TEDx talk: How Data Journalism is changing the Newsroom

Bahareh Heravi
Dec 28, 2017 · 3 min read

I was invited to give a TEDx talk on data journalism and how it is changing the news industry at TEDxUCD on 5th December 2017. Here is the video of the talk.

In short:

Loads and loads and loads of data is now generated and accessible on a daily basis. To be specific in 2017 roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data was generated every day. This means 2.5 Million Terabyte of data. And the rate in which the new data is generated is faster than ever before. Around 90% of all data in existence today, was in fact created only in the last two years. So if in 2015 you thought there are so much data available in the world, that was only 10% of what exists today.

A good journalist has a list of sources that she can contact to ask questions about certain events, ask for figures, confirm figures or comment on them in an interview.

It is still the same. It is still about the source! And data is in the new source!

In this the loads of data generated and accessible on a daily basis, lies many many stories… and this is changing our news cycle.

Having said that, it is not the big data that will change the newsroom, the small data, at scale, will change the newsroom.

Data journalism will change the newsroom when every single journalist, from every single newsroom, is able to access and process process this data in their day to day work.

Just like any journalism graduate will have studied shorthand or interview skills, any future journalism graduate should learn how to work with data, how to tap into this new, unlimited pool of sources, how they can analyse and investigate these new sources, and how they can report based on them, and that’s not as difficult as many journalists would think. Really!

At the end of the day, data journalism not only allows us to cover much more of what happening around us and in the world, but also it allows us to move from the who said what journalism, to what is the fact journalism. It helps us to examine the fact, to report based on the fact, and to also make it possible for the reader to examine our version of the fact. Because our readers are now more than ever before accustomed to scrutinising the facts and figures.

Data journalism enables us to move from fake news, to verifiable, reliable news, rooted in facts. To move from opaque to transparent. It allows us to move towards a more democratic, accurate, verifiable, and informing news cycle.

Data Journalism helps keep us, the public, informed better than ever before, and keep our governments into account tighter than ever before.

And every single journalist, in every single newsroom around the world — large or small — should be able to do it, and that’s when data journalism will make its mark.

Bahareh Heravi

Written by

Assistant Professor in Information & Communication Studies @UCDdublin | Co-founder @IrishTimesData | Former Lead Data Scientist @IrishTimes | Founder #HHDub

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