Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools

  • I don't think I ever really got started in data journalism one day,

  • but I guess I saw examples of data journalism

  • and wanted to work out how those techniques

  • could help me and other journalists save time or do deeper journalism

  • or cover stories and issues that weren't being covered.

  • And probably around 2005 when I saw Adrian Holovaty's work

  • on Chicago crime,

  • that was really when I particularly started getting interested

  • and looking at just automation,

  • not necessarily spreadsheets, but automating things.

  • So I didn't have to do them over and over again.

  • What is next for you in your work? What are you looking forward to?

  • The one area where I'm spending a lot of time at the moment is

  • web security, the ability for journalists to protect their sources,

  • to protect their information.

  • Now that might include data security.

  • But it's particularly if you're dealing with leaks from people.

  • It's becoming harder and harder to make sure that those people

  • aren't identified in some way.

  • So for example by publishing the data or through your communications.

  • And I think most journalists, the vast majority of journalists

  • are very, very careless and very ignorant

  • of just how public their communications are.

  • And obviously we know a lot now about surveillance

  • and the collection of information about journalists as well as everyone else.

  • So web security, I think, is the number one issue right now.

  • And that's something I'm very interested in.

  • The other area that I'm more excited about I guess, rather than pessimistic,

  • is the ability to tell stories effectively.

  • So it's one thing to have lots of numbers,

  • but the narrative, the telling of the story and doing that well,

  • I think is the next challenge once you've got the data.

  • How do you see the future of data journalism?

  • I have absolutely no idea what the future of data journalism holds.

  • Certainly we can expect more and more data

  • and as a result, I guess we can expect more and more data tools

  • and we can expect computers to get more powerful in doing things with that.

  • Beyond that, it's very difficult to tell what might happen

  • in terms of what those tools can do.

  • What commercial environment we're going to operate in as journalists.

  • I think there are trends in both directions.

  • Freedom of information laws are spreading to more and more countries.

  • But also there's a reaction against them politically.

  • So in some cases, there's an attempt to narrow the scope of those laws.

  • And there's also an attempt to broaden it in other areas.

  • Organizations and government are becoming better at dividing

  • being accountable under those acts.

  • There's more hiding, I think, of information.

  • So legally, I think the landscape is going to continue to change

  • both for good and for worse.

  • Scraping becomes easier, but again, I think organizations will get better

  • at making it harder for us to scrape that information.

  • And I think that the connection between data is particularly powerful.

  • I think the ability, you see it in a few examples,

  • like ProPublica's use of a Facebook login to tell you stories about

  • how your school performs on a particular story.

  • I think that ability to personalize data could be incredibly powerful in the next

  • 10 or 20 years where by logging in through an account that has information

  • about us we can find out more about how a story or an issue effects us.

  • That also brings up new challenges for making sure we are connected

  • with the wider social issues and not just people like me.

  • What is your advice for junior data journalists?

  • The first thing I would say to a junior journalist who is interested in

  • data journalism is don't focus on tools.

  • Don't look at whether you should learn Fusion tables or Excel.

  • Focus on stories.

  • What is the story you want to tell?

  • What is the issue you're interested in?

  • What data is available in that area?

  • And what challenges does that data present?

  • So is it a case that you do need to learn spreadsheets in order to

  • work out an average or compare figures,

  • subtract one figure from another?

  • Or is it because that the data actually is a little bit ugly

  • and is a little bit incomplete

  • and maybe you need to do some cleaning?

  • Or is it because that the data is very clear,

  • but you need to visualize it in some way to tell the story?

  • So different stories and different issues will present different problems.

  • The best way to learn data journalism is to be guided by each story.

  • Start with very simple stories that don't present a lot of problems.

  • And then get progressively more ambitious as you want to tell bigger

  • and harder stories.

  • Don't feel you have to tell a big story to begin with.

  • Tell a very small part of it first.

  • And then tell another small part.

  • And then bit by bit you can start to build up the jigsaw of the big picture.

  • Often that's how big stories evolve.

  • They don't come out all in one piece.

  • They come out bit by bit and then something happens.

  • A threshold has passed and we get the big story.

  • ♪ (music) ♪

Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools

Subtitles and keywords

A2 BEG UK data journalism story information harder ability

Paul Bradshaw (Birmingham City University) - interview, Data Journalism Course

  • 141 2
    Jerry Tseng   posted on 2016/12/20
Video vocabulary

Go back to previous version