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The Future of Nightingale

By Jason Forrest and Mary Aviles

Today, Nightingale is a welcome mat, a digital front door, and a platform for our thoughts, skills, and even emotions. More than anything, we realize that Nightingale is a supportive, generous community. It is a place for practitioners to give back, to learn, and advance their ideas. It is a platform to show our work, to share and explain a perspective — to be who we want to be.

What else can we do for our readers and for the community?

We have always been enthusiastic about supporting new voices and over a third of our articles in 2020 came from first-time writers. But after reflecting on our process and publishing achievements, our editorial team wants to find new ways to support our emerging writers while continuing to improve the overall quality of our publishing.

In the next month, we’ll begin to define new standards for publishing on Nightingale. We will be defining more explicit criteria for publication, which includes better guidelines on subject matter, grammar, titles, and a checklist to review before you submit your article. This will help our writers to level-up their skills and set clearer expectations for publication. This shift will also provide alignment for our editorial team in guiding writers through the review process. The resulting consistency will improve the reader experience as well.

Additionally, we will establish some new ways to pitch and review articles, and even develop a more “sandbox” approach to editing. What better way to foster community than by utilizing our individual strengths to support each other in a collaborative setting?

In 2021, we will take steps to create a new program to find and encourage new voices and expand who considers themselves part of our community. Our entire editorial team understands the importance of data visualization’s role in overcoming relevance barriers and we want to continue to raise awareness of the broadening context among our community and beyond.

Lastly, we are renegotiating our contract with Medium and will likely be publishing fewer articles to make way for these additional activities.

This year Nightingale will begin to move into print.

Ok, the big news: we are expanding into a print version this year!

There are many ideas that we are exploring on the format and content, but creating a printed version of Nightingale helps to change the perception of our collective ideas.

Moving to print allows Nightingale to become its own entity. We will have more options to control how and where people interact with our content. While it is likely that we continue some kind of relationship with Medium (and their support, generosity, and commitment to launching Nightingale was necessary and pivotal), we will expand our digital footprint and create new ways to bridge the print <> digital formats. We gain the ability to write our own rules with greater flexibility and autonomy.

A magazine would transcend search engines and optimize chance interactions. While a print publication would need a limited print-run, its distribution in shops and booksellers opens our potential influence and creates many new opportunities.

Just as professional societies have done in the past, creating a print journal helps to legitimize who we are, and establishes a more archival version of our work into the printed record. We keep magazines for longer. We leave them in places to be chanced upon. We loan them to our friends. Physical objects hold a different place in our homes and in our lives. They are tangible in a way that the digital world can never replace.

Creating a print version also allows us our archive our thoughts in a more lasting way. One of our focuses will be to ensure that print issues of Nightingale can be available in libraries and schools. This will help to spread our ideas and influence outside of our professional bubble and it will provide students and researchers a way to access our work in a new format. Additionally, materials can be developed to spread these ideas more organically and in collaboration with the DVS educational and knowledge mission.

We want to hear from you!

To get this off the ground, we will need a lot of help!

Get in touch to explore the possibilities with us! This could be in advertising, supporting, editorial, design, distribution — you name it! We will need your help!

Our team is looking to establish a sustainable operating structure with an expanded paid staff and equitable distribution of funding. If your foundation or granting organization is interested in supporting Nightingale, please reach out!


We have been so fortunate to be part of the growth of the DVS as well as the establishment of a new generation of practitioners. We look forward to evolving and expanding and supporting the DVS globally.

The attention to global inclusivity by the Outlier team has certainly inspired all of us. Exploring multilingual support and global distribution will be fundamental issues that we will need to explore together. Adding your voice to our team to figure out the challenges will be really important. All it takes is emailing us to start the conversation.


Top five most-read pieces in 2020

Hey, there’s more! Why not check out the five most-read articles in 2020? They are amazing and illustrate exactly how diverse our coverage has been.

I Learned Data Viz in a Year, and You Can Too

by Evelina Judeikytė

The Great Emoji Movie Challenge

by Jason Forrest

Ten Considerations Before You Create Another Chart About COVID-19

by Amanda Makulec

How to Create Brand Colors for Data Visualization Style Guidelines

by Amy Cesal

Constructing a Career in Data Visualization: The How

by Will Chase



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Jason Forrest

Dataviz Designer at McKinsey, Editor-in-chief at Nightingale, Electronic Musician. Contact & more: