Session 3: Storytelling with Data

Cynthia O’Murchu (Investigative Reporter), The Financial Times  
 
The era of the innumerate journalist is over. Is the era of technology-averse journalist also heading to a close? WikiLeaks, Scraperwiki, Theyworkforyou.org and other organisations advocating transparancy. But (how) will journalists and media handle it?

Rhetoric versus reality: Open government … But data is not always prsented in a user-friendly way. Eg Register of Member’s financial interest: locked down (PDF). Nor do governments always really want to release it.

“CAR (computer assisted reporting) is the use of computers and social science methods to acquire and analyze information to do stories that otherwise would be difficult or impossible” – Steve Doig

Telling Stories With Data
Alan McLean (Designer and Interaction Developer), The New York Times

Interactive news technology. New relationship between developers and journalists. Use the web to tell a story, not just as a delivery medium. Syndication does not really honor the content really well.

Data dumps: Large collections of source material thatat aim to inform, but ultimately over-saturate.
– fail to inform clearly
– it’s very easy to get lost
– they take up preciosu time
– low impact
– pretty bland

It’s far too easy to distract or confuse an already compromised online attention span, editing is crucial online.

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