data journalism · Journalism

Data: Bricks to write a story

If journalism was a baby, I think that now is the time for her parents to come to terms that she is growing up and maybe not how they imagined she would. Over the years she has been growing into different directions and from my perspective this growth is never ending.

I heard about data journalism and I did not really know what it is all about. Well obviously I figured out that it is data and journalism all in one. Margaret Rouse defines data journalism as “Data journalism in an approach to writing for the public in which the journalist analyzes large data sets to identify potential news stories.” Rouse writes and manages an IT encyclopaedia for TechTarget, a company that sells technology.

data-journalism-cycle1

Based on the definition given above, data journalists collect data, work through it and try to write a news story using the data. According to Aron Pilhofer who writes for the New York Times, when you are going to write your story using data, “Start small, and start with something you already know and already do. And always, always, always remember that the goal here is journalism.”

Using data to write a piece is a very different route as to how journalists normally would write a story and I think that some would find it a bit difficult to do.

Greg Satell wrote that, “Data journalism is, in many ways, a disruptive innovation”. I do not think that data journalism is disruptive at the moment. Everything that happens is basically based on data. The only time I would agree that data journalism is a problem is when the journalist makes it a problem by conveying the wrong story or message to those who are going to read it. To prevent any disruption, data journalists should be trained how to work with data, because in the end the one who will suffer is the reader because they have been misled and misinformed.

After all I think data journalism is reshaping the profession and it is not as easy as it seems to be. Journalism will never stop to evolve because there is and always will be some other way to do the things journalists have done over the years. For that reason traditional journalists should not get too comfortable in their seats.

Concerning the future of data journalism, I agree with Satell when he added, “Yet despite its shortcomings, data journalism still offers great promise.”

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