audience, data, data journalism, journalism, media

AUDIO: “The best data journalism combines traditional reporting with data work” says Simon Rogers

Last month I had the opportunity to hear professionals around the world talking about data and investigative journalism at the NODA and Tutki!2016 conference in Helsinki.

Following some workshops, I found out how to put data in context to design visualisations with Jan Willem Tulp, find data on the internet -for instance through Facebook- with Henk van Ess, or to make the most of Fusion Tables with Peter Sjoholm

After some lectures, I learned that we need data free from local authorities with Nicolas Kayser-Bril, how automation can help hyperlocal newspapers with Jens Finnäs, or to seek information outside traditional sources with Simon Rogers.

I interviewed Simon Rogers after his lecture to know more about his journey from The Guardian to Google, and how data journalism has changed throughout these years. He says that this profession is not about cold numbers but about stories, and being able to explain them to audiences.

The following podcast (my first one!) gathers some context of the conference and Rogers’ answers in less than five minutes:

Finding out what audiences want to know

Simon said that we are never as honest as with our search engines. Below are some tools that you can use to find stories:

1. Google Trends

Useful to find the most-searched questions (filtered by country and a period of time) and comparing it to other topics:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 22.52.08

Google creates some visualisations from this data, such as the following one after the Paris attacks. More example on their Github account.


2. Google advanced search

Useful source to indicate the format of the information that we need (excluding the content that we don’t want to pay attention or using quotes if we are looking for a statement) or to verify images:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 23.05.39

3. A year in search

This tool reveals can give journalists the opportunity to find stories and unexpected searches that they didn’t pay attention:


These and more tools for reporting and storytelling are available at the Google News Lab website.

Simon Rogers says that data is everywhere, and journalism is always in a hurry:

“In the middle of this immediacy, the most important skill is to tell stories and explain the data simply.” Tweet this

Let me know what you think on the comments or on Twitter at @mcrosasb


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