From Poynter | Study shows data reporting gaining hold in newsrooms


The following was originally published on Poynter's website.


A just-released study offers striking confirmation that for many journalists, data-based reporting has become more ingrained in the newsroom.

The study, one of the first comprehensive studies of the field undertaken by Google News Lab and PolicyViz, showed that 42 percent of respondents said they use data regularly to tell stories, and 51 percent of news organizations have a dedicated data journalist on staff. The study was released Monday.

The research delved into questions such as how big is the field, what challenges do data journalists face and how is it going to change. The researchers used a series of in-depth qualitative interviews and a wide-reaching online survey to better understand how journalists use data in the newsroom to tell stories. The analysis offers a sort of “state of the union of data journalism in 2017,” according to a news release, and highlights key challenges going forward.

The study found that many respondents — editors, journalists, video journalists and designers — are motivated to use data for reporting due to evolving norms around news consumption, changes in levels of trust in media and the rise of misinformation online. As one respondent put it, “Data is a good way of getting to the truth of things ... in this post-truth era, this work is increasingly important. We are all desperately searching for facts.” Many journalists mentioned they have a role and responsibility to keep debate rooted in facts.

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