: Free. Premium starts at $10 per month
Best For: Those who need to add interactive elements to their data

Price: Free. Premium starts at $10 per month
Best For: Those who need to add interactive elements to their data

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Datamatic
The software allows you to add moving cinematics to your programs

If you want to add interactive elements to your data, Datamatic can help you do that. For example, perhaps you want to create a video showing how your information changes over time. This tool makes it easier for you to highlight the most important parts of your information. You don’t need to have any prior coding knowledge. You can take your information from Excel, upload it, and let the program go to work for you. 

Pros
  • A free version is available.
  • The software allows you to add moving cinematics to your programs.
  • It is easy to use. 
Cons
  • The free version requires you to include a Datamatic link.
  • It can be hard to work with if you don’t use Excel.
  • The free trial of the premium version is only two weeks.

5. Infogram

 

Price: Free version. Premium starts at $25 per month
Best For: Those looking for templates for social media

Price: Free version. Premium starts at $25 per month
Best For: Those looking for templates for social media

Price: Free version. Premium starts at $25 per month
Best For: Those looking for templates for social media

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Infogram
There are dozens of charts from which to choose

If you are looking for a program that allows you to publish charts to social media efficiently, then you should consider Infogram. This program has dozens of interactive charts from which to choose, which can significantly enhance your articles. A basic option is perfect for someone starting in data journalism. It will give you approximately a dozen projects for free. The charts are designed to be quickly and easily published to social media, helping you get the word out as fast as possible. 

Pros
  • A free version is available.
  • There are dozens of charts from which to choose.
  • The finished products look great on social media.
Cons
  • The free version is relatively limited.
  • The Premium version can get expensive.
  • The color choices are a bit limited. 

6. Datawrapper

 

Price: Free version available. Multiple premium options
Best For: Those who like to copy and paste data

Price: Free version available. Multiple premium options
Best For: Those who like to copy and paste data

Price: Free version available. Multiple premium options
Best For: Those who like to copy and paste data

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Datawrapper
There are an endless array of customizable features

If you need a tool that can quickly help you visualize your data, then you should consider Datawrapper. The program is straightforward to use. You must copy your data, paste it into a table, and let Datawrapper go to work for you. You can change the color, visualize your data on different devices, and make sure it looks well on mobile devices and computers before you publish it. In addition, you don’t have to worry about creating an account before publishing your information. 

Pros
  • It allows you to create custom visualizations easily.
  • A free version is available.
  • There are an endless array of customizable features. 
Cons
  • The premium versions are costly.
  • The free version only has one exported file type.
  • The free version is very limited.

7. OpenRefine

 

Price: Free
Best For: Those looking for an open-source tool

Price: Free
Best For: Those looking for an open-source tool

Price: Free
Best For: Those looking for an open-source tool

Best Tools For Data Journalism: OpenRefine
The software handles large and small datasets easily

Before publishing your information, you must ensure it is ready for analysis. OpenRefine makes it easier for your team to take data points, check them for inconsistencies, and ensure the data set is accurate. You do not necessarily need coding knowledge, but it makes it easier. With this tool, you can compile all of your information in a few minutes, making it easier for you to get accurate information published quickly. 

Pros
  • The software is free and open-source.
  • It cleans data quickly.
  • The software handles large and small datasets easily.
Cons
  • This tool requires coding knowledge to get as much use as possible.
  • The software is open-source, which means it has poor security.
  • The user interface is a bit outdated.

8. Microsoft Excel

 

Price: Free when used online
Best For: Those familiar with MS programs

Price: Free when used online
Best For: Those familiar with MS programs

Price: Free when used online
Best For: Those familiar with MS programs

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Microsoft Excel
You can use formulas to automate processes

If you are looking for a basic spreadsheet program, you may want to consider Microsoft Excel. This tool is free with most Microsoft devices and is free to use online. If you need to pay for it yourself, the price can vary. Because many people grow up using Microsoft Excel, it is still one of the most straightforward tools for data journalists. You can change the size of the cells, customize the font, and use formulas to automate the process.

Pros
  • This software is free on most devices.
  • It is easy to use.
  • You can use formulas to automate processes.
Cons
  • It is expensive if not included with the device.
  • It lacks a lot of advanced features.
  • There are no collaborative opportunities. 

9. Zoom

 

Price: Free version available
Best For: Those who need to videoconference

Price: Free version available
Best For: Those who need to videoconference

Price: Free version available
Best For: Those who need to videoconference

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Zoom
You can share files easily for teammates or interviewees to view live as you meet

If you need to talk to your teammates, Zoom is one of the best options available. This is a valuable tool for data journalists as you can conduct interviews to gather research data for your articles. You can also meet with large teams, host meetings, and conduct interviews worldwide. You can share files easily for teammates or interviewees to view live as you meet. That way, you don’t have to worry about anything falling through the cracks. 

Pros
  • The software is easy to use.
  • You can expedite projects with video communication.
  • It allows people to work remotely.
Cons
  • The premium versions are expensive.
  • There are concerns about security features.
  • To use the software requires an internet connection.

10. Trello

 

Price: Free version available
Best For: Those who have multiple projects going at the same time

Price: Free version available
Best For: Those who have multiple projects going at the same time

Price: Free version available
Best For: Those who have multiple projects going at the same time

Best Tools For Data Journalism: Trello
This is perfect for data journalists working as part of a team

If you need to manage projects, Trello can help you. This tool is designed to help people keep track of various deadlines and deliverables. You can also use this task to divide project tasks among your teammates. This is perfect for data journalists working as part of a team. 

Pros
  • A free version is available.
  • The user interface is simple.
  • You can keep everyone on track by dividing tasks.
Cons
  • The free version is limited.
  • The many notifications can become annoying.
  • Email integrations are very limited.

Selection Criteria

Some of the criteria that are considered include:

  • How easy the tool is to use.
  • Availability of customizable features provided with the program.
  • The price of the program against what the users received.

Then, we included all of that information to build the list above.

Why You Can Trust Me

Some of the reasons why you can trust me include:

  • I have personally tried all of the products above.
  • I talked to multiple other journalists to figure out what tools they liked.
  • I considered the third-party reviews listed on various websites for these programs.

To learn more about this topic, check out our article “Is Journalism a Good Career?”

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Author

  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.