2
0
1
9

Data journalism goes undercover

“Having basic data skills should be exactly as exciting as being able to send an email or make a phone call. Only then will data journalists lose their unicorn status, allowing the field of data journalism to simply disappear in the field of journalism.”

It’s my hope, more than my prediction, that 2019 will be the year in which data journalism goes undercover. All journalists should become data literate, and more journalists should learn basic data skills. And having basic data skills should be exactly as exciting as being able to send an email or make a phone call. Only then will data journalists lose their unicorn status, allowing the field of data journalism to simply disappear in the field of journalism.

Despite all the beautiful data productions I’ve seen throughout the year, it’s my hope that data productions will eventually go undercover too.

As Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel described in The Elements of Journalism, the first task of the news journalist is “to verify what information is reliable and then order it so people can grasp it efficiently.” Thinking of all the beautiful but sometimes complex visual data journalism production I’ve seen, I dare to ask if all these forms of storytelling are “efficiently to grasp.” I’m a fan of high-end visuals, technological innovation, and new forms of storytelling — but I feel that visually modest journalism can be just as efficient, if not more.

Besides, isn’t the best data journalism invisible? Data-driven stories should center around the story, not around the data, analysis, or technology that keeps the story afloat. When reading, listening, or watching such productions, besides a possible data visualization, the public should not be actively thinking about data. If they do, they’re not thinking about the story. Why not? Isn’t the story efficient to grasp? Since journalism creates the map for citizens to navigate society with, we should make sure our maps are readable for all and read by many.

Of course this might be a lot to ask for. But in a world filled with fake news and alternative facts, we can only welcome more fact-based, data-driven journalism. And I think common knowledge of data, within and outside of journalism, would be a good start.

Winny de Jong is a data journalist at the Dutch national broadcast NOS.

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Hearken   Pivot to people

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up