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First steps in data journalism in Spain

Data journalism goes hand in hand with the internet. Every data, every story that can be stored and digitised it’s subject for data journalism. However, this journalism practice has not gone at the same pace throughout the countries.

Democracy plays an important role when fetching data. Media, organisations or citizens that want to know more about how the system works can’t always have an answer. Moreover, some countries that define themselves as democratic systems don’t play the same cards.

In Europe, Spain, Luxembourg and Cyprus are the only countries without a Freedom of Information Law. If the government doesn’t provide data under their protection, journalists have to find another way to get it reliable.

The Spanish government raises its head

Spain tried an initial draft, but the first reaction wasn’t positive because it seemed to be

“a deliberate attempt by the government to further limit an already weak law and have called for it to be redrafted with urgency.”

Without a transparency law, data journalism has been timidly introduced to Spanish newsrooms and organisations. Therefore, journalists have to work together to release data and push the government to release files.

In addition, the Spanish media industry is also sticking to print edition and a single channel instead of running as a multi-platform. In other words, data journalism can’t be deeply spread out if the same journalists aren’t aware of its potential and don’t bet for it.

Some good examples of data journalism in Spain

However, not all the newspapers are getting away from it. El Confidencial has been a pioneer in Spain with a section on data journalism and encourages other newspapers to follow their path.

Some known journalists fighting for open data are Karma Peiró, Data Journalism coordinator at OKFN_Spain and Mar Cabra, member of Consorcio Internacional de Periodistas de Investigación (ICIJ):

Journalists working together outside the newsrooms

However, not only newspapers are working on data journalism in Spain. Civio is a non profit organisation fighting for a stronger democracy. A bunch of professionals fight for a change in political culture developing tools and releasing data to promote transparency.

CCCBLab is a project where the media offer data visualisation so that news can be understood in a clear and understandable way. The project is the result of collaboration between CCCB and the Spanish chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Workshops and studies

Several seminars and workshops have been running in Barcelona or Madrid during the last years. In June there are Data Journalism conferences running in Barcelona, Madrid, Pamplona and Almería and organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation.

There is also an agenda for all the professionals interested in data journalism, which the main events and awards in this area.

Regarding to studies, there is only one main master that covers data and investigative journalism in Madrid related to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. It’s called MA in Data Journalism and Visualisation with professors as Mar Cabra or Alberto Cairo.

Step by step data journalism is becoming a know word and practise in Spain. Journalists are studying abroad and they come back to encourage newspapers to follow the same path as the UK or the United States, pioneers in this field.

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2 thoughts on “First steps in data journalism in Spain

  1. Pingback: Data Newsroom, key for the Spanish media | dinfografia

  2. Pingback: Data Newsroom, Key for the Spanish Media | dinfografia

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