Aside 8 Apr

The word of the week….Transversally!

In Simon Rogers’ ‘10 point Guide to Journalism and how it’s changing’ data blog, data journalism and its uses and repercussions are explained clearly and concisely. Rogers’ clearly deciphers data journalism and its use over the years, stating that it is not a new concept “Data was published in books, very expensive books where graphics are referred to as ‘figures’. Now we have spreadsheets and files formatted for computers. Which means we can make the computers ask the questions” (Rogers 2011)

The Telegraph’s ‘10 ways data is changing how we live’ online article, displays data journalism in its simplest form. The article itself is separated into easy to read categories, and the data is used to fuel the stories (or create the story), by speculating ‘what if’s’ as a result of this data “With more data becoming available about how our Government operates, it’ll inevitably be pressured to change” (Quilty-Harper 2010)

‘The Life Logging Project’ by Ben Lipkowitz is an interesting example of data extrapolation. Ben was first interested in logging a diary of past events (of the day) to initially see how much time he spent doing his housemates dishes. Eventually this notion extended and soon he was able to track how much money he spent, how much he ate, how sociable he was etc (Wolf 2010). Although the concept is very simple, most people would find this method as unusable and petty, however Lipkowitz here tapped into an important aspect of data journalism. The facts that result from everyday information can have considerable effect once given an opportunity to be entertained.

The idea links into the ‘Self tracking’ article by Jonah Lehrer which Lipkowitz countered with his experiment as he tracked his life looking into what has been done, whereas most of self tracking experimentations often involve relying on tasks with an intention to extrapolate facts or data (after a certain event) eg “The very act of speculating about a causal relationship – say, for instance, the link between a pill and the ability to concentrate – warps the data, biasing our mind in a million little ways” (Lehrer 2010)

Data journalism can be misused and interpreted, although the data itself is accurate. Documents such as Wiki Leaks have opened up avenues never before seen in journalism; it also has the potential of misuse in other environments. Data is in today’s media ever prominent as a source of news reporting, and when done the right way has the ability to expose, educate and entertain the newsreader.

References:

Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘Self-Tracking’, May 3, The Frontal Cortex, <http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/05/self-tracking.php>

Quilty-Harper, Conrad (2010) ’10 ways data is changing how we live’, The Telegraph, August 25, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7963311/10-ways-data-is-changing-how-we-live.html>

Rogers, Simon (2011) ‘Data journalism at the Guardian: what is it and how do we do it?’, The Guardian, Datablog, July 28, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jul/28/data-journalism>

Wolf, Gary (February 27th, 2010) ‘A Remarkable Life Logging Project by Ben Lipkowitz, Quantified Self, <http://quantifiedself.com/2010/02/a-remarkable-life-logging-proj/>

Vimeo uploaded by Kevin Kelly <http://vimeo.com/9209182>

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