LECTURE POD 6- DATA JOURNALISM

Summary

Part 1: What is data journalism?

Part one interviews a range of workers at ‘The Guardian.’ The video provides precedents of interactive data and images and several perspectives on what they believe data journalism is and why. For example, author and editor of The Guardian data blog advocates that “journalism is more than just ‘letters.’ It is about telling a story with the power of data.” (2013) While there are several viewpoints, the main points are:

  • It can establish a helpful, clear picture.
  • Nobody trusts journalists anymore. Data makes a stronger story. Numbers are so strong so the story isn’t just about opinion but what the reality is.
  • The only way to get a story across is to use techniques statisticians use.
  • The guardian is the pioneer of data journalism and first data bloggers. Also have a strong history in data visualisation, making them a more reliable source
  • They try to provide people with a destination to try and find the truth behind the stories.

The video finalises with Simon Rogers advocating that “Data journalism, is just journalism.” (2013)

6_GUARDIAN

The guardian newspaper

Part 2: History of Data Journalism at The Guardian

The video is of Simon Rogers explaining the history of data visualisation of the guardian. He claims that data journalism is new as, as it relies on the technologies of the moment that didn’t exist before 2009.

The guardian was established in 1821. Workers of the guardian have been trying to bring data visualisation to life so that it is more engaging to the readers. He argues his viewpoint through a rhetorical question, that if “we don’t know the reality of facts and data and analyse them, how can we get any better?”

The video exhibits precedents to the viewer of early graphics, such as data visualisations of “The somme battle achievement” and how it shows the ground work of months of pain and losses experienced by the armies. Rogers then discusses lend lease exports of planes and tanks in relation to production in 1943. The article aimed to give people a sense of hope throughout the war and the chart was to illustrate ‘proof’ that everything would be okay.

Overtime, the guardian inculcated more photos and visual content in their articles. The digital age provides viewers with the opportunity to interactive with data like never before and variables such as speed has increased the quality of engagement.

Part 3: Data journalism in action: The London Olympics

Simon Rogers highlights the various ways that the guardian illustrates data from the Olympics. Rogers begins by comparing the value of what a medal is worth in each country, by arguing that “five medals from a third world country means more than a richer country, that has won the same amount.” The video also shows academic statistician, Professor Christoforus Anagnostopoulos and Interactive designer of the guardian, Gary Blight, advocating their viewpoints on how they will be providing creative solutions to display the rankings of each country.

The team accomplished this by linking an interactive site to the live alterations of the game via a google chart, allowing for the viewer to constantly observe a precise visualisation.

The video then shows comments of viewers questioning the explanation of the statistics and potential influencers, allowing for them to come to their own conclusions.

Anagnostopoulos states that their goal is to “tell a story, using numbers.”

6_guardian_3

Guardian Olympics visualisation 

Reflection

Simon Roger and the interviewees has allowed me to gain an insightful understanding of the importance of data visualisation. It also reveals how viewers have been able to interact with it over time and the beauty that the data is unbiased and thus, allows for the audience to interpret it individually. I realise now the significant difference between data visualisation and biased journalism and now have a stronger appreciation for it.

In part two, I realised that solid evidence is what provides people with a sense of relief and hope. Journalism without data and facts doesn’t provide viewers with confidence and there is a mistrust that the source is unreliable. The war was cruel and was responsible for an unfathomable amount of great loss, sadness and abuse. I now have an admiration for data visualisation, particularly when Rogers explained how the lend-lease exports of planes and tanks chart gave people a sense of hope, as it provided evidence that the direction America was headed in, was a positive one.

Part three provided me with an appreciation of how advanced technology has become and how it allows for us to explore data in ways we could not before. Coding is a complex language to me. I admire the way Gary Blight organises the data in a way that illuminates the value of medals in each country, whilst coincidentally organises choice of categories in a simple drop down format.

Overall, I have a greater appreciation of the use of data visualisation and the ways in which it can advance and assist humanity.

References in APA

The guardian newspaper [Image] (2015). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=THE+GUARDIAN&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU733AU733&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwik9N-Nu4nXAhUKH5QKHZZrBRUQ_AUIDSgE&biw=1396&bih=690#imgrc=VaS2E77XLNVwtM:

Guardian Olympics visualisation  [Image] (2012). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=the+guardian+olympics&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU733AU733&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiN147Ou4nXAhXKJ5QKHW3gBDgQ_AUICygC&biw=1396&bih=646#imgrc=uV55LX5VGCCnBM:

 

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