"Data journalism - don't forget about the journalism"

James Ball from the Guardian wrote a piece on the proliferation of the datablog. Because I now work on a datablog - a small semi-autonomous one within the Mirror Group - a lot of his points were interesting.

This in particular caught my eye: > Data-driven journalism is easy when the data’s easy to get: GDP figures, job figures, polling and surveys. What about all of the issues that need that kind of explanatory power when the data’s not so easy to come by? Focusing too much on where the data is – therein lies a big risk of skewing the coverage mix, helping already-neglecting issues stay neglected … and also over-selling how much of the world we can explain with the data approach.

The hunt for data and figures should be an aggressive one.

The Times has the advantage here, if Leonhardt can – as he’s said he will – work with the newsroom. Silver has some non-journalists along for advanced analysis, though nobody with conventional reporting experience, while Klein has similarly brought along a brilliant team of bloggers, but few of their true blue newsroom compatriots.

It reminds of the more simple point, someone at Channel 4 News made to me. I asked Geoff White - their technology producer/reporter, one of many great journalists I had pleasure of working with there, what he thought about data journalism, and he said that one of the most important points, was not to forget about the journalism part.


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