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?





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