What does Data journalism mean?

Data journalism makes facts and figures more accessible. Turing information into graphs, diagrams and pictures makes the information a lot easier to understand. Especially with comparable information.

When I think of data journalism I think of Wikileaks, and the data it discloses.

Data journalism should present facts and figures in a comprehensive, interesting way. It’s all about putting numbers into something more attractive and accessible.

I don’t think data journalism has to be as boring as it sounds. Data journalism can show the data of anything, ranging from sports results to the amount of people watching the Xfactor, from the amount of soldiers in Afghanistan to the money made by a particular brand. In fact, data journalism can make news more exciting.

It’s becoming a ‘hot topic’ for all journalists, and is rapidly on its way to becoming a trend. And I do see why. Picture, maps, graphs are all so easy to understand. Instead of reading number after number and having no proper grasp on what they actually mean, they are produced into a diagram.

They can also show what is affected by the numbers, what the numbers are affected by, and a general trend can be seen.

But could data journalism be seen as a ‘lazy’ form of journalism? I don’t think so.

The reader doesn’t have to work as hard to understand what the information means, because who wants to spend all day trying to understand the meaning and effect of an article?

The journalist, on the other hand, has work much harder in order to produce the graphs and images, instead of just writing.

Pictures are how we first learn to read as they are an immediate form of communication. But pictures in data journalism are more than just a picture because they incorporate often vast amounts of dense information, processing them into something simple. And that is the very essence of journalism, taking something complex and making it simple and easy to understand.

Julia Greenaway (@juliacgreenaway)

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