“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.