Data journalism reading list

These are books I recommend on data journalism, from a reading list for a course I run on the subject. If you want to find out about when the course will run again, or about one-to-one or corporate data journalism training, there is more information here.


Paul Bradshaw, The great data journalism heist – introduction to data journalism techniques. Also available on Amazon.

Paul Bradshaw, Finding stories with spreadsheets – more advanced techniques focusing on spreadsheets.

Paul Bradshaw, Scraping for journalists, Paul Bradshaw – more advanced stuff on extracting data from webpages. Also available on Amazon.

eds Jonathan Grey, Liliana Bounegru and Lucy Chambers, The data journalism handbook – a crowd-written collection of advice and case studies on data journalism. Free online (can also be bought in print).

Print books

Jordan Ellenberg, How not to be wrong: the hidden maths of everyday life – general book on understanding mathematical concepts, including plenty of use for data journalism.

Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter, The Norm chronicles: stories and numbers about danger – an entertaining read on how we think about risk.

Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner, Superforecasting: the art and science of prediction – how to make better predictions by knowing a lot about a few things and realising when you’re wrong.

Nate Silver, The signal and the noise: the art and science of prediction – an awful lot about baseball, but an interesting account of some clever techniques in prediction including Bayesian analysis.

eds Philip Cowley and Robert Ford, Sex, lies and the ballot box: 50 things you need to know about British elections – 50 political academics distil their research on politics, including lots on opinion polling. There’s also a follow-up collection, More Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box: Another Fifty Things You Need to Know About Elections.

Books on related subjects: government IT

Anthony King and Ivor Crewe, The blunders of our governments. How the state wasted tens of billions on the NHS National Programme for IT, ID cards, other IT projects, part-privatising London Underground and other ill-judged moves: more here.

Richard Aldrich, GCHQ: the uncensored story of Britain’s most secret intelligence agency. A readable history of the one of most interesting users of government IT.

If you’re interested in the history of ID cards in Britain, information on my book on the subject is here, the notes are here and the reading list on Amazon is here.

Business of media

Robert Levene, Free ride: how the internet is destroying the culture business. Discussed in this post on the future of journalism.

Chris Horrie and Adam Nathan, Live TV!: telly brats and topless darts. Hilarious account of how not to run a media business (which also explains some things about UK internet connections).

Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie, Stick it up your punter!: the uncut story of the Sun newspaper. Similar to above, but covering the Sun’s most successful years.