Stop thinking of cool graphs when somebody mentions #datajournalism: European newsrooms and international organizations are increasingly using data as a core part of their investigative reporting.
Reporters Caelainn Barr (The Guardian), Mar Cabra (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists), Daniele Grasso (El Confidencial) and Paula Guisado (El Mundo) explained what is it that they do at the newsroom and how data units are essential for newsmedia today.
This are our highlights from the conference:
-Our lives are catalogued in data. That’s why we need to investigate and do analysis with data. -Caelainn Barr
-Visual graphics are important for stories, but data journalism isn’t all about that. -Mar Cabra
-The best element data journalist give to the investigating process is the structural approach. When you think about a story, you think about the information behind it and how you can structure it to make it work. -Caelainn Barr
-Our ‘superpower’ as data journalists is to be able to sort rows and columns to find stories. Basically, to use Excel. -Paula Guisado
-We are essential for the newspaper because we help develop different narratives and help gain stories you couldn’t tell in the midst of the journalistic rush. -Daniele Grasso
-We have shown other reporters and newsmedia the power of a FOI and how we can get great stories by requesting information to public authorities. -Daniele Grasso
-When it comes to sharing data, the reporters had different approaches. El Mundo doesn’t share but allows users to use apps to get to know the data. At The Guardian, some data is shared if it’s meaningful, but is something they want to improve. El Confidencial has a more “open-data” policy. Because of this, they share interesting datasets through a repository in Github. Nevertheless, all of them agreed that if they don’t publish the data, they’re extremely clear on how they got the information and their methodology.
-You don’t need leaks to investigate with data. There’s lots of public documents and datasets that are useful to investigate. Most of the time, you use them and create your own database to investigate. -Mar Cabra
-On security and data: it’s more about how and where we put our data in order to do collaborative investigations so that we can protect the information. We have improved the knowledge on security, for instance using Security in a Box, so that journalists learn. -Mar Cabra
-You have to keep yourself educated and help educate those around you in data, security and technology in general. -Caelainn Barr