Firstly, for my friends who don’t have a clue about what DATA JOURNALISM is? Well, here’s a possible answer… Data Journalism as the term suggests is simply, DATA + JOURNALISM. In short, everything journalists present with data.
For many years, journalists have been using data as a source to project and put forward the realities which otherwise, would go missing.
Journalists have dealt with major data scarcity issues (in terms of availability of open data) and it was really challenging to present them in an order best interpreted by the reader mainly because of the following reasons:
- Lack of proper medium to create intriguing presentations
- Scarcity of the medium to deliver the exact message
Not going much deeper to these facts, I present some of the reasons where data journalism can be really helpful & can actually help you to live a better life
STORY TELLING & DATA JOURNALISM
Infographics (Information & graphics) and data visualization are two main pillars of presenting an effective story. In recent years, not only the giant corporations but also SME’s are into the competition to present their reports in the most eye catching ways. Annual reports, financial stats and quarterly reports are read by far more people now than it used to be. A compelling story can be told easily by using infographics in it.
Newspapers have adopted a fine way to present breath taking stories by projecting analytics as the basis of various articles. You can easily find graphs & charts in various reports and most articles.
Recently, the ice bucket challenge has come into light and a lot of data was drawn to express different aspects of the challenge (donation money drawn etc.) Here is a short example wherein it becomes a lot easier to interpret numbers than telling it in stories.
”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 scepticism; 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.
ADAPTION TO CHANGES IN INFORMATIVE ENVIRONMENT IS IMPORTANT
“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, multi-dimensional story-telling, enabling readers to explore the sources underlying the news and encouraging them to participate in the process of creating and evaluating stories.”
— César Viana, University of Goiás
PERCOLATION OF DATA IS NEEDED
Gone those days when data was scarce, when journalists needed information which was not available. Today there is ample of information available, journalists need to filter carefully and find the useful information to present.
Processing is done at two levels:
(1) Analysis to bring sense and structure out of the never-ending flow of data
(2) “Presentation to get what’s important and relevant into the consumer’s head. Like science, data journalism discloses its methods and presents its findings in a way that can be verified by replication” — Philip Meyer, Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Data journalism has a close resemblance with photo journalism where story telling is done with images. It differs in the way how data is projected (in forms of graphical representation). More carefully DATA is visualized, more captivating it becomes. But it is even more alluring in facts, the reason being photos does not say it all, figures does!!
DATA JOURNALISM HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE
Data Journalism has a long and bright future. Journalists need to be data- savvy and be able to filter & visualize it actively. As everything gets viral so quickly, Journalists need to be very compassionate!