Big data or small data. Open data or closed data. Clean data or dirty data. Data, just like conversations and brown paper packages full of documents is quickly becoming accepted as a popular source for journalists. Talk of ‘data journalism’ is everywhere, but what does it mean? How easy is it to get big stories out of big data, or piece together small datasets to get a new angle that no-one has explored previously? More importantly, can anyone do it? or just large newsrooms who can employ statisticians, interactive news desks and data geeks?
Over a 6 month period, the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation set out to find out the answers to these questions, and crowdsourced the Data Journalism Handbook, soliciting contributions from leading practitioners of data journalism from around the world. The conclusion: the minimum you need to get started with data journalism is a basic spreadsheet program and a few key maths skills; once you have been bitten by the bug, the sky is the limit, new business models, greater engagement with readers and news apps that live on long after the original headline is over being just a few of the highlights…
The handbook aims to showcase some of the most exciting examples of data journalism around and encourage journalists who shy away from data to take the plunge and find the stories. This session highlights key lessons from the book, including a) getting stories from data (big or small) b) business models for data driven newsrooms and c) how to get started.
Aron Pilhofer is editor of Interactive News at The New York Times. His team blends journalism and technology to enhance The Times’s reporting online through social media, community and dynamic, data-driven Web applications. He is co-founder of two news startups: DocumentCloud.org and Hacks and Hackers. Aron joined The Times in 2005 as a projects editor on the paper’s newly expanded computer-assisted reporting team, where he specialized in stories related to money, politics and influence for the politics desk and Washington bureau. Prior to joining The Times, Pilhofer was database editor at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, on the national training staff of Investigative Reporters and Editors and worked for a number of years as a statehouse and projects reporter for Gannett newspapers in New Jersey and Delaware.
Mirko Lorenz is a journalist, information architect and trainer based in Cologne, Germany. He has been actively developing training concepts for data journalism for the last two years. Additionally he is involved in cloud computing development, with a focus on media use cases for big data, visualization and digital publishing. He is a member of the innovation team at Deutsche Welle.
Nicolas Kayser-Bril, is CEO and co-founder of Journalism++ , a company that brings web technologies in journalistic workflows. Before founding Journalism++ in late 2011, Nicolas was in charge of datajournalism at OWNI, were he led several experiments in crowdsourced data gathering. A self-taught programmer and journalist, Nicolas holds a degree in Media Economics.
Liliana Bounegru is project manager on data journalism at the European Journalism Centre and editor of DataDrivenJournalism.net, a collection of useful resources for those who want to get started with data journalism, including relevant events, tools, tutorials, interviews and case studies. You can read more about the data journalism activities she has organized together with partners, including training and the Data Journalism Handbook, on DataDrivenJournalism.net. Liliana is also a Research MA candidate in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She blogs about her academic work at lilianabounegru.org.
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