The Edit: Making Sense of Data

More and more we are depending on big data to make sense of our environment, our social and political institutions. Journalists need to find new ways of relating complex data to audiences, without obscuring the import or emotional power of a story.

At an Edit forum in April 2019 we spoke to two data journalism practitioners, working in very different contexts:

Craig Butt, an award-winning data journalist and educator, has worked for The Age since 2011. He has carved out a niche for himself as the paper's resident data whiz. His projects span all topics including transport, electoral voting and census data.

Twitter: @CraigDButt

'What is data journalism?' The Age, 27 March 2019

How to beat Melbourne’s worsening peak hour traffic’, The Age, 2018
(read the notes ‘about the data’)

2017 was Melbourne’s year of the skyscraper’, The Age, 24 January 2018
(Based on data from City of Melbourne’s Open Data Platform)

Lisa Cornish is a data journalist and data visualisation specialist based in Canberra, currently working for the international aid & development platform Devex. She started her career with major metro and regional papers, and is also a consultant providing data analytics, reporting & visualisation for the Australian government.

Twitter: @lisa_cornish

Practical ways to build agency-wide data capability’, The Mandarin, 29 August 2018

Five steps to creating compelling stories with data’, The Mandarin, 17 September 2018

'The Rise of DFI's' series, Devex, March 2019 (paywall)

Other links/resources:

The Guardian has a long history of doing interesting data work. Mona Chalabi is the US data editor, and has a unique style. Lecture by Chalabi here

In this article, data journalist at the Economist Sarah Leo runs through some mistakes made by the magazine over the years. Very useful.

The folks at the Investigative Reporters & Editors Conference in the US also run an institute for computer assisted reporting. Some resources, including videos about tools, here.

Again, check out the articles about running the Panama Papers investigation (here, here and here).

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