Data is the future of journalism

As someone who wants to go into sports reporting when I graduate, I’ve always loved statistics. I remember sitting at my kitchen table as a kid, pouring over the baseball box scores over breakfast, trying to soak in all the numbers I could. Outside of that, I never really thought about the data in terms of journalism.

Boy, was I wrong.

Data is the future of journalism. I realize I might be a little biased in that a majority of the homework I have done over the past three weeks has dealt with data in some way with data.

Journalism is a changing industry. That in itself isn’t a ground-breaking statement. The news cycle today looks exponentially different then it did ten (or even 5) years ago. As the journalism industry moves closer towards having the norm be digital and alternative story forms, we have multiple opportunities that are ripe for the inclusion of data.

As the Data Journalism Handbook says, “journalists should see data as an opportunity.” One of the things that i’ve realized recently is how much transparency in reporting is important. Twice this semester we as a news organization (The Kent Stater) put out pieces describing the reporting process we did for bigger stories, and the feedback we received for those pieces was mostly positive. I think that data fits into this category.

Through this class, i’ve become even more proficient in Excel and have started to learn more about Tableau, which has been extremely helpful. One of the things that I was hesitant about in data is that all of the programs can be very overwhelming at first, but they’re incredibly easy to use once you get a hold of it.

And as this Medium post says, “you don’t need to be a coder to use data.”  Putting a excel spreadsheet or graph showing data in a big or complicated story not only helps you as a reporter organize the information you need, but also helps your reader not only understand your reporting process, but also understand the information as well. At the end of the day, that’s what journalism is all about, right?

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