In a guest post for OJB, Steve Carufel interviews Dutch data journalist Thomas de Beusabout visualisation, storytelling — and useful new tools for data journalists.
Data journalism is, among other things, the art of resisting the temptation to show spectacular visualisations that fail to highlight the data behind a story.
Insights and relevant statistics can get lost in visual translation, so Thomas de Beus’ Colourful Facts is a great place to start thinking more about clarity and your audience — and less about spectacular graphic design (although you do not want to forego attractiveness entirely). Continue reading →
As the first group of MA Data Journalism students prepare to start their course this month, I’ve been recommending a number of email newsletters in the field that they should be following — and I thought I should share it here too.
Here, then, are 9 email newsletters about data — if I’ve missed any please let me know. Continue reading →
Given that in two weeks I’ll be doing exactly the opposite (my first intake of MA students begin a new module in Narrative at the end of the month) I thought I should add my own reaction. Continue reading →
In this second extract from a forthcoming book chapter I look at the role that computational thinking is likely to play in the next wave of data journalism — and the need to problematise that. You can read the first part of this series here.
Computational thinking is the process of logical problem solving that allows us to break down challenges into manageable chunks. It is ‘computational’ not only because it is logical in the same way that a computer is, but also because this allows us to turn to computer power to solve it.
“To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Just as the printing press facilitated the spread of the three Rs, what is appropriately incestuous about this vision is that computing and computers facilitate the spread of computational thinking.”
This process is at the heart of a data journalist’s work: it is what allows the data journalist to solve the problems that make up so much of modern journalism, and to be able to do so with the speed and accuracy that news processes demand. Continue reading →
In the first of three expanded extracts from a forthcoming book chapter on ‘The next wave of data journalism’ I outline some of the ways that data journalism is reinventing itself, and adapting for a world which is rapidly changing again. Where networked communications and processing power were key in the 2000s, automation and AI are becoming key in the decade to come. And just as data journalism raised the bar for journalism as a whole, the bar is about to be raised for data journalism itself.
Data journalism isn’t doing enough. Now into its second decade, the noughties-era technologies that it was built on – networked access to information and vastly improving visualisation capabilities – are now taken for granted, just as the ‘computer assisted’ part of its antecedent Computer Assisted Reporting was.
In just ten years data journalism has settled down into familiar practices and genres, from the interactive map and giant infographics to the quick turnaround “Who comes bottom in the latest dataset” write-up. It’s a sure sign of maturity when press officers are sending you data journalism-based media releases.
Now we need to move forward. And the good news is: there are plenty of places to go. Continue reading →
I took part in a BBC Academy podcast about data journalism last week, along with The Guardian’s Helena Bengtsson and the BBC’s Daniel Wainwright and John Walton, in the wake of the BBC’s annual plan and three-year strategy which included a focus on the “interrogation of data”.
Among other things we talked about why data journalism is increasingly important, what skills are needed (including the role of code), why I’m launching an MA in Data Journalism, and what sorts of stories can be done with those skills.