Tableau makes Tableau Desktop free to investigative journalists, letting them keep projects private

Tableau_DesktopTableau Software is making its premium Tableau Desktop data visualization software free to members of the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) group, helping keep their work under wraps until it’s ready to be published.

Many of these journalists have been using the free Tableau Public service, which was designed to be used with public data and doesn’t offer the privacy controls of the company’s premium software. As reported by GeekWire last month, the launch of author profile pages for Tableau Public is making it easier to discover the work being done by Tableau Public users, including drafts that journalists save using the service — in some cases risking exposing their work in progress.

Tableau’s new arrangement with IRE is designed to address concerns over that change. Ellie Fields, Tableau senior director of product management, says in a post

We’ve learned two important things:

  1. Tableau Public is an important tool for journalists publishing data stories to the web.
  2. However, journalists often need to keep stories private while they are developing those stories. Here Tableau Public works less well because everything must be saved online and is automatically public.

The ability to use Tableau Desktop instead will let IRE members save files locally and later publish to the web. They’ll also be able to use additional file formats for their data.

IRE Executive Director Mark Horvit says in a post, “Tableau Public has provided an important tool for journalists who want to both analyze their data and tell better stories through data visualization. Access to Tableau Desktop will increase the ability of journalists to do this work.”

Tableau Desktop Professional Edition normally runs $1,999.