If you’re familiar with Microsoft Excel or Access, you might like Fusion Tables. It’s a free tool that allows you to create interactive maps and charts with data.
For journalists, this is fantastic. Fusion Tables unlocks the data stuck in your hard drive and lets you easily share it with readers in a compelling format. Check out some great examples at Matt Stiles’ blog, the Daily Viz.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out this slideshow for a step-by-step tutorial about some of the basics.