May 25, 2022
Data Journalism: News for the Future
The news is what makes people a part of democracy. It has the responsibility to inform citizens. But that is not all. The art of media is defined by one thing. Stories. People find stories compelling, be it movies, books, or social media posts. In the same way, journalists have the responsibility to tell the story of their country. Because 10 or 100 years in the future, all of us will look back to the news to know how a nation got to the point where it is today.
We can also observe the evolution of the news media with the rapid development we see in our country. What started with newspapers evolved into television news which then evolved into full-fledged news conglomerates. What’s interesting is that with this evolution, we saw a lot of new jobs develop in the industry. One such particular job or field of work is data journalism. All of us know the importance of data in today’s day and age. Today, we understand how an individual can build a career by processing and reporting this data to the common man.
What is data journalism? Why is it important?
If we look at the grand scheme of things, data journalism doesn’t stop at one field or area of work. From politics, stock exchange to technology and domestic news, in today’s day and age, data is the core of everything that exists. So, the question is, what are the values an individual needs to inculcate when they build a career in data journalism?
- Objectivity: The effects of media are a famously debated topic. With technological development and the privatization of media, many alternative news outlets have emerged. With so many important players and different perspectives, the news media needs an anchor of objectivity. Hence, objective analysis of data and people overall is essential when it comes to building a career in data journallism.
- Credibility: Over the last decade, there has been some mistrust of the media. Media as a profession has been plagued with fake news, propaganda, and corruption. In such uncertain times, news media can establish some amount of credibility. By presenting stories through a filter of objective data, journalists can ensure that their stories have the desired impact.
- Efficiency: Data helps enhance communication. Visual or numerical data are common tools used in presentations of any kind. They help the presenter communicate with the audience efficiently. Such data has the same effect on news stories. It helps in achieving effective and impactful news.
- Integrity: We call news the fourth pillar of democracy. It is not to be tampered with or polluted with personal opinions and agendas, and that is why integrity is the most important quality to build a career in any field of journalism.
Gapminder: Fighting global misconceptions
Gapminder is one of the most popular examples of data journalism. Founded in Stockholm in 2005, it is a modernized organization for journalism. It is less of an approach to journalism and more of a media outlet that delivers news based on facts. Gapminder embodies the philosophy of data journalism. Its mission is to fight global misconceptions through data. The idea is to rectify the polarity that leaders, politicians, propagandists, etc are trying to create. By using data, they try to make us realize that the issue is better or worse than we think. They have many sources and visual tools that they use to achieve this. This concept is so impactful that going on their website and engaging in one of their journalism tools might turn out to be an eye-opening experience.
These characteristics of data journalism make it a promising field. With many news organizations switching up their approach, data journalism will have good scope. If you’re considering building a career in the field, you need to ask yourself if you carry the following qualities
- Pragmatic Analysis
- Data Processing and Presenting
- An Inquisitive Nature toward everything
- Qualitative and quantitative research
Keeping this in mind, becoming a data journalist is quite easy. The two areas that you need to specialize in are, naturally, data and journalism. You can combine a degree in journalism with data courses or a diploma. What is important is that you understand the essence of data journalism which lies in the application of data in news reporting. Understanding this distinctive principle will help you to succeed in the field.
Media is an industry that is and always will be thriving. But it is also complex and controversial. It is filled with philosophical and moral dilemmas that are not frequently acknowledged. This is why data journalism might be the future of media. It is fair, objective, and cannot be manipulated by opinions and feelings. It is the journalism for tomorrow.
Data journalism is very good concept. The only problem is, when the data is used as per the convenience or as per the suitability to drive a point or agenda or propoganda.