Data Journalism: Leading Direction of 21st Century Journalism
Data- reading this word makes you think of figures, percents, formulas, mathematics and statistics. If you’re not representative of a technical or natural profession, working with data may seem to you difficult or tedious affair, but the data journalism and the results of its activity may change your opinion. 21st Century is the era of data; it’s found everywhere, whether in business or economy, politics, healthcare, science, education, environment protection, or social sphere. Journalism, of course, encompasses everything, in the literal meaning of the word. One of the fundamental functions of a journalist is to convey information in an impartial, objective, undistorted way, and in a language comprehensible to everyone.
Data journalism uses data through statistics and computer programs as a source for telling a story, and transforms it into a visually ease-to-grasp, nice-looking and amusing image, which is easily read by everyone. The way the New York Times and the Guardian have handled the huge amount of data published by Wikileaks, has advanced that sphere of journalism even further and demonstrated its importance to others.
It was 1952 when journalists had started processing data through computer programs in order to comprehensively convey a story. The Computer Assisted Reporting(CAR) has completely changed reporters’ working style. They started creating databases, placement of public information in electronic diagrams, using of statistics, conducting interviews through email, studying of political and demographic changes and placing them on a map using Geographic Information Systems(GIS)… American company CBS was the first to use CAR, and employed it in the coverage of presidential election. Many believe that CAR made the basis of today’s data journalism.
Unfortunately, this sphere isn’t developed in Georgia. There only a handful of organizations working on the data visualization. However, those journalists willing to learn, can obtain that knowledge for free via the Internet. Media.Ge has recently published an announcement of free-of-charge online course delivered by leading professional in the field of data processing, which will be conducted in the beginning of 2014. You can visit the following link for registration: http://datadrivenjournalism.net/course/.
International journalistic organizations that understand the importance and potential of the given sphere, try to popularize it worldwide through various activities . A textbook on data journalism has been issued (the data journalism handbook), available for download in English, Russian, French, or Spain language from this webpage: http://datajournalismhandbook.org/
Before we have fully learned data analysis and its visual portrayal, you can use various free-of-charge webpages to create your own info-graphic.
https://infogr.am/ is a webpage where you can register for free and an interactive info-graphic of your own design, and share it your social network or website.
http://www.wordle.net/ will help you create a cloud of words, and you just have to write the text and choose the design. Then you can print the ready material and share it or use it at your own discretion. The picture presented shows the main sources of air pollution in Georgia. As you can see, it’s easier to comprehend than just a raw text with figures, percents, etc.
http://feradi.info/ka is a Georgian-language webpage, which after the registration provides you the opportunity to visually present your ideas. The picture on the left is from the given website.
People usually memorize 10 percent of what read, 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they hear and see simultaneously, 70 percent of what they write and say, and 90 percent of what themselves experience and do(Dale’s Cone of Experience).
In our case, the important part of the aforementioned information is the one asserting that people tend to memorize a visual better than what they read or hear, and that’s the reason why a journalist should strive to provide visual depiction of data.