Announcements The Business of Mongabay

Empowering change through informed action

High-quality data journalism serves as a powerful tool in elucidating complex environmental issues, transforming raw data into compelling narratives that illuminate the hidden stories behind the numbers. By employing rigorous data collection and analysis, journalists can uncover trends and patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed, providing a solid foundation for investigative reporting.

But how do we translate this data into more accessible stories?

Visual tools like infographics and interactive maps bring these statistics to life, making abstract concepts tangible and accessible to a broader audience. This not only strengthens public understanding but also fosters engagement by illustrating the direct impact of environmental changes on individual lives and communities. Moreover, data-driven stories can bridge the gap between scientific research and public discourse, translating dense and complex findings into digestible, relatable content.

Ultimately, high-quality data journalism empowers citizens, policymakers and activists with the information needed to make informed decisions, driving meaningful action towards environmental sustainability and conservation. Through meticulous data analysis and creative storytelling, environmental journalism can thus significantly amplify its reach and impact, guiding society towards a more informed and conscientious stewardship of the natural world.

Enter Mongabay Data Studio

To this end, last month we announced Mongabay Data Studio ( which aims to strengthen our data journalism capabilities. Similar to a bureau but with broader, cross-cutting functions, the Data Studio supports data journalism across all of Mongabay’s languages, bureaus, and formats, including investigations, news reporting, videos, and social media visualizations.

Mongabay Data Studio is structured to operate across various topics and geographies, enabling comprehensive data journalism integration in all our work. It aims to elevate our storytelling by incorporating and utilizing more data as a foundational element for new stories.

Mongabay Data Studio will also help us more effectively address a gap in journalism: the underutilization of collected data. The research process often yields reams of valuable data, but typically, only a portion of this ends up in a story. The Data Studio enables us to create public-facing databases and other tools to leverage the data that would otherwise go unused. By making it available on a dedicated platform, we aim to enable its use by a wider audience, thereby expanding the impact of Mongabay’s journalism.

Additionally, the Data Studio represents a commitment to elevating environmental journalism worldwide. This includes a capacity-building program designed to bolster the data journalism skills of Mongabay’s team and extend support to the broader environmental reporting community. Simply put, this initiative serves to improve our internal capabilities while also contributing to global journalistic practice.

Scaling this work

To ensure effective operations, the Data Studio will have a dedicated management structure, outreach capacity, and visualization capabilities. Outreach will enable us to establish new partnerships with various data sources and institutions to bring more data into environmental storytelling.

Although we are in the early stages of development, our goal is to grow this team significantly to enable us to expand this work. Currently, we are seeking support to expand this initiative and increase our contribution to data journalism, not just within Mongabay but also within the wider journalism community.

Thank you for joining us on this mission to reveal the impactful stories from nature’s frontline often hidden behind the numbers.

Revealing nature’s hidden stories through data (commentary)

By Rhett Ayers Butler

Rhett Ayers Butler is the Founder and CEO of Mongabay, a non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. He started Mongabay in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife.