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.

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

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

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

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

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

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

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

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

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

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

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

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Hearken   Pivot to people

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent