The intriguing yet intricate field that journalism is, is unbelievably broad and should be practiced with an open mind. Broad in the sense that it incorporates different passions. Whatever’s your forte, journalism can cover it. One should develop an open mind because we live in an ever evolving world where the rules simply state that we should adapt or perish. So one need not change what they believe is a way of doing things, but should also absorb the changes of their surroundings. Like Data Journalism for instance; it need not take over, but we should make full use of and derive benefit from it as a resource.
Uhm… Let’s talk about Data Journalism for a sec. As we now find ourselves living in the digital age, journalists should be building a relationship and interaction between journalism, statistics and computer science, so as to produce competent stories by making use of large databases. South African journalists would benefit greatly if they would embrace this concept.
The use of computers should be mandatory and equally common part of news gathering, as it is important to use computing power to gather, analyze and present stories. Computer Assisted Reporting gives journalists the opportunity to dig for truth in data, and the comparative analysis that a computer can do often reveals pertinent questions. What reporters are able to learn from using Computer Assisted Reporting provides readers with knowledge and insights that can cut through the collection of opinionated noise and celebrity obsession. It also can allow even relatively small news operations to delve into problems affecting the global community, yet speak to readers and viewers. As the number of documents that we have grows, it becomes impossible to read each one individually. Computers are vastly superior to humans when it comes to doing things quickly. This becomes even more apparent when you look at thousands of numbers.
A lot of work has gone into creating tools that make working with data much more accessible. But there still is that question that lingers: seeing as blogging and Social Media is taking over the role of journalism, has the quality reporting and professional journalism been put at jeopardy? Because the people demand quality reporting, background, news analysis and investigations, and this demand is very much rising. One of the possible ways we can bring some life or soul back into the field of journalism, is Data Journalism. Data journalism works best when there is cooperation between print and online media, and demands some convergence between hard copy and online platforms.
The reporting of news in South Africa would be greatly improved should data journalism be used on a regular basis. People who should account will be held accountable as data and statistics will be doing all the talking. Now what generation of journalists would not want that? And as they say, numbers do not lie…
‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!