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15 Essential Journalists Writing About Data

by Travis Korte
The Wall Street Journal's Elizabeth Dwoskin

As more media outlets begin to cover data-driven innovation, keeping up with the latest news can be a challenge. While a lot of reporters and columnists write about “big data,” only a handful of them bring both deep technical knowledge and great writing to their craft.

Below are 15 of our favorites, listed alphabetically, who work at a wide array of publications and specialize in a variety of data-related topics. Note that this list focuses only on journalists covering data, not journalists using data analysis to aid their reporting (a subject of a future post).

David F. Carr

Carr is the editor of InformationWeek Healthcare, where he is a one-stop shop for stories on clinical analytics, electronic health records, health information exchanges, and other health data topics. He is an authority on social collaboration software, having authored Social Collaboration for Dummies in 2013. Also worth reading is his InformationWeek Healthcare colleague Alison Diana, who covers similar topics.

Kenneth Cukier

Cukier, best known as the co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, is also the data editor of The Economist. A relatively early commentator on data-driven innovation, Cukier is now held as one of the world’s foremost thinkers on big data technologies. While The Economist does not list authors on its pieces, Cukier’s page on the publication’s website displays interviews he has conducted with the likes of Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian.

Elisabeth Dwoskin

Dwoskin reports on big data for the Wall Street Journal. Her stories mostly focus on established Sillicon Valley data companies, including new product launches, initial public offerings, and acquisitions. But her experience reporting on policy and politics at Bloomberg BusinessWeek also shines through in her reporting about the White House Big Data Review and the Federal Trade Commission’s activities in the data space. This combination of policy expertise and tech savvy makes Dwoskin essential reading.

Quentin Hardy

Hardy is the New York Times‘ deputy tech editor. Most of his bylines appear in the publication’s Bits blog, where he covers the data revolution from all angles. His work spans news stories on important initiatives at large tech companies and more analytical pieces on how data is changing the world in unexpected ways.

Derrick Harris

Perhaps no reporter has been more prolific in his writing about data-driven innovation than Derrick Harris. In his position as a senior writer at GigaOm, he covers all aspects of big data and analytics, from taking deep dives on particular product offerings to being the first to cover new data-focused startups. He blends the expertise of a data scientist with the insights of a Silicon Valley insider to produce some of the most topical and timely writing on the data economy.

Walt Hickey

Hickey is the lead writer on FiveThirtyEight‘s Lifestyle section. He doesn’t report about data issues in the traditional sense, but uses data to write about other entertaining topics his readers might never have thought could be subject to analysis, such as preventable workplace injuries in superhero movies and how Americans like their steak. But ultimately Hickey too is on the data beat: his articles, such as his thoughtful commentary on why it’s hard to predict Oscar winners, make it clear how data analysis is relevant to many aspects of daily life.

Stacey Higginbotham

Higginbotham covers a range of technologies at GigaOm. In particular, she has distinguished herself with her coverage of the Internet of Things, although her writing about enterprise analytics applications is also worth reading. Higginbotham manages to take sensors and communications protocols, not always the most accessible of topics for a general reader, and create stories that are at once readable and forward-thinking. Most recently, she has focused on covering “smart home” technologies.

Colby Hochmuth

Hochmuth covers federal information technology for FCW. Previously, she wrote for FedScoop, where she frequently wrote about open data, innovation, and civic hacking, among other topics. Hochmuth is a fixture of the Washington, D.C. tech scene, and it shows in her writing. She captures the gory details of the federal government’s data initiatives and policies around data, while managing to show their importance far beyond the beltway.

Alex Howard

Howard, a Fellow at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, is also a columnist for TechRepublic. Howard has been reporting on open data since before it had a name. He brings a deep and detailed knowledge of the laws and policies that affect data, as well as trenchant analysis on topics from connected devices to data-driven journalism. His Twitter feed is one of the best in the business.

Wyatt Kash

Kash is the Editor of InformationWeek Government. He covers government cloud and federal agencies’ data initiatives, and is one of the key media voices on open data issues and government adoption of big data technologies. Kash also has a bead on government tech news from around the web, making his Twitter feed indispensable.

Steve Lohr

Lohr writes for the New York Times, where he writes about enterprise big data, including stories on large data storage and processing companies, as well as stories about data applications in various industries. He has a particular interest in the data economy, having commentated on the data skills gap and research groups’ economic outlooks for big data. One unique aspect of Lohr’s writing is his knowledge of the history of data and computing, which he frequently weaves into stories. Among his many talented colleagues at the Times, Nick Bilton is also worth reading.

Rachel Metz

Metz is MIT Technology Review‘s go-to writer for mobile apps, wearables, and Internet of Things stories. Her in-depth coverage of wearables ranges from news stories about the latest startups and products to think pieces about the future of humans’ relationships with connected devices. Metz has a particular flair for catching interesting startups in their infancy and unlike many commentators does not shy away from covering more technical topics, such as application development tools for software developers.

Jordan Novet

Novet writes about enterprise big data and cloud computing for VentureBeat. He tirelessly covers Silicon Valley, acquisitions, and venture capital investments in big data. Accordingly, his feed is one of the best sources of information on the data startup space. Recently, Novet published a series of pieces elaborating on key takeaways from the DataBeat 2014 conference.

Dibya Sarkar

Sarkar, a freelancer, often covers government data stories for GCN. His topics include Freedom of Information Act requests and emerging data analytics applications in government. A recent piece also explored the flood of sensor data currently facing the U.S. Navy. One thing that sets Sarkar apart is that much of his writing takes government as its audience, offering specific and actionable recommendations to agency staff in his analysis.

Neal Ungerleider

Ungerleider covers technology and innovation at Fast Company, with a particular focus on data and algorithms. Ungerleider has also emerged as an important commentator on sensor-based applications of drone aircraft. As much an essayist as a reporter, his commentary on these and other issues is sharp and illuminating. His frequently updated Twitter feed is also interesting and worth checking out.


Photo: Flickr user The Nabe

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