Hello, and welcome to my website! I’m Betsy Ladyzhets; I use she/her pronouns. I’m an independent data journalist on the science and health beat, based in Brooklyn, New York. I run the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, work part-time at the Documenting COVID-19 project, and am open for additional freelance work.
I’m passionate about using data and a variety of storytelling formats to help readers connect with science and health concepts. Since March 2020, my main focus has been the COVID-19 pandemic: exploring what we can learn from public COVID-19 data sources, as well as where the numbers fall short.
My COVID-19 work has included founding and running the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, working at the Documenting COVID-19 project, managing COVID-19 coverage at Stacker, and volunteering for the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. As a data journalist at Stacker, I launched and managed the publication’s Science & Health vertical, producing unique, data-driven stories about everything from the pandemic to our warming climate. At the COVID Tracking Project, I served as a Shift Lead on the Project’s Data Entry team, worked on data quality efforts, and coauthored widely cited analysis posts on COVID-19 hospitalization data and antigen tests.
I founded the COVID-19 Data Dispatch in July 2020 in an attempt to make the wildly complicated world of pandemic data more accessible for my fellow journalists, friends, and family members. The publication quickly grew into a trusted source for COVID-19 news and resources, and I started doing more interviews, analysis, and original reporting. In October, I was accepted into the first cohort of the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; this program provided me with key business skills while pushing me to think big about my project’s potential.
I relaunched the COVID-19 Data Dispatch in January 2021, moving it from Substack to the website where it now lives. I also organized a series of virtual workshops on COVID-19 data, supported with an Idea Grant from the National Association of Science Writers. A few months later, in April 2021, I left my job at Stacker to pursue freelance projects and work on the COVID-19 Data Dispatch full-time.
In September 2021, I joined the Documenting COVID-19 project as a senior journalism fellow. This project obtains, publishes, and reports on COVID-related public records; it’s housed at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and MuckRock. My projects there thus far have have included an investigation into Southwest Missouri’s Delta surge.
So far, the highlights of my career are running data journalism sessions at the 2020 and 2021 Science Writers conferences and finding out that my Avengers: Infinity War fanfiction helped one reader ace an intro biology exam. Outside of data and writing, most of my neural power is spent overanalyzing movie soundtracks, dreaming of Costco free samples, and wondering when the next G train will arrive.
- COVID-19 Data Dispatch: an independent self-publication sharing the latest news about the pandemic in the US (iMedD Lab)
- Creating and Sustaining an Email Newsletter (The Open Notebook)
- Using data to drive stories (National Association of Science Writers)
- Journalist describes role in helping compile, publicize national data on COVID-19 (Association of Health Care Journalists)