Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Chat app Telegram, not much loved by the Russian government, still attracts a loyal readership for news
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 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Chat app Telegram, not much loved by the Russian government, still attracts a loyal readership for news
Meduza, Snob, TV Rain, BBC Russian, and RT weigh in on their publishing and promotion strategies on the platform, which survived a recent tussle with the country’s communications regulator.
мессенджер, выйдя невредимым из столкновения с правительством, собирает благодарную аудиторию для СМИ
Медуза, Сноб, Дождь, Русская служба Бибиси и Russia Today рассуждают о том, как привлечь и удержать читателей в Телеграме.
What will misinformation look like in 2030 (and will we be better at spotting it by then)?
But also, what if the studies are kinda flawed in the first place?