How do I get a story from data?
Data has always been the backbone of a story. Without it, there would be no story, just pure fabrication and conjecture.
When I first started my MA in journalism, I was prepared to look for stories by networking and talking to people, and making freedom of information requests; after all, this was the traditional way of finding stories.
Data has always been available, but with the boom of the internet over the last decade, information has become more freely available and a lot easier to access (subject to the information you are looking for).
So just how easy is it to find data and make a good story from it?
Every fortnight at university, our group has to produce a radio show, and I was assigned the role of the reporter. With limited time to track stories, getting information quickly and effectively is all part of the training to meet editors’ deadlines in professional newsrooms.
I decided to search for current surveys and things that were recently published on consumer trends and habits for the beginning of the new year.
Before long, I came across the British Gambling Prevalence Survey for 2010. The file was a .pdf and quite boring to read through. However, there were a few small graphics and charts to make it aesthetically pleasing and easier to read and understand.
The survey found that there was an increase in men betting in 2010 than any other time. This was the data that would form the basis of my story.
Here is the final report.