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Module 8: Introduction to Data Journalism

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What is Data Journalism?

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Possibilities

Possibilities

Possibilities

Engaging

Engaging

What is Data Journalism?

Value of Data

What is data journalism? Simply put, it is journalism created with data. But that doesn't help much.
Both data and journalism are troublesome terms. Some people think of data as any collection of numbers, most likely gathered on a spreadsheet.

What makes data journalism different? It is the new possibilities that open up when you combine the traditional "nose for news" and ability to tell a story, with the scale and range of digital information now available.

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Engaging

Data journalism can help a journalist tell a complex story through engaging infographics. For example, Hans Rosling's talks on visualizing world poverty with Gapminder have attracted millions of views across the world. And David McCandless' popular work in distilling big numbers-such as putting public spending into context, or the pollution generated and prevented by the Icelandic volcano-shows the importance of clear design.

Or it can help explain how a story relates to an individual, as the BBC and the Financial Times now routinely do with their budget interactives. It can also open up the news-gathering process, by sharing data, context, and questions.

Possibilities

These possibilities can come at any stage of the journalist's process: using programming to automate the process of gathering and combining information from local government, police, and other civic sources or using software to find connections between hundreds of thousands of documents.

Data can be the source of data journalism, or it can be the tool with which the story is told--or it can be both. Like any source, it should be treated with skepticism; and like any tool, we should be conscious of how it can shape and restrict the stories that are created with it. - Paul Bradshaw, Birmingham City University.

The value of data is the little points of information that are often not relevant in a single instance, but important when viewed from the right angle.

What is Data Journalism?

Value of Data

Today, news stories flow in as they happen, from multiple sources, eyewitnesses, and blogs, and is filtered through a vast network of social connections, being ranked, commented on-and sometimes ignored.

This is why data journalism is so important. Gathering, filtering, and visualizing what is happening beyond what the eye can see, has a growing value.

Opportunity

Opportunity

Analyzing

Analyzing

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Analyzing

Journalists can, for example, reveal how some abstract threat (such as unemployment) affects people based on their age, gender, or education. Using data transforms something abstract into something everyone can understand and relate to.

They can create personalized calculators to help people to make decisions, from buying a car or house, deciding on education or professional path, or doing a hard check on costs to stay out of debt.

They can analyze the dynamics of a situation like a riot or political debate, show fallacies, and help everyone to see possible solutions to complex problems.

Opportunity

By using data, the job of journalists shifts its main focus from being the first one to report, to being the one telling us what a certain development might actually mean.

The range of topics can be wide. The next financial crisis that is in the making. The economics behind the products we use. The misuse of funds or political
blunders, presented in a compelling data visualization that leaves little room to argue with it.
This is why journalists should see data as an opportunity.

Asymmetry

Asymmetry

Asymmetry

Context/Clarity

Context/Clarity

Techniques

Techniques

Participation

Participation

What is Data Journalism?

Using Data Journalism

Data journalism is an umbrella term that, encompasses an ever-growing set of tools, techniques, and approaches to storytelling.

It can include everything from traditional computer-assisted reporting (using data as a source) to the most cutting-edge data visualization and news applications.

The unifying goal is a journalistic one: providing information and analysis to help inform us all about important issues of the day.

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Participation

New digital technologies bring new ways of producing and disseminating knowledge in society.

Data journalism can be understood as the media's attempt to adapt and respond to the changes in our information environment, including more interactive, multidimensional storytelling enabling readers to explore the sources underlying the news and encouraging them to participate in the process of creating and evaluating stories.


Techniques

Data journalism is another way to scrutinize the world and hold the powers that be to account. With an increasing amount of data available, it is now more important than ever that journalists are aware of data journalism techniques.

This should be a tool in the toolkit of any journalist, whether learning how to work with data directly, or collaborating with someone who can. Its real power is in helping you to obtain information that would otherwise be very difficult to find or to prove. Ideally, you use the data to pinpoint outliers, areas of interest, or things that are surprising.


Context/Clarity

Around the globe, the bond between data and journalism is growing stronger. In an age of big data, the growing importance of data journalism lies in the ability of its practitioners to provide context, clarity, and most important-find truth in the expanding amount of digital content in the world.

In the digital information age, journalists are needed more than ever to curate, verify, analyze, and synthesize the wash of data. In that context, data journalism has profound importance for society.

Asymmetry

Information asymmetry, (the inability to take in and process information, with the speed and volume that it comes to us), is one of the most significant problems that citizens face when making choices about how to live their lives.

Information taken in from print, visual, and audio media, influence peoples everyday choices and actions.

Good data journalism helps to combat information asymmetry.

What is Data Journalism?

Mass Data Literacy

Data journalism is one part in the ecosystem of tools and practices that have sprung up around data sites and services.

Sharing source materials is in the nature of the hyperlink structure of the Web, and the way we are accustomed to navigating information today.

Quoting and sharing the source materials and the data behind the story is one of the basic ways in which data journalism can improve journalism.

Integration

Integration

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Integration

By enabling anyone to drill down into data sources and find information that is relevant to them, as well as to verify assertions and challenge commonly received assumptions, data journalism effectively represents the mass
democratization of resources, tools, techniques, and methodologies that were previously used by specialists; whether investigative reporters, social scientists, statisticians, analysts, or other experts.

