Lecture 6

Summary

Journalism is about telling a story with the use of data. Using key information sets, key data, key reference elements to inform a story. Processing the data requires asking the right questions. It is not restricting you to text, rather telling a story visually. Trusting journalists can be recognised through data and statistics, being open and transparent.

Data journalism is the recognition of power and measurement in helping public discourse. Scrapping, mining and statistical data reveals patterns and trends. Not for mere entertainment however affecting public and political discourse.

Data journalism history

Graphics made of type – easily reproduced (The Manchester Guardian, 1901).

Diagram and representation of data made of type – alphabet, lines which represented where the front half of battalion was, firing lines, infantry.

The Somme Battle Achievement

Sections of the lands after the war

The Manchester Guardian Commercial 1938

Importance and freedom of colour gives us as opposed to the cross hatching used at the time – complicated data

Meteorite – 54,000 events. Latitudes and longitudes in the data

Interactive/able to search

The guardian came up with a code/algorithm which looked at the achievement of gold medals, and how much more value was derived from country’s who had less population and less expectation of winning compared to more favoured country’s.

A visual interpretation was utilised from a google spreadsheet and changed the graphics live with up to date information. Population adjusted figures – it allowed for greater discourse between the public, discussing why certain countries were able to do well or not so well (economic/population reasons), why one country is particularly well in one sport. Allowed for individual research, explore with data journalism through personal interest rather than focusing on the popular/main winners.

Reflection
This lecture pod was an important reflection of journalism and reinforcing the ideas of visualisation through narrative. Telling a story through numbers allows the audience a clearer idea of comparisons rather than appealing to emotion or persuasive language. A narrative can be created which dissects the equality of statistics, for example in the olympics the use of data allowed the public to view population adjusted figures of gold, silver and bronze medals, adding greater weight to the achievements of nations who are less likely to succeed due to socioeconomic factors. Further discussion among the public can ultimately create change as issues are presented on a surface level with statistical analysis and supporting visualisations.

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