Unless you have a)been living under a particularly heavy rock, in the middle of nowhere, with no human contact or b)zero interest in journalism trends, the rise of ‘data journalism‘ will not be anything new to you.
However, the term can be a bit confusing and off-putting. Basically, it’s using ‘data’ (lots of information, in any form) to find your story. The MPs expenses scandal and Wikileaks war logs are famous examples. In both cases, journalists were given confidential documents and a limited amount of time to look at them and search for stories – which, of course, were found.
If numbers and words in such huge quantities are overwhelming, though, why not use an infographic?
The Guardian has a great section of its site devoted to this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog and uses ManyEyes to help visualize the information, which means the story becomes apparent. One great example of this concerning university cuts can be found here and the story they have gleaned from the data can be read here.
Data journalism is proving to be one of the most important journalism trends or techniques of the moment, so it is essential that the information it disseminates is accessible. Infographics do just that.
Update 22/3: We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed the excellent combination that is data journalism and infographics. Check out Dressing Up Data’s post on the subject. Great work girls!