How does one build, and tell, a compelling story? In mass media, this was formerly the domain of marketers and advertisers, tasked with weaving brand messaging into a consumer-friendly narrative. The rise of the internet prompted a shift: first to content farms, and then brand journalists crafting “adver-torial”, mining news sources to build and bolster an argument.
But today, consumers demand more. The result is a new form of communication known as data journalism. How does one get this kind of “story by numbers” just right?
Clarity and Conscience
When Andrea Nelson Mauro decided to write a data-driven article highlighting buildings and properties seized from the Mafia by the Italian government, he had two goals in mind: make the project accessible and be entirely transparent about how data was collected and used. He succeeded on both counts; Viz World showcases the map created by Mauro detailing the seizures and also how Mauro obtained his data. In large part he relied on official documents and created his own data visualization tool to give his findings clarity.
The end result is equal parts story and systematic interpretation of data, all available for viewers to examine, discuss and respond. In effect, it’s journalism made better through factual integration, rather than relying on ambiguous “sources”. Explore a Spotfire analysis of the Ebola outbreak, a Data Journalism example originally shared by TIBCO Chief Data Scientist Michael O’Connell on Wired Insights.
Explore a Spotfire analysis of the Ebola outbreak, a Data Journalism example originally shared by TIBCO Chief Data Scientist Michael O’Connell on Wired Insights.
Telling the Tale
To develop in-house data journalism teams, two critical components are required. First, an analytics platform which allows for the consumption, exploration, and digestion of a variety of data types to discover potential patterns and relationships. Second, a mindset of letting the data tell the story. Develop compelling stories, but make analysis and sources transparent. Otherwise, data-driven articles are nothing more than fairy tales.