This week we delve into data. You’re surrounded by it, but do you know how to use it as a blogger? As a journalist? As we discussed in our Mobility week, we’re increasingly devoted to technologies that track our movements, habits, and preferences, and these trackers produce a wealth of data.
Consider Wikileaks, arguably the game-changer in data journalism. Approached with a massive wealth of data, The Guardian compiled phenomenally complex accounts of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a collection of cables (communication dispatches) from the U.S. Embassy. Not only this, they made the data itself available to readers to make their own stories out of it. Most recently, they’ve leaked data about the Democratic National Committee and its candidate, Hillary Clinton. Some have described this as a test of transparency; others have accused them of pursuing vendettas. Outside the realm of partisan politics, they’ve been criticized for their unwillingness to obscure private information such as email addresses and credit card numbers. Even fellow leaker Edward Snowden took some issue with this:
What can you do with data in your own writing? What, if anything, have you done already? Here are a few more supplements to give you some ideas:
- SKIM the Data Journalism Handbook, paying particular attention to the Introduction and Case Studies (I use this in my data visualization class – offered this fall!).
- Poynter offers a “getting started in data journalism” guide with some good links and examples.
- Have a look at the sample version of Paul Bradshaw’s Scraping for Journalists (free PDF) for some ideas on gathering data (Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog is a good resource too!)
Be sure to post your response to Briggs and the readings as a comment to this post by 1159p Sunday, February 19.