November 10th Class Notes

Data-Driven Journalism


  • Graphics that use visual representation of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clear, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing and education
  • Refer to
  • Infographics can make information …
    • more accesible
    • more enjoyable
    • easier to understand
    • can be incredibly viral, with potential to drive traffic & generate interest
    • adds a relatively unused multimedia effect that has only reachd the cusp of digital journalism

Inverted Pyramid of Data

  • Find: Searching for data on the web
  • Clean: Process to filter and transform data, preparation for visualization
  • Visualize: Displaying the pattern, wither as a static or animated visual
  • Publish: Integrating the visuals, attaching data to stories
  • Distribute: Enabling access on a variety of devices, such as the web, tablets and mobile
  • Measure: Tracking usage of data stories over time and across the spectrum of uses

Tips for Creating an Infographic

  1. Be Concise: Design your infographic to make one main point
  2. Be visual & creative: Although infographics do combine text and images, the emphasis should be on making a visually appealing graphic
  3. Be self-explanatory: The visualization should opaline the data with minimal exposition
  4. Be relevant
  5. Be transparent: Cite your citations
  6. Be different: Pie charts and bar graphs are readily understandable, but they can be pretty basic
  7. Be accurate: Should not misrepresent your data
  8. Say something: Your infographic should convey a message and not be an infographic for sake of itself
  9. Be judicious: Not every story warrants an infographic
  10. Copy Edit: As with any copy you plan to post online, it’s good to run your infographic by another set of eyes – to assess and edit both content and format

Strong Examples of stories with data

  • Employee salaries
  • Test scores
  • Government issues
  • Polls
  • Sports stats
  • Crime stats
  • Stats, stats, stats

More Tips with Working with Data

  • Make it manageable. Break the data down into chunks you can use
  • Keep it simple. Ask simple questions of the data and try not to get too complicated
  • Mash it up. Some of the best data journalism is about joining datasets together you wouldn’t have thought of
  • Don’t be scared of the numbers or trust it too willingly. Journalists are often terrified of numbers to the extent that they don’t question them properly
  • Try not to go native. Remember you’re a journalist and your mission is to explain the data and interrogate it properly

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