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What is data journalism and how can I begin doing it? Get this presentation: Rosanne Scholl, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "What is data journalism and how can I begin doing it? Get this presentation: Rosanne Scholl, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is data journalism and how can I begin doing it? Get this presentation: Rosanne Scholl, Ph.D.

2 My Goals Persuade you to make data part of journalism education Give an overview of practices, tools and skills with examples, including those accessible to beginners Give a “lay of the land” so you know what’s out there to explore Remember to say “data are” not “data is”


4 What is data journalism? Enterprise reporting – And some newsrooms have data teams that can respond to breaking news events Using data to help uncover and tell stories – Data is a collection of systematically measured values It is not necessarily: – Big data – Data visualization


6 Is data journalism new? Computer-assisted reporting goes back to the 1960s – Older terms include computer-assisted reporting and data-driven journalism But data has changed

7 Good Examples for Quality Distraction 89.280 kissing-and-political-fan-fiction/ Get this presentation:

8 Skills 1.Traditional newsgathering 2.Sourcing and evaluating data 3.Numeracy and analyzing data 4.Infographics and data visualization 5.Traditional storytelling 6.Evaluating your reach 7.Ethics of Data Journalism Gathering the News Reporting the News Professional Development


10 Traditional Newsgathering

11 The data journalism beat Data specialists and regular staff Stories that arise in the realm of data Stories that can only now be told because of data

12 Reporting On Objectionable Business Practices


14 Sourcing Data Open data movement Government sources – Municipal and state transparency efforts – Census – Open records requests Scraping web data – Python and SQL

15 Sourcing Data NICAR – – $70 a year – Offers data and premium Tableau crowdsourcing Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships Want more? –

16 Evaluating Data Questions to ask about polls and surveys Understanding how and when to combine multiple datasets, eg. Census data and voting registration data Nate Silver’s original model…. Made a genre of prognosticators obsolete

17 Numeracy

18 Numeracy Examples Population of the U.S.: 316 million Bill Gates’ net worth: $82,000 million (=82 billion) Apple’s annual revenue: $170 billion Annual federal budget deficit: $650 billion

19 Numeracy Examples Teens who receive a comprehensive education about sex are 50 percent less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who receive sex educations that are abstinence-only or contraception-only programs* – 2.9% of teenage girls give birth – 50% more likely => 5.8% of non-comprehensively educated give birth – 50 percentage points more likely => 52.9% of non- comprehensively educated give birth! *Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

20 Data Analysis Using Excel to count occurrences or average values within categories Using statistics packages to test claims of relationships or differences Using programming to create an interactive database to allow search for stories Flexibility, creativity, and entrepreneurship

21 Want More about Data Analysis? Free short course on being skeptical about statistics from “the world’s first data visualization critic”: – Free short course from Poynter and AAPOR for journalists about evaluating the quality of polls and survey research: – and-interpreting-polls-2012 and-interpreting-polls-2012


23 Infographics Infographics illustrate and engage Using Adobe Illustrator CC to create beautiful graphics that convey a variety of information, some of it numerical


25 Want More about Infographics? Books: 2014/dp/0547974515/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0W16EBKE3WTP2S19JV6Q 2014/dp/0547974515/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0W16EBKE3WTP2S19JV6Q Visualizations/dp/1592538061/ref=pd_sim_b_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=0W16EBKE3WTP2S19JV6Q Visualizations/dp/1592538061/ref=pd_sim_b_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=0W16EBKE3WTP2S19JV6Q Visualized/dp/0062188224/ref=pd_sim_b_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=0W16EBKE3WTP2S19JV6Q Visualized/dp/0062188224/ref=pd_sim_b_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=0W16EBKE3WTP2S19JV6Q

26 Data Visualization Infographics illustrate but dataviz illuminates – Infographics make data attractive, easily understandable – Dataviz makes inaccessible data accessible, easily understandable Static vs dynamic Graphic Design, Excel, Tableau, Google Fusion Table, IBM’s Many Eyes, map tools, R




30 what-you-love-and-get-paid-for-it-choose-one-of-these-majors/

31 Types of Visualizations A very incomplete list: – Interactive text databases – Bar charts to compare levels – Bubble charts on 2 axes to show 3 variables – Line graph showing change over time – Trees to show hierarchical relationships – Maps: chloropleth, cartogram, proportional dots – Cluster diagrams to show spatial distribution – Network visualization to show relationships

32 The First Rule of Dataviz Junk in, junk out Or: beauty is only skin deep Or: You can’t help readers understand something you don’t understand, and you might be the best available expert on your own data… so you should be a data analysis ninja before becoming a dataviz ninja



35 Want More on Data Visualization? p?id=3419 p?id=3419 #dataviz

36 Traditional Storytelling Bring the story to life Explain complex concepts to non-experts Provide context for the meaning of the data Especially for broadcast, which (today) relies on visualization less than text-based media


38 Delivering the News

39 Ethics of Data Journalism Journalism norms and routines Survey researcher code of ethics Data industry ethics:

40 Want More? Self-Teach Tastes and tools are changing quickly, so there’s space for you to be an entrepreneur Read this: 1.0/en/index.html 1.0/en/index.html A good starter project: – Download census data from your state or locality: news/press-kits/summary-file-1.html news/press-kits/summary-file-1.html – Find out where women narrow the paygap with men, or the size of families of different national origins in different places – Then use or Google Data Fusion to map what you Teaching Data Journalism Courses should cover the life-cycle of data: – Getting it – Evaluating it – Understanding it – Communicating it – Contextualizing it Can be taught at any level of complexity: – You don’t have to understand all kinds of data before telling the story of particular data

41 Licensing Note Images* used in this presentation are tagged as licensed for non-commercial reuse – You can find such images for your own work by searching at and then clicking “Search Tools > Usage Rights” – *Except Orbitz and Upworthy logos, memes of skeptical baby and Yoda, and screenshots from WNYC and WaPo My use of copyrighted images is “fair use” in this educational setting – Additionally, criticism applies to logos and transformative use applies to memes

42 Thank you! @RosanneScholl Get this presentation :

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