While currently quoting and linking to data sources is particular to data journalism, we are moving towards a world in which data is seamlessly integrated into the fabric of media.

What is Data Journalism?

Data Challenges

As well as providing ways to explore large datasets, there has also been success in creating simple tools for users that provide personally relevant snippets of information.

These tools appeal to the time-poor, who may not choose to explore lengthy analysis.

The ability to easily share a personal fact is something we have begun to incorporate as standard in the modern digital age.

Navigation

Navigation

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Navigation

In the digital space, everyone's a storyteller now. If professional journalism, those who embrace ethical, balanced, courageous truth-seeking storytelling is to survive, then the craft must reassert itself in the digital space.

Data journalism is just another tool by which we will navigate the digital space.
It's where we will map, flip, sort, filter, extract, and see the story amidst all those zeros and ones.It's a transition that requires serious capacity building.

What is needed is news managers who get the digital/journalism connection to start investing in the build.

What is Data Journalism?

Mining The Data

Expertise

Expertise

Finding stories in data is a more traditional definition of data journalism.

• Is an exclusive buried in the database?
• Are the figures accurate?
• Do they prove or disprove a problem?

These are all questions a data journalist or computer-assisted reporter must ask themselves.

But a great deal of time can be taken up sifting through a massive data-set in the hope of finding something remarkable.

Considerations

Considerations

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Considerations

Data journalism stories don't have to be an exclusive no one else has spotted. The job of a data visualization team is to combine great design with a clear editorial narrative to provide a compelling experience for the user.

Engaging visualizations of the right data can be used to give a better understanding of an issue or story.

Also an important consideration is to encourage the user to explore the feature or follow a narrative, without making them feel overwhelmed by the numbers.

Expertise

In the searching and questioning area, it has been found most productive to partner with investigative teams or programs that have the expertise and time to investigate a story.

As well as partnering with investigative journalists, having access to numerous journalists with specialist knowledge is also essential.

Question or Data

Question or Data

Question or Data

Knowledge

Knowledge

Is It News

Is It News

What Next

What Next

What is Data Journalism?

Digital Challenges

journalists consider data journalism a viable addition to traditional journalism. Most journalists continue to use and build on the techniques they have learned to create more ambitious and technical projects, such as databases of the administrative costs of housing schemes.

There are four main recognized obstacles to the use of data journalism. These are:

1. Where to begin: question or data
2. Technical knowledge
3. Is It News
4. What next
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What Next?

For data journalism to work, it has to be integrated into the newsroom. Journalists have to think in data, in addition to quotes, press releases, council meetings, and so on. They must prove to their audience that data journalism isn't just hype.

By utilizing data, journalists can write better informed and more distinctive articles, while presenting readers with different articles in print and online.

Is It News?

Journalists mostly use one data-set to discover news, instead of searching interconnections between different sources.

The reason for this is that you need some statistical knowledge to verify news from data journalism.

Technical Knowledge

Data journalism is quite a technical discipline. Sometimes you have to scrape, other times you'll have to do some programming to visualize your results.

For excellent data journalism, you'll need two aspects:

• The journalistic insight of an experienced journalist
• The technical know-how of a digital all-rounder
Question or Data?

Where to begin: Almost all projects stalled when searching for information. Most of the lime, they began with a journalistic question. But then? What data is available? Where can you find it? And when you find this data, can you
answer your question with it?

Journalists usually know where they can find information when doing research for an article.

With data journalism, most journalists don't know what information is available.

What is Data Journalism?

Data Journalism and Business

Processing Data

Processing Data

Many journalists seem to be unaware of the size of the revenue that is generated through data collection, data analytics, and visualization. This is the business of information refinement.

With data tools and technologies, it is increasingly possible to shed light on highly complex issues, be this international finance, debt, demography, education, and so on.

What is changing right now is that the tools developed for this space are now becoming available for other domains, including the media.

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Processing Data

The big, worldwide market that is currently opening up, is all about transformation of publicly available data into something our that we can process: making data visible and making it human.

There are a number of very profitable data-driven media companies, who have simply applied this principle. They enjoy healthy growth rates and sometimes impressive profits.

One example is Bloomberg. The company operates about 300,000 terminals and delivers financial data to its users. If you are in the money business, this is a powerful tool.

What is Data Journalism?

Data Journalism and Business

With data journalism, it is not just about being first, but about being a trusted source of information.

Data journalists can help to collate, synthesize, and present diverse and often difficult sources of information in a way that gives their audience real insights into complex issues.

Rather than just recycling press releases and retelling stories they've heard elsewhere, data journalists can give readers a clear, comprehensible, and customized perspective with interactive graphics and access to primary sources.

Approach

Approach

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Approach

So what is the best approach for aspiring data journalists to explore this field and convince management to support innovative projects? The first step should be to look for immediate opportunities close to home.

For example, you might already have collections of structured texts and data that you could use. Also become proficient in all things data, whether as a generalist or as a specialist focused on one aspect of the data food chain, this provides a valuable perspective for people who believe in journalism

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