Data journalism must fall


During my time at high school, I hated, more so despised maths. I eventually ended up passing it in my matric year and there was a sigh of relief that came with knowing that I will never have to see another maths paper or something similar to it again.

This was so until I came across data journalism. ‘Data journalism is an approach to writing for the public in which the journalist analyze large data sets to identify potential news stories.’

There are like with every type of journalism advantages and disadvantages to data journalism.  And though I may come across as being one sided about this I just think that it has more disadvantages. Many people can become journalists with the aid of data journalism, but unlike citizen journalists a level of expertise cannot be worked on.

‘Journalism has been thoroughly disrupted over the past decade.  News organizations, especially newspapers, have come under heavy financial pressure, news bureaus have been closed or consolidated and journalists have had to rethink their profession.’  Says Greg Satell in his article ‘The Problem With Data Journalism’

‘Data journalism is, in many ways, a disruptive innovation.’  Yes traditional journalism can be an expensive.  ‘You have to pay reporters to travel to where the story takes place, observe events in person, cultivate and interview countless sources.  In comparison, performing statistical analysis of data sets or poring over policy documents is a relatively cheap and labor-saving way to operate opportunities for new products that compete on the basis of a different value proposition.’ But there is just something about traditional reporting that data journalism does not have.  The expertise, the passion, the ability to observe,  the act of serving the people with truth and accuracy, engaging and many other abilities data journalism cannot compete with.

Ethics also come into play when it comes to journalism and Samantha Sunne in her article The challenges and possible pitfalls of data journalism, and how you can you avoid them described it best when she said: “Just like stealing mail from a mailbox isn’t ethically acceptable, stealing data from a website isn’t, either.”  Many may misinterpret data sited because they often use it out of context. Talking to human sources is a must and therefore data journalism, like maths is to me is of little use to people like.

Unlike the cyborgs it does not have the ability to emerge without the interference of traditional journalists. Data journalism therefore, though a great discovery for those who use it contextually #mustfall.






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