Friday, August 23, 2013

A few casual thoughts about data journalism, visualization, and infographics



From time to time, a college student sends me questions for a thesis project or research paper. Answering those e-mails eventually became so time-consuming that I decided that, instead of writing everything down, I should start recording my answers. It works beautifully.

The latest short audio clip I've recorded (direct link) deals with data journalism, visualization, and infographics. I answered questions from Grushenka Arnold, a journalism MA student at Cork Institute of Technology, in Ireland (she's also a songwriter and singer.) I thought about making this audio publicly available —just in case any of you were thinking about sending me a similar questionnaire, perhaps!

These are Grushenka's questions:
1. Have you found that there is a paucity of data visualisation experts or graphic designers that can interpret information and present it in a comprehensive form?
2. Could you speculate as to why many Irish news sites have not yet adopted this new trend in journalism?
3. Have you found that data journalism has had a significant impact on new media/traditional online journalism?
4. What do you believe are the challenges facing data journalism in the future?
5. Should all media courses include training in data journalism?
By the way, part of my answer to question 3 isn't accurate. I said that Nate Silver's blog represented 25-30% of the traffic of the NYT website during the elections. It seems that the right figure is smaller, but still impressive.

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