The Age of Insight: Telling Stories with Data

The Age of Insight: Telling Stories with Data


data is really just a tool no different from the other vital tools that we have in journalism quotes words photography numbers have been using journalism since journalism has existed I think what’s different are the technologies that are available to analyze that data and also to then convey that data to readers we want to receive information fast quick and direct to the point data journals won’t often have for all the other tools and journalism in it but what separates it out what makes it different is it you are finding data sources you are interpreting those data sources and you’re using them to discover stories that you wouldn’t have found otherwise WikiLeaks changed everything about the way the data was regarded in the newsroom what made me realize the power of this data as when we took all the instance where at least one person died and put them on a map suddenly you see these patterns of roads that were obviously peppered with IEDs or you can see what had happened in Fallujah all these places where it’s impossible for most people to go to report on them but I should be able to see the data can tell this very human story for WikiLeaks I guess people wondered what was the point of having somebody working on day 2 the newsroom nobody ever asked me that afterwards we show people whole datasets often millions and millions of rows of data we design it in a way so that it empowers them to find things that are relevant to themselves and to their communities rather than seeing all this data and feeling small and feeling overwhelmed by it I have a column called dear Mona where readers will write in with a specific question that they have one week we had a question asking what was the most common first and last name combination in America lots of pieces have been written on the most common first name lots of pieces have been written on the waist common surname but putting the two together is actually quite statistically difficult I think readers walked away with some really interesting piece of information about what the most common name is I also think it told a bigger story about immigration the fact that a lot of the top 20 surnames are Spanish ones talks to you how much this country has changed the reason that data journalism is important is that you can do a much better more accurate job of describing reality if you use data and when you describe reality better you create the possibility that you give people information that allows society to function better and that allows them altum Utley to lead better lives how much is a limb worth is an interactive graphic that helps visually explain that the worker’s compensation program in different states pay different rates for the loss of different body parts a developer on my team named Lena Kroger visualized it in a way that was very visceral almost literally so some of our really early ideas for this word just like simple kind of cartoon it was more human proportional realistic kind of forms those were amazingly creepy we went back to more cartoonish approach and this ended up being our final form for the national average it helps do the work of a story so a story can say different states have different rates of workers compensation but a reader can sit and click all day and kind of compare different limbs and different states and see which states paid you more money for losing an arm I think that journalism is evolving to include readers listeners viewers in far more hands-on ways and I think they Jensen is a really powerful part of that it’s not a monologue anymore it’s a dialogue it’s a conversation where users and readers have everyday a higher voice we’re able to find stories that I don’t think where we’re able to a few years ago thanks to the technology that we have available to us we’re helping reinvent an entire industry helping inform people in ways that they were never informed before it I think it’s vastly better to be a journalist now if you look at the kind of stories we’re able to right now if you look at the kind of writing or able to do if you look at the data we have at our disposal it is so much more interesting it is so much more varied we will know that we’ve done a good job when that’s when people stop using this term when data journalism is so constant that it’s just journalism as it always has been and all [Music]

4 Replies to “The Age of Insight: Telling Stories with Data

  1. How can I start with data journalism? Right now I am working in MNC on Data tools like R, ETL Tools. Can I start with data journalism? If yes, how and where can I start?

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