What is data journalism?
According to analytics for fun, data journalism is journalism done with data. Pretty simple right?
To help explain this more, Simon Rogers, the date editor at Twitter, broke dow the key aspects with data journalism. To define it, he suggests that data journalism is about three things: telling stories with numbers, finding the best way to tell the story, and the techniques with which you tell the story.
Examples are the best way to have data journalism explained, and one of the best examples out there is the full text visualization of the Iraq war logs.
AP, the media site that started the visual, said they wanted to go a step further, by designing a visualization based on the the richest part of each report: the free text summary. The problem was that AP then had to somehow visualize thousands of written documents of data points.
Above is a picture of the 11,616 SIGACT (“significant action”) reports from December 2006. Each dot is report is a dot.
AP quoted making putting the data together in order to help their audience understand the information better than if it was just numbers on a page.
“Visualization is metaphor. Certain details are thrown away, other are emphasized. The algorithms used to produce the visualization have their own sensitivities and blind spots. Without understanding these, a viewer will make false inferences.”
Because data journalism is so hard to define and so broad in the definition it already has, data journalism doesn’t have to stop at charts like these. Data journalism could be a moving charts, re-adjusting pictures, anything that helps get the point of numbers across in a way that isn’t just with numbers.