Journalism Equals Math?


Data Journalism – A new approach of storytelling and another look at the future.

The words “Data Journalism” may sound like it is something new and different, but it is actually a way of describing journalism, a shift that is becoming stronger and making ready for what the future holds.

This is not only predictions, but looking at the history and current state of the media industry, news organizations and companies, like The Guardian are doing good in this specialty called data journalism, they have adapt to these new approaches; seeing it as new ways of gathering information and delivering news.

With automated journalism and data journalism on the horizon, it makes things even more interesting for a journalist in training, seeing what the digital future has in store for them. Organizations like Panama Papers, one of The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) projects, are proof of how powerful data journalism is and will become.


Data Journalism makes reporting easier, in a way where the only thing a journalist needs to do, is to take what the data has collected, analyse it and tell the story in a captivating manner, for the reader to understand what the development means.

The fact that numbers are being added in journalism, it keeps journalists on their toes and actually makes them more eager to keep on building and improving their journalistic skills. Becoming more knowledgeable in the profession of information gathering, and hitting that transformation mark in the media industry. Data journalism has a great effect on journalism as a whole, Mirko Lorenz, a contributor to the data journalism handbook, describes the process as “Less looking for quotes and less guessing”.


Data journalism helps getting the finer detail of a story, without getting the facts wrong or taking a long time to get the full story. “This is why data journalism is so important. Gathering, filtering and visualizing what is happening beyond what the eye can see has a growing value. The language of this network is data: little points of information that are often not relevant in a single instance, but massively important when viewed from the right angle.” [Lorenz, M; Deutsche Welle]

Personally, I think this is an excellent way of transformation, and I am a big fan of transformation, in all aspects, but this actually makes me less interested in being a journalist in a digital future. The whole point of seeing myself as an investigative journalist, is being free and in the field with a note pad and camera, collecting powerful stories to share with others. Looking at the process of the FeesMustFall campaign protests, where the journalists’ risk getting hurt to get the story, the adrenaline and the action in front of the camera, that excites me the most, but does it seem that it will all be over soon? While machines are taking over the media industry and organizations end up with, only needing a handful of people working for them.

Today news stories are coming in from multiple sources, such as blogs, ordinary citizens and social connections being used for sharing and delivering information faster and as it happens. This shows that society has already experienced and accepted the big transformation in the media landscape. Transformation is key, and if adding numbers to where numbers are not used to be, then I am all in, it makes the ordinary journalism, extraordinary.

Although this field is still a work in progress, but journalists should see this evolving field as an opportunity to become multi-talented journalists and the advantage of getting a big pay check behind this transformation, but not forgetting the roots of journalism; where it all started, how it is evolving each day, and making ourselves ready for what’s ahead.

The questions still remain, am I really studying journalism to do maths, or is it a question to consider; when the future of journalism looks a lot more digital?





Is automated journalism taking away the art of writing?

Automation is what we looking at for the future of journalism. This could only mean good things for the industry of journalism, but what does it mean for future journalists?


Automated journalism is defined as algorithmic processes that converts data into a story news, where there is no human intervention outside the original programming
Automated journalism has been there for a long time, and has recently made its way into newsrooms. The implementation of this type of journalism was mostly because solutions for in-house problems, like help to increase both the speed and exposure of news coverage.

Automated journalism gives basic facts and necessary details people are looking for, where journalists just add more additional info into the story. Even though this could mean that less work for journalists, but many journalists were actually open minded towards the automation process; accepting that this process is not necessarily replacing reporters, but actually enhancing the role of reporters, meaning that crime reporters uses the automatically generated stories, that is “written” by the automated journalist, as opening leads for exploring a particular case in more detail, for example by adding information about the victim’s life and family.

Andreas Graefe says that automated news already developed almost half a century ago, in terms of weather forecasting, where the outputs of weather forecasting models the different elements, like the wind, speed and temperature, and organizes them by importance. She also said that the software is freeing meteorologist for the more challenging roles of meteorological consultants and specialists on high-impact weather situation. What I see is that this software is actually creating an interpersonal relationship between the meteorologist and his job; taking away a part of a meteorologist’s work, the passion and the role behind their jobs.




“You can’t compete, if you don’t automate”

I would understand that this software will work perfectly, and where this software is a necessity is where people seek financial news, but want the details quick and short as possible; the software will make it easier to understand. Economic benefits include the increases the quality of news coverage, as well as how quick the readers get their news.

The future of journalism would also mean that the readers get exactly what they want; which is quick news, in an accurate and most importantly in an objective way and in the language the reader prefers. This will lead to people having their own views and opinions on a story, without someone else giving them a direct idea of what to make of it.

For journalists, this will mean that they would understand big amounts of data, and would know how to make it more detailed and interesting for their audiences, also getting the chance to tell their story in an improved way.


Even though automation has its perks, it also has its disadvantages, like for instance algorithms follows a set of rules for generating news, and that means the software cannot originate or transform. Because of the challenge to implement this program many newsrooms have, like the necessary resources and skills to develop automated journalism, media organizations have started to come up with ways to develop a technology that will help with the natural language, like automatically adding human language (Humour, sarcasm and metaphors) in.

The number of media organizations that automated journalism providers currently report as customers are small, it still stays an open question. This is the best time to experiment or to be an early-market phase. While it is, it can also find ways for journalists to accept and find creativity within the program.