Data journalism is a specific type of journalism that combines aspects of reporting, computer sciences and statistics in order to release data and numerical information that otherwise may be to confusing for people to read and understand.
Graphs, charts and other types of graphics are often used to depict numbers and other statistics to make them easier to decipher.
The New York Times recently published a piece entitled, ‘1.5 Million Missing Black Men,’ which reported on the number of “missing” African American men because they are either dead or behind bars. The article stated that 1.5 million African American men are missing in the United States, with nearly 120,000 men between the ages of 25 and 54 missing from everyday life in New York alone.
Numbers alone might not make an impact, but a graphic created by the New York Times shows the places across the United States where African American males are missing. This can make people see that there may be an astounding number people behind bars or even dead, in cities that readers call home.
Map of the United States showing where in the nation African American men are “missing.” (Graphic Courtesy of the NY Times)
Data journalism makes these large topics and brings them down to a level so they can be understood by the general population.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then data journalism must be worth 5,000. This type of journalism is vital and should be used much more to shed light on topics that might otherwise go unnoticed.