Numlock News by Walt Hickey

Entry type: Portfolio

Country/area: United States

Publishing organisation: Numlock News

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

Numlock News is a daily morning data journalism newsletter that highlights numbers in the news. It’s got tens of thousands of subscribers, the majority of whom open it every day. Not only does it spotlight the best in data journalism on a daily basis, it also highlights the commonality of data in the more traditional avenues of journalism, by bubbling up the interesting numbers that undergird the news of the day.

Written in a compelling and inviting voice, the newsletter introduces data to people who otherwise may shy away from it, serving as an on-ramp for our field.

Numlock is published every weekday morning at 6 am Eastern Time. It has no ads, and is self-sustaining based on subscription revenue from over 1,500 paid subscribers. Each edition is seven entries linking out to journalism and directly crediting the writer for it. Each has a bolded number or piece of data from the story. The seven entries are in one of four different categories based on what type of data they are, be it currency amounts, sums or averages, percentages and fractions, or projections and estimates. In this manner the contextual framework for the data is preseved.

The newsletter’s support comes from readers who recieve a special Sunday edition which features a journalist responsible for an especially interesting story. Numlock platforms data journalists and sites for a broad audience, in 2022 interviewing data journalists and spotlighting work from Christopher Ingraham, Rachael Dottle, Clare Malone, Philip Bump, Mandy Zou, Ben Lindbergh, Maggie Koerth, Amanda Shendruk, Taylor Orth and Hannah Weinberger. The hope is to introduce the best in a generation of data journalists to a wider audience.

Each winter, the Numlock Awards Supplement continues the work from my FiveThrityEight Oscar model to prognosticate and cover the Oscar race. This newsletter is read by thousands of people and offers an appealing way to talk about data and modeling to an audience underserved by data.

Numlock strives to elevate the most compelling data journalism being done on a given day, whether or not the work in question categorically considers itself data journalism. The goal is to lower the barriers of access to our profession, to make our work unintimidating and downright entertaining. It hopes to give the best in our field a platform to reach a wide audience, and to serve as a daily digest of our fascinating and ever-evolving world. Numlock readers come to appreciate the best goals and techniques of our craft, and can do so at any level of familiarity.

I have been a professional journalist for ten years as of 2022, and I have written a daily morning data journalism newsletter for eight of those years. Numlock, which I founded after leaving FiveThirtyEight, will turn 5 years old in May 2023.

I graduated William & Mary with a degree in Applied Mathmatics in 2012. I started my career at Business Insider, joining FiveThirtyEight when it was bought by ESPN in 2013, and serving as their chief culture writer. I left in May 2018 to start Numlock, and later that year I joined Insider as the senior data editor. I am a proud member and boardmember of GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and in 2022 I won the Pulitzer Prize in Illustrated Reporting for my work on _I Escaped A Chinese Internment Camp,_ a comic that told the story of a Uyghur woman surviving persecution in Western China. I have a book about the intersection of data and pop culture, _You Are What You Watch_, to be published by Workman in October 2023.

Description of portfolio:

Project Link 1 is a direct link to Numlock News, a daily morning data journalism newsletter read by tens of thousands of people every day.

Project Link 2 through 7 are to individual editions of the newsletter from across 2022.

Project Link 8 is a link to all the Sunday interviews of 2022, showing the diverse range of data journalists featured in long form interviews on the newsletter.

Project Links 9 and 10 are for the Numlock Awards Supplement, a companion newsletter that runs during Oscar season and spotlights data journalism around the Academy Awards.

Project links: