Data journalism is a journalism specialty reflecting the increased
role that numerical data is used in the production and distribution of
information in the digital era. It reflects the increased interaction
between content producers (journalist) and several other fields such
as design, computer science and statistics. From the point of view of
journalists, it represents "an overlapping set of competencies drawn
from disparate fields".
Data journalism has been widely used to unite several concepts and
link them to journalism. Some see these as levels or stages leading
from the simpler to the more complex uses of new technologies in the
Designers are not always part of the process. According to author and
data journalism trainer Henk van Ess, "Datajournalism can be based
on any data that has to be processed first with tools before a
relevant story is possible. It doesn't include visualisation per se".
1 Areas covered
2 Emergence as a concept
4 External links
Computer assisted reporting and data-driven journalism, where
journalists make use of large databases to produce stories.
Serious games, in the sense that they take interaction a step further.
Database journalism or structured journalism, an information
management system where pieces of information are organized in a
database (as opposed to a traditional story-centric organizational
Emergence as a concept
One of the earliest examples of using computers with journalism dates
back to a 1952 endeavor by CBS to use a mainframe computer to predict
the outcome of the presidential election, but it wasn't until 1967
that using computers for data analysis began to be more widely
Working for the
Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press at the time,
Philip Meyer used a
mainframe to improve reporting on the riots spreading throughout the
city. With a new precedent set for data analysis in journalism, Meyer
collaborated with Donald Barlett and James Steele to look at patterns
with conviction sentencings in Philadelphia during the 1970s. Meyer
later wrote a book titled Precision
Journalism that advocated the use
of these techniques for combining data analysis into journalism.
Toward the end of the 1980s, significant events began to occur that
helped to formally organize the field of computer assisted reporting.
Bill Dedman of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for The Color of Money, his 1988 series
of stories using CAR techniques to analyze racial discrimination by
banks and other mortgage lenders in middle-income black
neighborhoods. The National Institute for Computer Assisted
Reporting (NICAR) was formed at the Missouri School of Journalism
in collaboration with the
Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).
The first conference dedicated to CAR was organized by NICAR in
conjunction with James Brown at Indiana University and held in 1990.
The NICAR conferences have been held annually since and is now the
single largest gathering of data journalists.
Although data journalism has been used informally by practitioners of
computer-assisted reporting for decades, the first recorded use by a
major news organization is The Guardian, which launched its Datablog
in March 2009. And although the paternity of the term is disputed,
it is widely used since Wikileaks'
Afghan War documents leak in July,
The Guardian's coverage of the war logs took advantage of free data
visualization tools such as Google Fusion Tables, another common
aspect of data journalism. Facts are Sacred by The Guardian's Datablog
editor Simon Rogers describes data journalism like this:
"Comment is free," wrote Guardian editor CP Scott in 1921, "but facts
are sacred". Ninety years later, publishing those sacred facts has
become a new type of journalism in itself: data journalism. And it is
rapidly becoming part of the establishment.
Discussion of data journalism has been regularly featured in academic
^ Thibodeaux, Troy (6 October 2011), 5 tips for getting started in
data journalism, retrieved 11 October 2011
^ Michelle Minkoff (24 March 2010). "Bringing data journalism into
^ van Ess, Henk and Van der Kaa, Hille (2012). Handboek
^ Houston, Brant (2015). Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical
Guide, Fourth Edition. New York City: Routledge. p. 9.
^ "About NICAR". National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting.
Investigative Reporters and Editors. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
^ Rogers, Simon (28 July 2011), "
Data journalism at the Guardian: what
is it and how do we do it?", The Guardian, London, retrieved 25
^ Kayser-Bril, Nicolas (19 July 2011), Les données pour comprendre le
monde (in French), retrieved 6 October 2011
^ Dreyfus, Suelette; Lederman, Reeva; Bosua, Rachelle; Milto, Simon
(2011). "Can we handle the truth? Whistleblowing to the media in the
digital era" (PDF). Global Media Journal. 5.
^ Powell, Alison (2011). "Emerging Issues in Internet Regulation: The
Unstable Role of Wikileaks and Cyber-Vigilantism". Research Handbook
on Internet Governance. SSRN 1932740 .
National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting website
List of data journalism university courses and programmes fro