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.

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

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

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

Kevin D. Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

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

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

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

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

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

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

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Hearken   Pivot to people

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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