Data storytelling is rapidly gaining prominence as a characteristic activity of digital journalism with significant adoption by small and large media houses. While a handful of previous studies have examined what characterises aspects of data storytelling like narratives and visualisation or analysis based on single cases, we are yet to see a systematic effort to harness these available resources to gain better insight into what characterises good data stories and how these are created. This study analysed 44 cases of outstanding data storytelling practices comprising winning entries of the Global Editors Network’s Data Journalism Award from 2013 to 2016 to bridge this knowledge gap. Based on a conceptual model we developed, we uniformly characterised each of the 44 cases and then proceeded to determine types of these stories and the nature of technologies employed in creating them. Our findings refine the traditional typology of data stories from the journalistic perspective and also identify core technologies and tools that appear central to good data journalism practice. We also discuss our findings in relations to the recently published 2017 winning entries. Our results have significant implications for the required competencies for data journalists in contemporary and future newsrooms. © 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.