I dropped Maths to be a Journalist.

After twelve years of studying in lower level education, I was pleased to have parted ways with my number one nemesis – mathematics. Until I discovered Data Driven Journalism.  I suppose living in a technologically ridden world, I should have seen this coming. Being the purist that I am, adapting to the amount of power machinery is gradually coming to possess is a great challenge. The fight is not so much to eradicate the forces of technology (maybe maths, but not technology, well for now that is) but to draw a line and have boundaries. What happens to the purpose of human beings when we have man made devices to do everything for us? My theory is that technology was invented to make life easier, not take over it.  However with this week’s topic of discussion I have had a slight shift in perspective.

This week we discuss ‘Data Driven Journalism’ otherwise known as DDJ. The concept made its debut in the year two thousand and six (2006) in an article titled “A fundamental way newspaper sites need to change” by Adrian Holovaty. In the article after briefly giving us a background of himself and his relation to the topic, he dives into the criticality of newspapers needing to restructure the manner in which they collect and store information and data. “But more fundamental shifts need to happen for newspaper companies to remain essential sources of information for their communities” says Holovaty.

So now one has a considerable understanding of the role Data Driven Journalism has in improving journalism but what is it? How does it work? According to Your Data Stories, it is ‘Journalistic work or news stories built upon sets of data’. In simpler terms it is sifting and filtering through information to find the most relevant facts and based on them create a story which makes the data easier to interpret. It is very important that one does not confuse data driven journalism with ‘data visualisation. Although very closely related they are vastly different. Data visualisation is purely just the interpretation and analysis of data, this is just one part of data journalism. Data journalism takes a further step in creating a story from the data that has been analysed. The below video gives an in depth explanation of the concept of DDJ.


With the field of Journalism being heavily infiltrated and making coalitions with technological forces, it is inevitable that much more will be expected from us. For those who are like me that assumed  they had parted ways with numbers, the bar has been raised. Though the basis of DDJ is not to make complex calculations, the ability to break down and interpret information is required. In the years to come the reality is that less journalists will be required in a news room and much more will be required of the existing journalists. In simple terms, job availability decreases and this is the fundamental problem I have with the impact of technological advancements.

We live in an ever changing world and to get ahead there are certain conformities that must way. That is just how cookies crumbles.







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