My first byline for the Guardian’s data blog. The Tableau visualisation was created by John Burn-Murdoch, but the data available to download at the bottom of the article (here) was compiled by me after trawling through NASA’s Exoplanet Archive. Being able to visualise and analyse data is important, but mustn’t come at the expense of the story. The key journalistic skills of accurate reporting are still key.
“What exactly is data journalism?” my flatmate asked earlier this evening.
“Ermmm…it’s sort of like normal journalism, only with lots of Excel spreadsheets,” I reply.
“No. Wait. That’s a shit way of describing it. There may not actually be many spreadsheets at all. Although there probably will be. I think. It’s sort of…you know…Google Fusion tables and Python and Ruby and scraping and APIs and…you know…all that stuff? But Excel is definitely involved. I think.”
And therein lies the problem: most aspects of data journalism are new to me. And when I say ‘most’ I mean ‘nearly all’.
This blog documents my changing ability to define data journalism, from a series of ‘ums and ahs’ to something that will fit into 140 characters.