Category Archives: faq

FAQ: 24 questions about data journalism

The latest in the FAQ series is a whopper: a PhD researcher from Iran asks 24 questions about data journalism. I’ve actually only shown 22 below. (Only).

What are the most common definitions of data journalism? What is your definition?

I had a stab at this in the introduction to The Data Journalism Handbook, and Tony Hirst has a good overview of three different ways of defining it.

More recently, here’s a definition from the forthcoming second edition of my Online Journalism Handbook:

“Data journalism is, basically, any journalism that involves structured data. And when everything is online – from government spending and last month’s weather to music sales, fashion gossip, social network connections and sports performances – that basically means the world is your oyster.”

What are the different types of data journalism?

There are all sorts, from short simple pieces that only fill a few paragraphs to longform investigative pieces or interactive tools. It can relate to getting the data, analysing it, telling the story or making that interactive. Continue reading

FAQ: Investigative journalism now – and its future

The latest in the series of FAQ posts comes from a student in Germany who is interested in how investigative journalism is affected by the financial situation of publishers, and how it might develop in the next decade. Continue reading

A review of online journalism in 2014 – and predictions for 2015

Every December Nic Newman asks me and a bunch of other people for their thoughts on the year just passed, and the year to come. This year, it seems to me, has been particularly seminal, so I’m reproducing my responses here.

1. What surprised you in 2014?

How many news organisations finally began to write web-native copy: linking and embedding multimedia (often from YouTube, Flickr, Twitter or Vine).

The rise of visual journalism has been the most notable trend of 2014 for me, driven by the algorithms of Facebook and changes to Twitter, and the integration of SMO staff and best practice into news organisations.  Continue reading

FAQ: Do you need new ethics for computational journalism?

This latest post in the FAQ series answers questions posed by a student in Belgium regarding ethics and data journalism.

Q: Do ethical issues in the practice of computational journalism differ from those of “traditional” journalism?

No, I don’t think they do particularly – any more than ethics in journalism differ from ethics in life in general. However, as in journalism versus life, there are areas which attract more attention because they are the places we find the most conflict between different ethical demands.

For example, the tension between public interest and an individual’s right to privacy is a general ethical issue in journalism but which has particular salience in data journalism, when you’re dealing with data which names individuals.

I wrote about this in a book chapter which I’ve published in parts on the blog. Continue reading