Skills Of Data Journalism

Data Journalism Job Description

Working with raw data is a challenging task. It requires journalists to be able to take a look at this often boring or confusing information and “see” the hidden stories behind it.

This career path is a good fit for those who are naturally curious about data and charts, but also bring journalistic skills to the table. Journalists can train for this role by enrolling at a journalism school or a bootcamp.

Identifying a Story

The most critical step in data journalism is identifying the story to tell. A journalist can use a number of means, including infographics, charts and tables, to communicate the story. The tool chosen may vary depending on the data, but each should be able to convey key messages to readers.

Data journalists also analyze data and identify trends. They can then provide a more unique perspective on an issue or topic and create visualizations that are easy to understand for all readers. For example, a journalist might create a personalized calculator that shows how different types of debt affect a person’s financial situation.

In addition to identifying and communicating the story, data journalists must ensure that their work is sourced correctly. This is important because unattributed assertions can erode reader trust in the media. This is particularly true when the source is a government agency or organization that does not have a track record of transparency.

Finding a Dataset to Examine

Data journalism brings scientific discoveries into the spotlight and makes them relatable to everyone. It can also highlight hidden biases or fallacies that are otherwise obscured when looking at data with only a human eye.

Journalists can also use data to provide tools and calculators that help people make better decisions, whether it’s comparing mortgage or credit card rates, finding the best savings account for an individual’s needs, or checking state-level gun purchase statistics. They can show how an abstract threat, like unemployment, affects everyone differently based on their age or education level, for example.

A career as a data journalist can start with communications studies or with an internship in a newsroom. However, many journalists take the self-taught route, using free YouTube tutorials and intense data bootcamps to learn the skills they need. This includes coding, working with APIs, and scraping. It’s important that new data journalists find ways to gain experience as quickly as possible.

Working with Raw Data

At its core, data journalism is a process of collecting, cleaning and structuring information before visualizing it. In addition to writing skills, data journalists need a working knowledge of programming languages like Python and R as well as graphic design software.

Raw data is perplexing to the eyes and intellect at first glance, and it can be difficult to shape correctly for visualization. That’s why seasoned journalists with the stamina to look at frequently complicated or uninteresting raw data are key players in this field.

It used to be that journalist got tales by talking to strangers in bars, and it might still be that way sometimes, but data-driven journalism will also be about combing through the data, arming yourself with the tools to analyze it and find intriguing bits of information and keeping the whole picture in mind and assisting people by showing them how the budget impacts their lives, as the Guardian does so effectively with their budget interactives.

Visualizing Data

When creating a visualization, the journalist must choose which data to include. It is important to not hide unfortunate or negative data, which could mislead the audience. Instead, the data should be presented honestly and clearly.

It is also important to choose an effective visual. For example, scatter plots are useful for showing relationships between variables while line graphs are effective at displaying time series data. It is important to avoid using overly complex area charts, as they may confuse the reader rather than clarifying the story.

Data journalism is a new form of reporting that is quickly becoming more popular. It can be found in a variety of media outlets, including blogs and online news sites. By combining the skills of a journalist with those of a data scientist, data journalists can better inform readers and tell an engaging story. The era of printing presses and news agencies is slowly coming to an end, and data journalism is one of the best ways to keep up with current events.

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