Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
From the unbanked to the unnewsed: Just doing good journalism won’t be enough to bring back reader trust
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 19, 2014, 12:40 p.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.thefunctionalart.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   May 19, 2014

Dataviz whiz Alberto Cairo had an interesting blog post over the weekend critiquing the new wave of data journalism sites as insufficiently rigorous:

Perhaps I was exaggerating, but I’m seeing too much shoddy stuff in websites like Vox.com and FiveThirtyEight. They do publish interesting stories, but a very visible portion of their output is dubious.

I’m not just talking about the foolish comparisons of health care prices. That’s old news. It’s also the speculations about kidnappings in Nigeria (at least they corrected this one properly; good for them.) Or making long-term linear predictions while forgetting about xkcd (see the cartoon below) and black swans.

I should also mention this piece on helmets and bikes, an example of Gladwellism gone crazy: “Hey, here’s a counterintuitive idea, and here you have a handful of papers and small datasets — you don’t mind if they aren’t that significant, if they say the opposite to what I claim, if I jump to conclusions, or if one of the studies has a sample size of one, do you?”. See more (and more) details about this case, which is an absolute shame.

Data journalism, at least in some of the stories and blog posts that these organizations are publishing, has become “datum journalism,” a term that I’ve stolen from Census Reporter’s Ryan Pitts. It’s a pity.

[…]

Alberto also links to this related Storify, featuring C.W. Anderson, Greg Linch, Scott Klein, Emily Bell, Tim Carmody, Alex Howard, Jacob Harris, and a bunch of other smart people you might want to follow on Twitter.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 35,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
From the unbanked to the unnewsed: Just doing good journalism won’t be enough to bring back reader trust
Journalists see readers’ consumption decisions through the lens of quality. But that’s only a small part of what builds a connection between a news organization and an audience.
In West Virginia, a new project is going beyond the coal miner to tell a broader story of Appalachia
“Everyone’s talking to coal miners; we want to introduce you to somebody else that you’re not expecting to see.”
Newsonomics: Can Dutch import De Correspondent conquer the U.S.?
It’s built a membership-driven model that produces trust, connection, and good journalism. But can it extend that approach to the hurly-burly of the American media market?