John Wihbey from Journalist Resource:
For those uninitiated in the art of charting and visualizing data, the options and possibilities can seem overwhelming. But data visualization is a field that can be accessed at multiple levels, and there are some very intuitive applications and tip sheets that can make the execution of visualizations a lot easier for beginners.
Before even turning to visualization software and applications, it should be said that both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets have solid capabilities to do visualization, and they are good places to experiment and learn. Of course, one of the biggest hurdles beginners face is figuring out how to organize the data properly in rows and columns. Storybench has an excellent primer on examples of how to do this.
As for applications with increased design and storytelling capabilities, here are a few to check out:
Quartz has an excellent guide to “bad data” – the typical problems inherent in datasets. There are some go-to blogs on data and data journalism that are worth following. The Journalist’s Toolbox has a huge roundup of tools and resources related to data visualization. And the Data Journalism Handbook has some great case studies.