Data journalism— Why it become so popular


To put it very simply, data journalism is journalism done with data. This is the simplest definition of data journalism I could found. But the thing confused me is that it is really necessary to tell a story by using numbers? I think I may not the only one who hate mathematics, so it is interesting to find out how to tell a story with numbers? Is number the parts of the story, or number form the whole story.

To answer these questions, we should back to the rising of data journalism, why it emerging so rapidly?

I think the first reason is that in the online age, more and more data are easily accessed by everyone as never before. The Internet breaks the geographical limitation that allows journalist to look for data and create story anywhere they want. For example, digitising public database about government spending are access to everyone, besides, leaked documents published by WikiLeaks or “big data” generated by social networks such as Google or FB is also available, the only thing need to concern is to clarify the credibility of data.


Secondly, powerful data analysis tools are available to allow us to organise data in an efficient way. Some of the powerful tools are even free or open source. You can produce powerful graphics or visualisations without having technical experience or coding knowledge. That is an important reason for a journalist to put visible numbers in their report.

It sounds wonderful to telling a story through data, but data journalism can not replace the traditional journalism, it is an addition basic skill to the journalism. Data journalism is bridging the gap between stat and news report, it gives the news practitioners new challenge to identify the trend. Even though data journalism is the future of news report, but for those who hate numbers, it is hard to adapt to it.


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